The Lagos traffic congestion paralysis is huge and everyone encounters it daily. And week by week, it is increasing in magnitude and ferocity, ravaging productivity in the utilization of the factors of production in Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence. If you look deep into the broad planning horizon, unless there is a dramatic redesign, Lagos will reach a diminishing returns as rural-urban migration intensifies. Yes, when assets and production systems cannot move efficiently, supply chain collapses, and commerce stalls. Apapa port lost its premier position in West Africa to Port of Lome (Togo) because of congestion. Interestingly, government seems overwhelmed, on how to deal with our road congestion problems, not just in Lagos, but in Port Harcourt and other major cities. Welcome the entrepreneurs.
As I noted in my Platform speech, the best moment for a nation is when entrepreneurs rise; Nigerian entrepreneurs are rising to find solutions to the traffic congestion issues. I have confident that they will fix whatever the challenges may be, if there is support from government. The latest entrant to help in fixing the road transportation friction in Nigeria is called Zido Keke Taxi. (Update: Matatu is now Zido; have updated some sections below).
Matatu is an app-based transport networking solution. It provides on-demand transport services to commuters within towns across various cities through easy-to-use taxi hailing mobile application
Portable as they appear, mini vehicles and auto-rickshaws move small loads of cargo and carries passengers from one place to another seamlessly. Its affordability and versatility advantages have helped it become widespread in the developing world. Matatu leverages these advantages to provide quick transport service to commuters at the tap of a screen. It provides the most seamless way to hail a taxi via its mobile app, connecting riders with nearest drivers.
Zido is a technology-driven auto rickshaw (keke) aggregator. It runs on that enviable business construct of aggregation where digital technology is used to bring efficiency in demand-supply framework. The app-based transport networking solution provides on-demand transport services to commuters within towns through easy-to-use taxi hailing mobile applications.
The Zido Business and Benefits
Zido offers three main services as it leverages the auto rickshaws within the transportation landscape, powered by technology:
- Matatu Keke Taxi: which connects riders with safe, reliable, convenient kekes just in few clicks
- Matatu Ads: providing cost-effective advertising solutions and helping brands to reach valuable audiences
- Matatu Delivery: providing quick and seamless delivery solutions; Fast Pickup And Drop Service with real-time monitoring.
Portable as they appear, auto-rickshaw moves small loads of cargo and carries passengers from one place to another seamlessly. Its affordability and versatility advantages have helped it become widespread in places like India and Indonesia. Zidoleverages these advantages to provide quick transport service to commuters at the tap of a screen. It provides seamless way to hail a taxi via its mobile app, connecting riders with nearest drivers. Simply, this is “Uber for Keke” in Nigeria: amazing indeed that Keke has gotten its element of technology.
“What is different is that we have neat tricycles with neat drivers that are trained by FRSC to certify them and have fantastic drivers, This will encourage more graduates and individuals with other jobs to earn more money without necessarily quitting your job.” Samuel Ajiboyede, Founder, Matatu Keke Taxi
As Matatu fixes the transport frictions in Nigeria, we can note the following benefits to the broad stakeholders:
The environment: Matatu’s auto rickshaw small size takes up less space on roadways and parking areas. They run on smaller more efficient engines, which significantly decrease their pollution and fuel consumption over cabs. Matatu’s pooling feature is helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the road quite significantly, thereby helping the environment by reducing the amount of carbon-monoxide emission in the atmosphere. Of course, there are many things keke cannot do which cabs are designed. The key is that keke can help in last mile, and that should be captured in the design of the transportation strategy.
Unemployment: A huge number of people are getting engaged as drivers on Matatu platform. This is steadily reducing the rate of unemployment in the society. If we can make the argument that Uber is helping to reduce unemployment, Matatu is an innovation in that space at the keke level. These drivers earn income and contribute to the local economies.
The Scalability Challenge Ahead
Matatu has a massive opportunity ahead of it but it needs to deal with building a platform business, to drive network effects. Yes, the more kekes it has in its platform, the more valuable the service would be. It is a positive continuum as the service it offers can only be useful if people do not need to wait for long to have access to a keke, to move them around. By having many kekes in the system, users will not have to wait for long. It seems the founders have understood the issue by working to have 10,000 kekes in its platforms.
MANAGERS of the first app based tricycle taxi, says it is planning to deploy an additional 10,000 high-tech tricycles into its operation in Lagos State. Chief executive officer and co-founder of Matatu, Engr. Samuel Ajiboyede, made the disclosure penultimate week during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between his firm and Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria, TOOAN.
But doing this must involve finding ways to scale on injecting more kekes without necessarily owing the assets since owing them will make the business to become asset-heavy, over asset-light, typical with aggregators. Possibly, the injection of 10,000 kekes will come with the drivers expected to buy them, and then put them into the platform, with asset ownership under the risks of drivers. Matatu cannot assume the ownership risks; if it does, it cannot be seen as an aggregator.
More so, the managers of the platform have a plan. They have opened it for investors to buy the tricycles, and put into the platform under agreed payment structure. That is one way to deepen the availability of the assets in the platforms without direct risks. Also, with plans to work with FRSC, the riders would create a clear differentiation from the unbranded kekes – and that could provide opportunities for them to charge premium fares. Having more kekes and more users will help to reduce marginal cost.
Marginal cost is transaction and distribution cost combined. The more users and kekes the platform has, the better, as that will reduce the marginal cost for all partners in the platform. So, as this company expands, it needs to examine key enablers for its scalable advantage as it needs them to scale, not just in Lagos but other major towns like Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Aba and Ibadan.
How To Install Matatu App
Matatu Keke Taxi app has both Google Play and iOS versions
- Download for Google Android at Play Store here
- Download for iPhone and iPad (iOS) here.
Matatu will be a piece of fixing the traffic paralysis; I have noted other permanent solutions here.