Yes, the news is true. From Wednesday, August 14th 2019, the motorbike hailing service, Gokada, has partially shut down its operations after the CEO faced “operational” hurdles during a ride. All Gokada pilots are currently off the road and the Gokada app has been shut down.
A check on the Gokada app shows that it is currently undergoing maintenance work. A message on the app reads that, “Gokada is currently undergoing a scheduled relaunch of our service. We will be back online better than ever, August 26th! Sorry for the inconvenience.”
That’s right, Gokada is not shutting down permanently. Also, Gokada is not shutting down according to the perceived reasons of too much competition, insufficient funds, and what have you. According to the CEO and Co-Founder, Fahim Saleh, it all started when he took a trip which was supposed to last 5 mins from the Mainland Bridge to Victoria Island, but turned out to be 15 mins.
While narrating this disappointing experience, he asked some pertinent rhetorical questions, “How could I be the CEO of Gokada, the company that pioneered motorcycle ride-haili9ng in Nigeria and be experiencing this?”
Speaking further, he said, “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,’ I thought”
The problem Saleh faced is not uncommon among users of the various ride-hailing platforms in Nigeria. Even with the Google Maps for navigation, this problem is still prevalent. What’s more, some drivers are known for the uncouth act of taking longer routes to the destination in a bid to maximise profit.
As a way forward, Saleh, after his criticisms, have said that there will be a change in the perception of bike taxi in terms of convenience, safety and transparency, starting from Gokada. He further announced the Gokada 2.0 initiative which involve;
- brand new bikes of much better quality
- Drivers retrained on hygiene, customer service, navigation use and driving
- New Bluetooth helmets, adhering to maximum speeds and all traffic laws
- Happier Drivers
Apologising to users on the temporary shutdown, Saleh said, “Big problems require big solutions. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you in the short term. But in the long run, we firmly believe that when you want to get somewhere fast, safe, and hassle-free – there won’t be any other app you’d want to open than Gokada. Stay safe. Stay green”
Read Full Story of Saleh Experience
In a medium post, Fahim Saleh narrated his full experience,
“Well, a little over a week ago I had taken a Gokada hoping to avoid traffic to get to the mainland bridge from VI. From there I planned to take a car. 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 pass by.. and the pilot had not moved. Another 5 minutes pass and the pilot was going in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes and three phone calls, the pilot finally arrived at which point I’m thinking it might have been faster to take a car all the way through. Upon questioning the pilot, I learned that he didn’t use GPS on his phone because the earplugs he had were broken. Irritated, I motioned him to get started with the ride as I was in a hurry. 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. I motioned that I would direct him based on the Google Maps navigation. Unfortunately, just as we were about to reach the bridge I directed the pilot to a wrong turn which would have required us to turn all the way around. At this point, it was obvious that a car would have been much faster even with all the traffic.”