Uber came to Nigeria in 2014 and when that happened, it was the coolest thing ever because they served an essential need in a very classy way. It was so cool to have an AC fitted car come pick you without having to pay for being picked up. Before uber, Taxify and the likes (yes, there are other Taxi Technology app in Nigeria asides Uber and Taxify), I had contacts of about 10 Taxi men in Lagos. I’d have to call close to 5 of them to locate one that isn’t very far from my location and if my movement happened to be pre-planned, I simply called my most preferred guy a day before to give prior notice. So, yes, we loved our comfort before the technology people came in, they only made it easier.
Taxify launched its app in Lagos, Nigeria late 2016 – 2 years after Uber. Uber had become a house hold name for booking cabs online. Just the way we call all noodles – indomie in Nigeria, sometimes, even Taxify users tell you ‘I am waiting for uber’ – The first Mover Advantage.
Why I left Uber
Contrary to what your story might be, I did not leave Uber for Taxify. I left Uber because I was tired of their annoying services and customer service. The 1000 Naira cancellation price tag was also one of the reasons I left them cos I had to pay the fee twice, not because I cancelled the ride but because the driver was too lazy, too proud or too stupid being totally unprofessional. So he cancelled a ride I booked and asked Uber to charge me. On one of those horrible experience, then I resided somewhere around Ogba, I booked a ride, called up the driver and he said he was at the bus stop. Because I was in a haste and knowing how tight it can be to navigate my area, I told him to wait at a popular landmark (Tantalizers) at Ogba bus stop while I find my way to the bus stop. He agreed. I got to the bus stop, called the cab man, he told me he was held in traffic at Aguda bus stop. Because I was in a hurry, again, I told him I will meet him at Aguda bus stop. Only for me to get to Aguda bus stop and unku was nowhere to be found. He kept telling me he was close – lies. I simply told him to end the ride while I got a cab by the road side and that was it. I uninstalled the app when I got an email of me having to pay 1000 Naira for cancelling the ride.
My love story with Taxify
Early this year, my former neighbor introduced me to Taxify. In her words – ‘Babes, I have seen an app that is better than Uber. It is cheaper”. Of course I was reluctant, remembering my experience with Uber. The following week she talked about Taxify again and I decided to give it a try. It was truly cheaper and a breath of fresh air. Their customer service was on point, the drivers were respectful, and the fare was way cheaper, so I said YES! I even made most of my friends and contacts join Taxify. Ain’t nobody got money to waste. The best part is, there was no cancellation fee.
Why I started cheating on Taxify with Uber
One good thing with me and my wahala is the fact that I pay attention to every single detail. I realized that the entrance of Taxify into the business in Nigeria was good thing for us the users and the Drivers. For the users, it was glaring and for the drivers, we saw the drivers revolt happening. Without a competition like Taxify, that would not have been possible. All we needed to do was wait out Uber’s response to the strong competitor. Unfortunately (I mean this people are making money oooo), I am not a driver on any of this app but as a user, comparing fares with my friends who remained loyal on Uber proved that Uber also reduced their fare and at some point, became cheaper than Taxify. So I downloaded Uber.
Keeping up with the two lovers
I then realised that Taxify also introduced surge. So when I try to book a ride, I open both apps to compare prices and see their level of surge. Recently, I realised that Uber has become cheaper than Taxify. I saw an article somewhere, blaming uber for not considering the happiness of their drivers and making it easier for these drivers to port to Taxify. In the writer’s opinion, it is easier to get a ride on Taxify right now than on Uber. I am not sure where he lives, but I can tell you from my location and experience, there is no difference in the time of arrival on both apps. It simply depends on where your driver is at the moment.
Secondly, I saw some tweets about Uber drivers being rude and I laughed. Some of the drivers on Uber are the same on Taxify. Agreed that some of these drivers can be rude and annoying – I have experienced them on both platforms, but it has nothing to do with Uber or Taxify.
How to get the most of both lovers?
Be smart! Have both apps on your phone and compare prices before you book a ride. On Saturday, I took a ride on Taxify from my place – Ogudu, to Igboefon, and guess how much I had to pay? A whooping 4350. On my way back on Sunday, from Igboefon to Ogudu, the additional movement was just dropping a friend off in Victoria Island and guess how much? 5150. Note that there was no traffic or delays on both rides. The road was very free and we practically flew. I will not want to tell you that Uber is cheaper than Taxify at the moment (which is how I feel), but I will say look before you leap.
I hope for more worthy competitors in the business. That way, we can stop being charged the exorbitant fee for moving from one part of Lagos to another. Its not about Uber being better than Taxify or Taxify being better than Uber, its about charging right for the right services and taking up responsibility when your partners do something wrong.