Can GidiCab Revolutionise Cab Hailing Services in Nigeria?

GidiTraffic started in 2011 as a traffic observer in Lagos which, till date, continues to experience some of the worst gridlocks in the world. It gets its traffic update from different Twitter users reporting on the traffic in their location.

But today, GidiTraffic has evolved to become so much more. It monitors the traffic situation in other parts of the country.

It shares interesting stories, videos, and pictures to possibly keep its 1.63 million followers entertained in whatever situation they may be at the moment, including traffic situations; users can come to the platform to ask whatever question they need answers to and get responses from other followers, and just yesterday, it launched its own cab-hailing app, GidiCab.

Launched on the 28th of March 2019, Nigeria’s newest cab-hailing service, GidiCab promises to be everything Nigerians have always wanted and more.

Perhaps, its most appealing feature is ‘Borrow a ride’ which allows users who cannot afford to pay for their trip at the moment take a free ride and pay later. But there are other interesting features.

Users do not have to carry physical cash or their debit cards around just because they want to move from one point to another. By funding the wallet on their app, riders can pay for their trip conveniently.

They also have the opportunity to earn tokens for each trip taken on GidiCab which is then converted to credit on their app and which they can use to pay for a future trip.

But that is not all.

Nigerians who are regular users of either Taxify or Uber, the two most popular cab hailing services in the country may have at one point or another been overcharged for trips mostly because some of the drivers have found a way to make extra cash by installing a third party GPS which doubles the distance of the route.

GidiCab, however, gives users the opportunity to see just how much they are getting charged for their trip with the live billing features. Riders can detect if something is amiss and request for the trip to come to an end if they are not comfortable with the amount they can see.

Touting itself as the “most affordable cab hailing service out there”, GidiCab’s other features include favourite destinations, which allows users preset places they go to regularly, as well as the “home-zone” feature which are locations designated GidiCab. On both of these features, riders would enjoy discounted trips.

How sustainable is the GidiCab idea?

GidiCab is unique from all other cab hailing services that have been birthed in the country because it already has its platform. Would its popularity, however, help it stand out and remain valuable in the Nigerian market?

Probably not.

I recently had to use Bolt (former Taxify) over the last two days to help a friend transport her goods from the point where it was cleared to its final destination in Kwara state. And no, I did not use Bolt to transport the goods from Lagos to Kwara.

One of the major complaints I got from the drivers was the amount they get from the company. When I was trying to transport myself from the area around the airport to my house, I called the designated airport cabs that are painted navy blue. One look at me and the large sack beside me and the driver shouted: “your money is ₦5000!” No amount of negotiation and pleading could get him to go below ₦4000.

Frustrated, I booked a Bolt lite and saw that it would cost me between ₦600 to ₦1000. When the driver came and saw my sack, he was disappointed, and before the journey ended, he told me that he was sure the blue cabs would have charged me ₦5000 for the trip, making more than him who would collect less than a thousand Naira for the same trip.

If GidiCab plans to be cheaper than even Bolt and offer regular discounts, how much do they expect their drivers to make at the end of the day, putting into consideration the traffic situation in Lagos which may limit the drivers to less than 10 trips a day?

It is hoped and expected that the cab service has a watertight and surefire way of collecting their cash back on borrowed trips. This is Nigeria after all, where the word database continues to remain a strange term and people can literally disappear without clearing their debts. This is one feature that should be highly restricted if they plan on being around for a very long time.

Finally, GidiCab should remember that one of our greatest problems with other cab-hailing services is the drivers. Has GidiCab trained its drivers? How do they plan to keep a majority of their drivers in check and ensure that they offer good services as much as possible? With stories of drivers on other cab-hailing services using the platform to sometimes kidnap people, what measures have been put in place to avoid this kind of occurrence?

Definitely, only time would tell.

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