- On Saturday, February 1, 2020, the Lagos state government implemented a ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke).
- The ban, which affects six local governments, left many residents stranded and put motorbike hailing services out of business.
- Gokada, one of the affected ride-hailing companies, has reacted by restrategising.
Following the controversial Lagos Okada ban, Gokada has announced plans to go into delivery and scale boat services.
Announcing the company's plans to Tech Cabal, the CEO, Fahim Saleh said, “We are pivoting to deliveries while transport gets figured out."
He added, “We were always going to do deliveries and had started to develop the tech for it, but this ban accelerated the process.”
During the telephone conversation, Saleh also revealed that a Gokada boat service will launch anytime in February, or “real soon”.
“One 24-passenger boat just came in, and another is sitting at the port waiting to be cleared from customs,” the Gokada CEO said. "In between government approval and getting investors to back us for scale, there is still a lot of work that has to be done in this regard. I want to get hundreds of these boats in the water."
This news comes after reports that the firm had laid off over 50% of its staff just days after the ban.
Addressing the lay-offs, Saleh told Techpoint: “Before the ban, Gokada was making more than N3 million [~$8,300] daily from our drivers. Now, we need to plan for the worst. Our workforce was set up for a transport oriented service and we don’t know the potential challenges in the delivery business. In order to have maximal chances of success, we need to go into ‘cockroach’ mode."
Is boat service the future of transportation in Lagos?
Before this latest development, Gokada had partnered with Lagos Boats to launch GBoat – a ferry transport service.
This joint venture happened in June 2019. That same year, Uber launched its UberBOAT in conjunction with the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).
Not much is known about the status of both projects.