Car sharing and Ride sharing models have been hailed as the bridges towards transiting to autonomous mobility. These models minimise capital expenditures and increases the efficiency of transportation assets.
Recently, OPay recently launched a new vertical, OCar, to compete against the likes of Uber and Bolt, which makes the field even more crowded. ‘With its go anywhere from 200 naira’, OCar is definitely incentivizing consumers to come onto its platform.
Even though this vertical (ride sharing model) represents a good move, I am of the opinion that OCar could equally benefit from a car sharing business model. The car sharing model, in this context, means if Mr A owns a car and he is commuting to Ikeja from VI (both in Lagos, Nigeria), he is able to share his car with other passengers commuting from Ikeja to VI.
This would provide a market opportunity for private car owners interested in sharing their cars during their journeys. By private owners, I mean private car owners who are not Uber or Bolt drivers, simply private car owners who use their cars for private use but are interested in sharing their cars when commuting.
To achieve this, OCar would need to provide a platform for these private car owners (in Lagos and elsewhere) who may be willing to share their cars with passengers commuting in the same direction of travel. It is already a common occurrence to find private car owners in Lagos offering to pick passengers travelling in the same direction of travel. Such a platform would encourage more private car owners to consider sharing their cars as well as enjoy profits from such car sharing arrangements. This represents a new market opportunity which could help differentiate OCar from Bolt or Uber.
Is this market segment small or big? I do not know. OCar would have to conduct its market research to determine if this market segment is of significant size to justify any reasonable investment. I do know there is an opportunity here, which could easily grow with time.
With its ORide and OTrike platforms, Opay currently manages various motorcycles and tricycles within various cities. It is very common to find various OPay and OTrike drivers sitting idle during less congested times of the day. OPay could equally benefit from expanding its services to allow these drivers become engaged in the delivery of food (take-aways), items (e-commerce), dispatch and other delivery needs etc. I am aware that Opay already collaborates with small restaurants and allow consumers to order food. This service could further be expanded to the ecommerce industry, beyond the food industry.
Another expansion that may interest Opay may involve the provision of bicycle sharing arrangements (OBike) within universities or small private communities. This may be particularly attractive to universities looking to reduce their greenhouse gases, as a way of addressing climate change. This would no doubt involve the construction of dedicated cycle lanes as well as close collaboration with universities.
With Opay’s rapid expansion across various verticals, it may not be long before we see an OTruck platform which may disrupt the truck industry.
For now, OCar looks ready to take on Uber and bolt. The race is definitely on and we are watching closely to see who emerges the winner.