Barely a week after Max.ng launched its bike hailing services in Ibadan, SafeBoda; a Ugandan based bike hailing start-up has also launched its bike hailing services in the city of Ibadan, making Nigeria its third market. Unlike the previous bike hailing companies that had their first launch in Lagos; the commercial hub of Nigeria before expanding to Ibadan, SafeBoda’s first point of operation is Ibadan.
Contrary to people’s possible preconceived insinuation of SafeBoda emerging in Ibadan as a result of the Lagos Okada Ban, SafeBoda had established its physical presence in Ibadan since May 2019, long before the Lagos Okada Ban and ascribed its late launch to background work and market research. At that time, news came up about the launch of the bike hailing start-up possibly because of its active online presence and a physical office in Ibadan but the news was refuted by the company’s country manager.
Babajide Duroshola, SafeBoda’s Country Manager attributed their choice of Ibadan to Ibadan being the city of many firsts and its Okada-Friendly nature. The choice of Ibadan came up because the company felt unwelcome in Lagos after having a series of meeting with stakeholders. Their choice of Ibadan, therefore, became justified when the Okada Ban came up in Lagos.
SafeBoda, the orange themed Bike hailing company, which started officially on the 2nd of March has about 100 functional riders presently and its operations cover about 14 locations in Ibadan where they ply for now. The routes include Eleyele, Sango, Bashorun/Gate, UI, Poly, Bodija, New Bodija, Akobo, Agodi, Ijokodo, UCH, Mokola, Dugbe, and Jericho. The riders have their customized jackets on, with their names are written boldly on them and the riders can be tracked and held accountable via the numbers written on their helmets. This probably echoes SafeBodas mission of ensuring safety, security and building community between SafeBoda drivers and passengers.
Exclusive to SafeBoda is its food ordering service besides other on-demand services mutual to former bike-hailing start-ups. As its promotional tool of gaining entrance into the market, SafeBoda offers an individual a free first ride and is offering a 50 percent discount on all rides, all through its first month. You can get a ride with SafeBoda either by Booking or Pairing. The latter allows an individual to walk up to a rider, open the app, enter the rider’s helmet number on the app and start a ride instantly. This is similar to Max.ng Street hailing service. This option eliminates the process of waiting indefinitely for a rider who is several kilometres away, hence saves time.
Unlike Max, the company doesn’t provide motorcycles to the riders but only train cycle owners instead. With the existence of OPay, Max.ng and now SafeBoda, Ibadan is set to experience its ever first bike-hailing wars. One pertinent factor that can influence the successes of the three bike hailing companies is their prices, as Ibadan is a price-sensitive market. The tussle for passengers has started already, it will be interesting to see how things eventually play out among the trio.