Gokada, the bike-hailing app company has announced that it is shutting down operations temporarily in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer, Fahim Saleh, who announced the shutdown in a note he wrote which was published on a news website August 13, 2019, said it was temporary, adding that the decision to exit the market immediately was compelled by his personal experience on one of the company’s bikes in Victoria Island, Lagos.
He said that the motorbike hailing market is still relatively new but it’s an emerging market that promises so much revenue potential to investors. Its entry barrier is, however, high and costly to operate.
While most businesses shut down their operations in Nigeria due to the country’s business environment, Saleh’s reasons have nothing to do with ease of doing business problems, or Nigeria’s hostile territory, but self-development to enable the company to compete better in the emerging market.
Saleh recounted how he hailed a Gokada bike from Victoria Island to Mainland bridge, and his experience was unpleasant because of two major reasons.
- Rider’s failure to get to his pickup point within allotted time.
- Rider’s struggle to navigate the road due to a fault developed by Gokada’s app.
Explaining, Saleh said, “I opened the Gokada app, requested, got a pilot, and waited patiently for him to arrive. I called to confirm my location which the pilot said he knew. 5 minutes passed by and the pilot had not moved.
“Another 5 minutes passed and the pilot was going in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes and three phone calls, the pilot finally arrived. Upon questioning the pilot, I learned that he didn’t use GPS on his phone because the earplugs he had were broken.”
Saleh added that, “It should be pretty obvious how to get to the mainland bridge from VI, so I didn’t concern myself with providing him directions but I knew from Google Maps using the best route, it should only take 10 –15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, we were still on the road.
“I hastily took out my phone and did a quick input of the directions to the bridge and realized we were still 15 minutes away. This pilot had taken a long route to get to the bridge, one that would have been completely avoided had he used the map…
“How could I be the CEO of Gokada, the company that pioneered motorcycle ride-hailing in Nigeria and be saying this? I was disappointed in Gokada but most of all, I was disappointed in myself. I told the pilot to pull over to the side of the road, I would hop over the median and wait for an Uber. This is what it has come to.”
He stated that the closure will be temporary as the company would be taking a short break to correct the problems that could result to poor customer experience. The shutdown which began August 14 will end on August 26, 2019.
According to Saleh, Gokada had succeeded and failed at the same time but despite being the first bike-hailing app company in Nigeria with deep penetration, the company needs to look deep into its operations.
He said the temporary exit from the market would enable them to repackage, restrategise and come back stronger.