Photo: African Urban Transport

The Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria

Spotlight on... New business models for paratransit

Professor Samuel Gbadebo Odewumi from Lagos State University, Nigeria, introduces us to the exploratory research project Comparative Analysis of the E-Hailing Mobility Services in Selected Cities in West, East and Southern Africa.

  • Please tell us a bit about your project and why this topic is urgent.
  • Mobility and Access in sub-Saharan Africa is perennially challenged. Many solutions have been thrown at it, but the problem keeps escalating. Emerging recently and spreading widely, is the shared mobility solution, taking advantage of the boom in ICT. It brings under its umbrella many of the existing informal modes like Car-taxi, Tricycle, Motorcycle, Bicycle variously called “Okada”,”Boda-boda” and “Keke” in many sub-Saharan African countries. In Nigeria, these are termed “e-hailing” services. However, there has been very little study of this emerging business model. Is the rapid growth an indication of its acceptability or limited choices for the users? What are the challenges, opportunities and threats facing it? What is the role of government in it?
  • We are motivated to undertake an exploratory research into the e-hailing model and compare it across the west, east and southern Africa as represented by Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg. It is an investigation into types, coverage, and operations of the e-hailing services.
  • We seek to identify the sources and features of the applications; document the demographic characteristics and the attitude of the operators of the services; their competitors and relevant governments’ official to e-hailing business. We will compare the travel time and travel costs of the e-hailing with the traditional equivalents.
  • This project is a collaboration with researchers and universities in other countries. Can you tell us more about that?
  • Our research compares e-hailing models in in selected cities in West, East and Southern Africa and is a collaboration between researchers at five universities in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Our research collaborators are Prof Parvathy Naidoo, University of Johannesburg, South Africa; Jotia Juliet University of Johannesburg/University of Botswana; Dr Paul Akida Jilani Nairobi, University Strathmore, Nairobi, Kenya; Angela Kaguar University of Nairobi, Kenya.
  • We also have a network of advisers who include Prof. Karen Lucas, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leads (now Oxford University) UK; Prof. Gina Porter, Department of Anthropology, Durham University. UK; Prof D. Akinmoladun, Physics. & Tech Dept. Bronx Com. Coll. of City University of New York.
  • How do you plan to carry out the work, and how have you adapted to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic)?
  • Our methods include participant observer whereby field enumerators will take at least 40 rides on each mode while obtaining information of routes, time and cost with the GPS. Data extraction, using Map-source will be used to chart the trips, time and costs; accompanied with structured and unstructured questionnaire for demographic and opinion survey of the stakeholders. With our chosen methods and lockdowns in all our cities of study, it has expectedly caused mobility challenges and led to delays in the project.

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