Ghana is yet to get the perfect transportation app, well-suited to the local nuances of our transportation system.
While we have seen ‘brave’ multinationals like Easy-Taxi try but fail, none of the transportation apps have been able to successfully inculcate the complexities of Ghana’s transportation system into the solutions of their apps.
Which is why the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly launched the Trotro App Challenge, geared towards finding a tech-based solution to the difficulties in getting suitable, cheap and convenient transportation around town.
After a rigorous hacker-thon and intense selection process, a winning product emerged, developed by local Start-up Mo’Go- a derivative from the phrase, Make We Go.
Mest and the AMA found Mo’Go solution as the best to have considered all the transportation possibilities and the best ways to efficiently coordinate them for the greater satisfaction of the commuter.
Co-Founder and CEO of Mo’Go, Ray Fifii Nkum and his team were given a day to use data provided by the AMA about the monthly schedules of public buses along major routes in Accra, to build an app that will facilitate transportation.
“We went there over two days, we didn’t sleep. We stayed there and hacked through the process and came up with the solution-Mo’Go.”
Ray and his team won the contest because their team was seen to have provided the most comprehensive transportation solution for all forms of public and private transport available.
“We came out with a solution that built upon what we already had, that offered schedules for trotros, taxis and private users as well. This is why we were selected as the best”.
Mo’Go has succinctly demonstrated that a proper understanding of the situation tremendously helps in solving it.
However, the 30% of commuters who use private cars and taxis occupy 70% of the road. Mo’Go’s solution brilliantly finds a way to even out the demand on these three forms of transportation in order to reduce congestion on the streets, thereby easing the traffic.
“There is no quota for how much of each type of transport we must have on the road at a particular time. What we have succeeded in doing is to make it possible for the AMA to know the magnitude of demand for transport at a particular time, the routes they take, and how to properly manage that demand in real-time.”
Again a poor understanding of logistical bottle-necks like pricing, proximity to the customer and poor targeting of drivers caused Easy Taxi’s demise in Ghana.
The solutions that may work in South Africa or Kenya may not necessarily work in Ghana because the local nuances and logistics are different.
Easy Taxi for example, failed to win over the key umbrella-bodies who run the taxi cooperatives. Instead they targeted individual taxi drivers, and failed to get the consensus a cooperative body could have provided them, something that Mo’Go has recognized and has strategized for.
“One of the major challenges was getting the price right. We needed to find this sweet spot where the price is good enough for the driver and good enough for the passenger. So we went through a couple of APIs where we asked drivers to give us average prices for certain destinations, so that both parties will clearly see what the price of the trip is even the ride is booked.”
Another impressive feature about the Mo’Go app is the ride-sharing feature which allows private car owners who are willing to share the ride from one destination to the other, get safe individuals to do that with, and make some quick money in the process.
“Ride sharing is basically being able to share their rides with other private individuals. Apart from cutting the cost of driving an empty car from home to work, ride-sharing creates networking opportunities for individuals.”
Mo’Go’s ability to effectively rope in the nuances and specific complexities of Ghana’s transportation challenges in their technological enhancement of the daily commute makes a case for the need for local tech solutions to some of Ghana’s primary challenges.
It is because of this superior understanding of the transportation system that Ray Nkum believes that Mo’Go will thrive over their big-bucks competitors Uber, and will ensure that they succeed where the likes of Easy Taxi failed.
By August when Mo’Go fully hits the market, Ghanaians will experience the refreshing, cost-effective and safe solution it offers.