Transport apps are enabling Nigerians to cut through traffic gridlocks, reduce insecurity and create jobs, writes LUCAS AJANAKU
With over 20 million people, Lagos is a thriving, bustling metropolis, similar to other vibrant cities in the world, such as Tokyo, Japan or New York. There’s a pulsating energy about the city that is hard to miss.
“I love the hustle and bustle of Lagos. The nature of my job as a fashion designer means that I have to move around quite frequently at night. I need a safe, reliable, and affordable means of commuting – and for me the Uber app has all of these elements,” says Oguntuase Abioye, who works as a safety officer during day and runs fashion designing at night along Egbeda Road, on the outskirts of the city.
Abioye is not alone in requiring reliable, affordable and safe commuting. Even reporters that work late have become victims of bus robbers called One Chance. Safety has become a topical issue in both offline and online discussions. Technology has opened up new means of economic opportunities for many people, but it has also brought with it some concerns about how safe and secure users are.
To assure the safety of riders, organisations such as Uber, through constantly evolving and cutting-edge technology, have continued to put in place safety tips that has helped improve the overall travel experience for riders.
The first is knowing the ride. Riders should always take the time to review the safety features available to them in the app. It’s important to remember that Uber rides can only be requested through the Uber app, so users should never accept street hail solicitations from those claiming to be with Uber.
When riders are ready to request a ride, it is important for them to avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with their phone in their hands. Instead, it is best to wait indoors until the app shows that the driver has arrived.
Another important point is to know the driver. When a driver accepts a rider’s request, the rider is able to see the drivers first name, photo, license, number plate, vehicle type as well as its colour. Riders are able to see this from within the app itself on the map. The rider should always make sure that those match before they enter the vehicle and ensure they ask for the drivers name when they open the door. In case where the inside of the car is dark, riders are encouraged to politely ask the driver to switch on the inner light to help confirm identity.
Share trip details. The technology has made it possible for all trips to be tracked using GPS. While en route, the rider is able to monitor his own trip in the app as well as share the estimated time of arrival (ETA) with their loved ones back home. This will help friends and family keep track of where they are on the trip and they can do this without necessarily downloading the Uber app.
There is also the in-app help tool designed to help riders get a prompt response to their queries in the shortest time possible.
The support system can be accessed by navigating to the “Help’’ section on the menu, which helps riders and driver-partners alike to express concerns they might have during a trip and get an instant response.
It is important to follow intuition. When using ride hailing app, the rider should be aware of their surroundings, if they feel like something’s not right they should trust their instincts and use their best judgment. Riders should be cautious when sharing any personal information and should always confirm that the driver-partner is in fact the one they saw on the app, and if they ever feel they’re in an emergency situation, they are advised to alert the local emergency services immediately.
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