By Alfred Agudiebube
The commercial city of Aba, Abia State after several years of no proper taxi network is beginning to experience something different through an innovation in tricycle business.
The innovation known as “O’Trike/Ride” is a subsidiary of Opay payment platform that enables passengers pay for their ride services through their mobile or web browser which was developed by Opera Software, the maker of Opera Mini.
Opay on its own, support card payments with Mastercard and Visa, as well as transfers from banking apps.
O’trike is an on-demand transportation network for hailing tricycles online like Uber every other ride-hailing platform.
On O’trike, you sign up, set your location your destination, and your (keke) driver will join you.
It has an app also that displays the price of your ride before you hail it using Google map which keeps displaying on your phone as you ride.
Passengers are required to pay with card or online transfer into the Opay company’s account which they’ll later remit to your driver’s Opay account.
Naijawatchdog gathered that O’trike is currently available as an Android application and allows fast, easy, and secure payments and money transfers.
It was also gathered that O’trike does not have its own fleet of tricycles, but works with 3rd-party tricycle owners to come on board by signing up as a driver on the platform — provided their tricycle meets the specified standard.
O’trike as also gathered has already signed with the Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators Association (ASATOA), the body responsible for managing tricycles in Abia and upon registration, every rider is giving free Android phone to use for the purpose.
When our reporter moved into town to verify how the O’trike is finding its fit in Aba, it was gathered that the system is fast becoming acceptable as many now see it as an alternative to the taxi system the commercial city never had.
Mr. Uche, a Keke rider and a registered O’TRIKE member told Naijawatchdog that new system suits him more as he hardly rest in a day.
Uche stressed that the era of sitting and chatting in one garage or park while prospective passengers pass by without knowing what to do is over as he now has willing customers keeping him busy on daily basis.
He said that with O’TRIKE, he’s sure of earning about ₦10, 000 per day and stressed that if not for unforeseen circumstances like breakdown of Keke of weakness of human body, he stands the chance of earning between ₦12,000 – ₦15, 000 on a daily basis.
Uche explained to Naijawatchdog that the company pays them after 24 hours of everyday work, “whatever you earned while working on Monday will be remitted into your Opay account on Tuesday.
“It’s now your duty to transfer it to your own proper bank account which you inserted during your registration.
“The company only collect ₦200 from whatever you earned daily. ₦200 is their own gain everyday, but you’ll work and get tired. As for me, I’m using it. You can see that my phone is as busy as any public office you can imagine.
“It’s very easy. You wake up in the morning, you login to show that you’re available and from their, contacts starts. You don’t charge customers. The price ranges from what the map reads. It’s the map that calculate the distance.
“So, there’s no way Mr. A will pay ₦100 to Ariaria while Mr. B will pay ₦200 from the same location. We usually attend to customers based on the closeness of their immediate location with where we were upon contact.
On the problems he has noticed so far with O’TRIKE, Uche said that the only problem which is not much is the lack of cash.
“You know how life is here. When you work and your money is registering in a machine to be collected tomorrow most riders find it difficult and funny.
“One of the reasons is that of your keke breaks down you’ll repair it while you’re yet to see your efforts physically.
“Again, you still pay police in their usual checkpoint and collection centres with your previous money and you also pay all the daily tickets with your money.
“Like I said, it’s not much of a problem, but it could be for some persons. The truth is that O’TRIKE suits more for people who own their own keke.
“Any body riding of hired purchase will have to renegotiate with the owner about the method of daily returns to be able to get involved in it.
“But truth be told, it has changed my own life as I don’t have to waste precious time talking and arguing about whose turn it is to load and offload.
“Standing stagnant on the sun and waiting for impatient passengers who expect Keke to be filled with human beings before they will arrive is over for me.”
Further investigation shows that all tricycles registered under O’TRIKE now wear the branded banner of the company with many riders now also putting on the lemon colour beep of the company for proper identification.
FROM THE TOWER OF TRUTH