Nigerian transport startup Gokada has suspended operations for a period of 12 days to address various issues within its service identified by its co-CEO.
Formed in February 2018, transport solution Gokada allows customers to order a motorcycle ride via its website or app.
In May the startup secured US$5.3 million in Series A funding to expand its driver fleet, increase its daily ride numbers and grow its team, but as of today (Wednesday 14) all of its motorcycles will be off the road and its app unavailable until August 26.
This comes after co-CEO Fahim Saleh took a Gokada trip in Lagos recently, the experience of which he details in this blog post. After a host of issues, including delayed driver arrival due to non-usage of GPS, and long journey time due to non-usage of Google Maps, Saleh was forced to end the trip and take an Uber to his destination instead.
“At this point, it was obvious that a car would have been much faster even with all the traffic. How could I be the CEO of Gokada, the company that pioneered motorcycle ride-hailing in Nigeria, and be saying this? I was disappointed in Gokada but most of all, I was disappointed in myself,” he said.
“It’s not easy criticising your own company. But either I could ignore these issues and move along happily like everything was fine. Or I could realise that this kind of thing is happening to our customers thousands of times over. I am not OK with that.”
Hence the temporary shutdown, which will allow the company to implement what Saleh called its “Gokada 2.0 initiative”. This will involve new, better quality bikes, a retraining process for drivers in customer service, hygiene, driving, and navigation use, and better safety measures. Gokada will also be offering more services to drivers, such as free bike maintenance, a driver’s club, and expanded health benefits.
“Big problems require big solutions,” said Saleh. “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 other than Gokada.”