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OPay Launches OBus Service in Lagos



OPay Launches OBus Service in Lagos

By Adedapo Adesanya

Opera-backed company, OPay, has formally launched OBus, a bus hailing service in Lagos known as OBus. The new business was launched by the firm last Saturday and came barely a week after the introduction of OTrike in Aba, Abia State.

OPay, in its plan to become a multi-service commercial internet platform, which it started as a mobile payment platform in 2016, has within the past months added motorcycle hailing, personal loans, food delivery and tricycle hailing to its list of services. And it doesn’t seem to be resting on its oars.

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Its latest addition OBus, like ORide and OTrike, is a commuter transit service that operates using branded hummer buses for intrastate trips within Lagos.

It has since inception been incorporated into the OPay app where ride orders can be made. To access the OBus service, users would need to update their OPay app. Currently in beta testing, it only operates along the CMS-Ikeja routes.

OBus trip fare payments are made using an OBus Card. It is a QR-enabled card that comes in different denominations — as low as N200 and as high as N2000. Cards can also be purchased from OPay agents at different designated bus stops.

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To make payment, cards are placed over a sensor reader inside the bus. The sensor then reads the ticket barcode which was generated through the mobile app before the trip and withdrawal made immediately.

An OBus Card can be used for multiple trips until the credit is exhausted. Alternatively, payments can also be made through the OPay wallet, as with other OPay services.

Regarding concerns about his company’s speed of product and services expansion, an OPay staff explains that it was a way of testing new waters.

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There is no telling what surprises OPay is set to spring up in the coming months. Perhaps, this is a means of proving to investors how effectively the recent $50 million funding which it said will be used to strengthen the company’s position in Nigeria, expand to additional African markets and leverage its brand and app into other services, including motorbike ride-sharing and food delivery services, is being utilised.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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FRSC, LASTMA Applaud JCI Ikeja’s Safe Driving Campaign



Safe Driving Campaign

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have applauded the Ikeja Local Organisation of Junior Chamber International (JCI) for its safe driving campaign.

The group recently sensitised some transporters under the aegis of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Ikeja branch, on the global best practices of using the roads.

“Once a message of sensitization of this nature is sent out with a continuous reminder, there would be a change of attitude,” the Unit Head of Special Marshals of the FRSC, Ojota Unit Command, Mr Ande Apollo, stated.

Mr Apollo noted that the defensive driving campaign organized by the JCI Ikeja goes a long way, saying that speaking with members of the NURTW will bring more knowledge to them on how to maintain their cars and use the road.

“They would be more conscious and more self-aware of their safety and the safety of other road users. It is believed that most people who use the road are commercial drivers.

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“Programs like this will give commercial drivers a rethink on reasons why they should obey road traffic regulations to ensure road safety,” Mr Appollo explained.

Also speaking during the sensitization program, the Grand Chairman, Ikeja branch of NURTW, Comrade Isiaka Apena, applauded the initiative of JCI Ikeja.

Mr Apena said that the seminar is good and very important to them, saying that it should be frequent for them can keep enlightening their drivers on how and why they should obey road traffic rules for the safety of their lives and other road users and ensure road safety.

He then called on the government at different levels to support them alleviate the challenges they are going through.

Mr Apena also said that there should be assistance from the government to the transport sector, especially NURTW, pointed out that the vehicle they are using is bad, and there should be a form of assistance from the government to subsidies; probably to collect their old vehicles and get them new vehicles and they pay in instalment.

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“Government should do something to assist the drivers because it is a means of income for the drivers and this would make transportation better.

“The government should render financial assistance to the transport sector at least to aid the purchase of the new vehicles,” Mr Apena begged.

Explaining why the campaign was organised, the President of JCI Ikeja, Ms Tricia Inalu, explained that the need to inform public transport drivers on the best ways to use the roads and to reduce the road the accident that happen on daily basis influenced the event.

She quoted a report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which said between 2013 and 2019, over 5000 deaths were recorded annually.

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“In February this year, a Vanguard report stated that an average of 4 persons dies every 6 hours, an average of 15 persons die daily, and in a month, over 400 people die.

“These figures are alarming, these are people who are breadwinners, who have dependents and this affects the family, the home front and even our economy,” Ms Inalu explained.

“As a leadership organization that JCI is, we look out for problems and opportunities where we can promote development and create value for our communities.

“This has become very necessary as we have realised that we cannot leave this to the government because we are the government, we are the ones that can talk to ourselves to do things right and that is why we are on this sensitization campaign,” she said.

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Bolt Introduces Interest-Free Vehicle Financing Scheme



Bolt Vehicle Financing Scheme

By Dipo Olowookere

A vehicle financing scheme that will enable drivers in Nigeria to own a car with low equity repayment for about four years with no interest has been introduced by Africa’s leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt.

The vehicle financing programme was made possible through Bolt’s operative verification of driver identities and extensive data on driver activities in partnership with Sterling Bank’s Alternative Finance.

The initiative will provide a better alternative for drivers who currently lease a car via the hire-purchase or rental model to drive on the Bolt platform.

A statement from the firm described this first-of-its-kind offering in Nigeria as part of its commitment to improving earnings for drivers while allowing them to maintain flexibility as vehicle owners.

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“This initiative reiterates our continued commitment to helping our drivers earn more as our partners in moving Nigeria,” Bolt Country Manager, Mr Femi Akin-Laguda, was quoted as saying.

Business Post reports that in the pilot phase, existing Bolt drivers who meet specific performance benchmarks while driving with Bolt will be prioritised for vehicle financing.

These drivers will be able to enjoy upfront equity contributions as low as a 15 per cent mark-up and minimum weekly-instalment payments.

Other benefits from the plan may include a monthly fuel card, comprehensive insurance and vehicle tracking for new and pre-owned cars with a three to a four-year repayment plan.

“Our drivers are vital to our business operations, and improving the earnings of every driver is fundamental to keeping the trust and loyalty that we have earned over the last couple of years,” Mr Akin-Laguda stated.

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“As we expand our presence into more cities across the country, it is important to provide solutions that ensure working with Bolt is more flexible and profitable for drivers, which inherently improves the overall experience for our riders as well.

“More importantly, the vehicle financing programme will enable drivers to earn at their own pace either driving full time or part-time,” he added.

On her part, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Sterling Bank, Ms Temiloluwa Desalu, said, “We are very excited to be partnering with Africa’s leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt, to bring this service to their drivers, and we are confident of a long-lasting and truly rewarding alliance.”

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“At Sterling Alternative Finance, we understand that Nigeria is a predominantly cash-centric society; this sometimes cripples the purchasing power of the average Nigerian and in effect can have a negative impact on our economy.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life of Nigerians by providing a more sustainable, flexible, and convenient way to own vehicles.

“Through the Alt drive platform, Nigerians can now purchase new or pre-owned vehicles and pay steadily over a convenient number of years at no interest,” she added.

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PlentyWaka Partners GUO to Expand Travel Offerings




By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s leading transportation technology company, Plentywaka, has partnered with a leading interstate transport company, GUO to expand both companies’ travel offerings.

The partnership will see GUO enable its ticket booking on the Plentywaka app, therefore, joining its interstate travel network, Travelwaka and will also onboard 600 new buses from GUO onto its platform, leading to the opening up of new routes on the Travelwaka platform.

Major routes expected to debut on the platform include Lagos-Abuja along with about 200 others.

The recently-launched Travelwaka is majorly a booking platform for a network of interstate transport companies now including GUO Transports. It provides affordable tickets for major bus travel companies, offering as much as a 10 per cent discount.

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It will also give users an easy and seamless way to compare options from a wide range of travel companies all in a single search, and on one single app as both companies combine technology, and marketing, to bring transport into one simple product, the Plentywaka mobile app.

Speaking on the partnership, co-founder and CEO of Plentywaka, Ms Onyeka Akumah, said: “The partnership with GUO Transport Services Limited is great for our users especially because we know a lot of them have been looking for routes that GUO operates on.”

“We are very excited to have developed the technology behind an easy-to-use mobile app that will make the travel experience seamless for Nigerians,” she added.

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The partnership will capitalise on GUO Transport’s experience, which has one of the largest range of routes among interstate operators on the Nigerian transport scene. Founded in 1980 as a division of G. U. Okeke & Sons Ltd, the company presently services more than 200 routes spanning the length and breadth of Nigeria and spilling into the West African sub-region.

With its modern, environmentally-friendly fleet and professional service, the company has become an icon in the transportation industry, providing safe, enjoyable and affordable travel to millions of passengers annually.

On the part of the company, its Director of Operations, Mr Kene Okeke, said it will enable GUO to deliver its remarkable services to more people.

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“We are excited about this partnership with PlentyWaka because their values and offerings align closely with ours. We can now move more people from across Nigeria conveniently and without hassle.”

With this new partnership and additional 600 buses, Plentywaka brings the total amount of buses on its Travelwaka network to 850. And the transport technology company which has completed over 350,000 rides in the last 20 months isn’t slowing down.

“We will continue to sign leading bus operators in Nigeria as we aim to become the largest aggregator of bus operators in the country providing a better way to manage and monitor their bookings and customers,” the company said.

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