Usually we just wake up to this kind of news, and most times it feels like a bad breakup. A lot of people must still be feeling heart-broken about learning that their darling Taxify is now called Bolt.
Taxify is unique and sounds sexier, while Bolt is popular and possesses likeable characteristics – electricity and speed. It’s indeed because of the company’s desire to be known by these characteristics that it has changed its name.
“We have grown in leaps and bounds over the years and are now are now aiming to solve transportation needs on a broader scale. Because of this, we are rebranding to take on a new name, one which encompasses our future. Our new name Bolt, stands for fast, effortless movement – exactly what you deserve,” says CEO and co-founder, Bolt, Markus Villig.
The Estonian tech company’s intentions are quite clear; to deliver to millions of people all over the world faster means of moving around and doing their daily business – and more options too in the process.
To be added to cars will be motorbikes and electric scooters. The question is how exactly the latter two will work out in Nigeria.
Welcome to the Okada Market, Bolt
When Bolt eventually activates its motorbike button, it would be jumping straight into the Okada market which is currently still dominated by local motorbike riders. New tech entrants MaxOkada and Gokada are currently beginning to cut into that market with the advantage of a license to ply longer routes, unlike the local riders who typically run shorter routes.
The new Bolt motorbikes will be seen as in the same category of MaxOkada and Gokada, and you would imagine that Bolt is already well positioned to really pose a challenge for these two and possibly overtake them.
How will Bolt hack the scooter code?
The motorbike market might be an easy puzzle to resolve for Bolt, but it’s hard to imagine how it will hack the scooter code. Electric scooters are currently not part of the Nigerian transportation system. It would definitely be a new and exciting addition, at least for the young at heart.
No question if Bolt can make these scooters appear on Nigerian roads, the problem is, how does it work on Nigerian roads which are usually chaotic and lawless. Users flout traffic laws as if they were not even there at all.
Secondly, you would imagine that for scooters special lanes would have to be created to protect the riders from the busier main roads and bigger vehicles. That infrastructure is nowhere in place in the country at the moment, and I doubt we would see them in the near future.
Even if we were so optimistic and our dreams came true, the disregard for traffic rules and reckless nature of drivers would make it a very risky mode of transport. So Bolt’s electric scooter might be that thrilling experience Nigerians might never experience, except they travelled to other countries where they could.