European on-demand transportation platform Bolt has identified poor telecommunications infrastructure as one of the factors militating against the growth of urban transportation in Nigeria.
According to report, the Bolt Regional Manager, West Africa, Uche Okafor disclosed in Lagos on Monday.
This is just as the company has received over $175 million funding from its investors.
Its investors include: Daimler, Didi Chuxing, Korelya Capital and TransferWise.
Bolt, formerly known as Taxify is the leading European transportation platform that focus on making urban travel easier, quicker and more reliable.
Furthermore, the acceptable level of funding puts Bolt ahead of competitors including Uber put at $19 million; Didi $ 20 billion; Grab $7 million Lyft $ 5 million and Ola $ 4 million.
According to Okafor, hitches arising from difficulties to connect with poor telecommunications network often affects payment processing between riders and drivers in Nigeria utilizing the global urban transportation value chain.
Okafor said the Estonian born technology company; formerly known as Taxify in the last five years of its existence plans to expand its operations in Nigeria beyond Lagos; Abuja; Ibadan; Owerri and Benin City.
He said more Nigerians are embracing urban transportation with brands like Bolts, which has since its inception served over 24 million customers in over 30 countries in Europe and Africa.
Okafor said Bolt recently changed its brand identity to reflect the company’s broader vision of transportation that has already expanded from ride-hailing, with cars and motorbikes to scooter sharing.
He spoke of plans by Bolt to expand to other Nigerian cities to meet the yawning gap in urban transportation Even as plans were afoot to venture into courier services and food vending.
Okafor said the company besides grappling with challenges of poor technology infrastructure, hopes to venture into electric transportation as technology improves in the urban transportation value chain.
He said the company is handling customer complaint associated with biometric of its drivers, whom he said go through thorough background checks before they are signed up into the platform.
The Bolt Regional Manager said the company has entered into partnership with officials of Nigeria Police Force to handle identity management challenges affecting its drivers to boost the confidence of customers.
He said the company has put some processes in place to deal with drivers who bypass its system to either hoodwink or deceive customers.
Okafor said punitive measures have been designed by the company to take care of drivers who are not willing to comply with its regulations.
He said Bolt was running a lean operational structure in Nigeria because of car supply requirements, which is key sustaining the demand from customers from some areas.
He said Bolt has entered into agreement with Smile Communications, to facilitate high-speed internet services for its drivers across its operational locations.
Mr Okafor however said that Though Bolt is a few years in operations in Nigeria, as a player in the urban transportation value chain we are grappling with huge concerns including poor telecommunications network.
There infrastructure dearth in Nigeria. Our drivers need good telecommunications network to connect with their customers especially in the area of processing payment for transactions. This is why we have acquired Smile bundles as part of the technology boost needed for the business.
Furthermore, another challenge is that some areas have poor mapping, and our drivers find it hard to access such locations. If issues concerning poor telecommunications infrastructure is addressed adequate mapping on the global positioning systems and higher internet penetration, the business could be better.
Meanwhile He said the company intends to increase growth for on-demand urban transportation from four per cent to 28 per cent by 2028.
On the change of brand identity, Okafor said: While we have made progress on our mission, we have started to outgrow parts of our brand, including the name. Given our ambition to solve transportation problems on an increasingly broader scale, we want the brand to reflect the company’s future rather than the past.
Posted by Jeff