UBER and KIA set to change the face of transport services in Nigeria
Uber Technologies Incorporation and KIA Motors Corporation in collaboration with Access Bank Plc are on the move to increase the number of car users in Africa’s biggest city, Lagos. To boost its number of drivers five-fold, Uber negotiated with its partners to drastically reduce the down payment for new vehicles from N200,000 to N95,000, repayable over a period of four years.
Alon Lits, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said in an interview on August 28 that, over 600 employment opportunities were provided since the application was launched in 2014. He is optimistic that the number will climb to 3,000 by the end of 2016.
What Uber is and how it works
Founded in 2009 in San Fancisco, Uber is valued at about $50 billion and perhaps rated as the fastest growing company in the world. It started as a map on a smartphone connecting a driver to a passenger through the Global Positioning System (GPS).
As an application installed on smartphones,the processes of using it is pretty simple. First, tap to set your pick-up location, request your ride and a driver will accept. The next step is to enter the destination. At the pick-up point, the application will show the driver the route to the passenger’s destination and the estimated time of arrival.
Uber has two packages in Lagos- Uber Black and Uber X. Uber Black makes use of more expensive cars with the same rate or a little less than normal taxi costs, while Uber X cost less.
What endears passengers to Uber apart from the ease of movement across different destinations, is that it is often more comfortable and customers can monitor the drivers on the maps of their smartphones as they approach their locations. Payments are not made directly; the transaction is done between Uber and the customer’s bank, enhancing the cashless policy for safety purposes.
What Uber means to Lagosians
Since its its inception in August 2014, Uber has proven to be successful. This new deal with KIA and Access Bank is set to make operations even better. Both partners will set out to play the role of reducing the hassles involved in buying a car to run the transport business. It will also create employment opportunities for the teeming population of unemployed youth in Lagos and Nigeria at large, Ebi Atawodi, Uber General Manager in Nigeria said.
Using Uber is considerably cheap and easily accessible in Lagos. The base fare for every ride is rated at N400 while the metered rate is charged at N9 per minute and N90 per kilometer.
Many Uber users expressed their enthusiasm and the satisfaction they have so far derived from these services.
Another Lagosian evinced his optimism about the recent collaboration of Uber with its new partners.
Uber’s launch has not been unchallenged in Lagos. It came as an infiltration of markets for existing transport service companies in Lagos like Recabs, Metro Taxi, Tranzit, Easy Taxi, AfroCab and others, all of whom are scrambling for the same clients from the 20 million populated city. Taxi drivers also came up with an outburst against Uber, which according to them came to disrupt the market for the older generation of drivers.
It should also be noted that Uber’s services and activities have been receiving lukewarm and rather repulsive reception across the globe. This is hinged on the fact that a bulk of Uber drivers are untrained, uninsured and unlicensed. But even though these allegations are yet to be raised in Lagos, it is something to watch out for as some fraudulent practices of some Uber drivers have been reported by users. As of mid-2015, protests were staged in England, Italy, Poland, China, Spain and Germany.
Perhaps, this new collaboration will take these defects into consideration in order to produce something more remarkable and reliable in the foreseeable future.
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