Lagos residents are all too familiar with the unpredictable mess that is Lagos traffic. Whether it’s that important meeting on the Island or the movie screening you’re running late for, Lagos traffic is no respecter of time.
For decades, the popular 100cc motorcycle taxis known as Okadas have provided a bit of relief from this phenomenon. However, following erstwhile Governor Fashola’s ban on Okadas from major highways, their reach has since been limited to minor roads.
But MAX Go, a new app that officially launches today, is setting out to bring commercial motorcycle transportation back to major roads in Lagos. As it turns out, the Lagos state ban does not apply to the 200cc (and above) motorcycles MAX Go offers. These are allowed on approved routes.
MAX Go is from the stables of Metro Africa Express, the urban logistics startup launched by Chinedu Azodoh and Adetayo Bamiduro in 2015.
How MAX Go works
If you’ve ever used any of the popular eHailing apps, you’ll find the MAX Go environment quite familiar. Signing up is a breeze; you fill in details like your name, phone number and debit card number — MAX Go operates a no-cash policy.
To book a ride, you enter your pickup location and destination
You are given a fare estimate to help you decide if you are willing to take the ride
After you click “Place request”, the app attempts to connect you with the closest ‘Champion’
On arrival, you are handed a hairnet and helmet for safety
And you’re good to go!
Beyond immediate rider safety, co-founder Chinedu Azodo confirms that MAX Go also provides passenger liability insurance, in the undesirable event of an accident.
After the ride, your debit card is charged and you’re sent a receipt
MAX Go charges only for distance covered, up from a base fare of ₦100.
Running a transportation business on any scale is no small feat. To assure proper service delivery, MAX Go operates a sharing economy model that on-boards motorcycle owners (Partners) and riders (Champions) unto the platform. Becoming a Champion requires undergoing a series of vetting sessions that begin with psychometric tests. Intending Partners also have to pass through a vetting process.
It’s also quite interesting to note that MAX Go has some level of support from the Lagos state government. Chinedu Azodoh tells me they run a motorcycle financing scheme in partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust fund (LSETF). MAX sends vetted riders to the LSETF which in turn provides the financing.
For now, MAX Go is only available on the Android platform (iOS in the works). The app, and its underlying technology, was built entirely by a team of in-house full-stack engineers. They’re all passionate about applying cutting edge development principles like scrum, agile development and micro-service architecture to building a world class app.
But a world class app can only go so far. If MAX Go is going to be successful, they will need to figure out how to get enough riders/partners on the platform to meet projected demand.
For now, it’s all about taking the important baby steps. MAX Go launches today with a fleet of about 100 bikes to serve the Yaba, VI, Marina, Ikoyi and Lekki Phase 1 axes.
So the next time you find yourself at the mercy of Lagos traffic, you should remember to download the MAX Go app for an opportunity to “ride in style”.
Jan. 18: Bonus Built in Africa episode: Town Hall meeting with Peter Salovey, President of Yale University
On March 25, 2021, Techpoint Africa will be hosting the brightest minds in decentralised finance/crypto at the Digital Currency Summit tagged “Building the money of the future” Click here for more details, registration and sponsorship. Location: Fourpoint by Sheraton, V.I. Lagos.