#TAWKIt Ep 7(2): Cab vs Taxi: The Lagos Experience


This article continues from the previous. If you haven’t read that, you can check it out here.

“Uber fever”

In 2014 a location based app which sought to infuse mainstream technology with taxi service was launched. Its name: UBER. With no haggle and fully air conditioned, UBER spread through.

In 2016 however, Uber’s quest for truly satisfying it customers will be tested by another location based app: Taxify.

Comfort is bliss

With TNCs(Transportation Network Companies) establishing the ‘not older than 10 years from year of manufacture or newer’ vehicle policy, vehicles are more likely to be in better conditions and faulty parts are likely to be changed or repaired due to availability.

With the comfort of air-conditioned vehicles, we almost forget what it was like with yellow taxis as many of them are either out of date or don’t undergo proper checks to ensure safety and comfort.

I bet it wasn’t funny if you were ever caught up in those taxis with a faulty or non-existent window crank knob on a rainy day, OR without air conditioning on a hot day and you had to appear distressed to that interview or meeting.

Price! Price!! Price!!!

Comfort is bliss but traffic isn’t. Although TNCs save you the haggle of bargaining as it is metered, there’s a possibility of this wonderfully thought out mechanism going sour that very taut moment you notice traffic building up and you know that’s on your wallet. TNCs are non-negotiable!

With regular yellow taxis however asides basic laws of demand and supply that apply during rush hour which could pose a hike in price, you’re put in charge as nothing affects price most times after fair bargain – especially traffic.

What an elder sees sitting……

For a large part, a good number of TNC drivers are young people mostly between the ages of 18 and 40, who didn’t particularly set out to be taxi drivers and are quite inexperienced in navigating the very intricate road network of cities like Lagos. They incessantly look at their maps and when their maps are not thorough, they make many stops to ask questions or ask you. Exhausting right? Not only could it be exhausting but it hikes your fare.

Here come the Babas in the Lagos traditional yellow taxis with 20 to 30 years of experience (ghen ghen). They know the metropolis like the back of their palms and even the outskirts. The shortcuts and safest routes are known to them.  Just like college professors, they always lengthen conversations and speak abundantly and with pride when you don’t know directions or shortcuts, and constantly remind you of how long they have been in the business.

In the end, everyone just wants a smooth ride.

Although lot of people have become so accustomed to TNCs, there are some experiences we’ve had with rides.

Here are some notable personalities of TNC drivers and possible rider pet peeves.

The driver who cannot be bothered

As opposed to some very courteous drivers, have you ever gotten into a cab and the driver isn’t just interested in following some rules of courtesy like asking about the preferred radio station you’d like to listen to or offering to charge your device? With him, he’s just there to deliver the service of driving you to your destination and nothing more. If you cannot talk, sidon dey look.

The Obnoxious Driver

While it’s SOMETIMES okay to engage in a conversation bordering on some circumstances, some drivers are insensitive to the limits of conversations with passengers. Like oga it’s okay please. Just small conversation you want to turn it to something else.

The Unprofessional

The ones that forget it’s a service. In his/her mind, he/she is doing you a favour driving you. If not for them where will you be?

Other times he switches into a certain mode based on his passenger. Have you ever had a driver address you professionally as sir or ma over the phone and decides to drop that as soon as he spots how youthful you are and then tries to ride on that along the trip by flouting some rules? Yeah that could be him.

The really interesting convo makers

The ones that give just the type of convos you need for the day; forming a temporary bond as long as the trip goes.

If transportation technology was moving along as fast as microprocessor technology, then the day after tomorrow I would be able to get in a taxi cab and be in Tokyo in 30 seconds.

– W. Daniel Hillis

Have more stories on Cab vs Taxi: The Lagos Experience? We’d love to read from you in the comment section.

The objective of this article is not to hold two business models to identical standards but to give an insightful possibility of the experience of both worlds.

Tips for riding safely

For TNCs, always ensure the details of the driver, the car and the license registration match before starting the journey. You can also require your details from him to ensure he’s truly there to pick you up.

It is good to have an idea of your destination and possible routes to your destination before hailing/ordering a taxi. It can help prevent possible criminal activities like abduction in events of the trip going off course.

It is not advisable to leave personal belongings in a cab with the intent of returning to it.

PS: for TNCs, customer ratings are assigned to both driver and rider to raise standards of both driver and rider, so you want to behave well and not get blacklisted.

PPS: Remember it is a service and should be treated with utmost professionalism and proper taxi etiquette (topic for another day) maintained. The drivers are not your personal drivers.


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