Taxify has launched operations in two Nigerias cities,

The company said the launching was in response to requests from passengers and drivers.

In this interview, Uche Okafor, Taxify’s Nigeria Country Manager, discussed the company’s expansion motive, criteria for drivers and how the company intends to break into transportation markets in the two cities with Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ibadan is the most populous city of Oyo State, Southwestern Nigeria while Owerri is the capital of Imo State, set in the heart of Igboland, the Southeast.

Business Insider SSA (BISSA): How do you think Taxify can break into transportation markets in both cities considering the Nissan Micra in Ibadan and the government-owned Taximo in Owerri?

Uche Okafor: Ibadan is a modern city with a thriving youth and student population. While it is true that there is a current transportation mode that has been prevalent in the city, it is also true that Oyo state is third on the list of tech-savvy Nigerian states with the highest internet penetration, so an app-based transportation model is something that we expect the city will take to very easily.

Additionally, given the city’s geographical proximity to Lagos, there are already a lot of people in Ibadan who are very familiar with the ride-hailing model in general and Taxify in particular.

Hardly a week goes by without us receiving a request from someone in the city asking when Taxify would be introduced into the market. Ibadan residents deserve comfortable, safe, reliable and affordable rides and we are entering into the market to introduce a new way for the city to move.

For Owerri i, the city boasts a vibrant student population, nightlife and is one of the entertainment hubs of the East. Already, the market is excited about experiencing safe, reliable and affordable rides as they go about town.

Owerri is also a high traffic city so one of our key selling points - offering comfortable rides on the go and getting people to realize what more they can get done with their commute times- will resonate greatly with the city.

BISSA: Why Ibadan and Owerri at this time?

The two cities are natural next step for Taxify. Already, we’re present in Lagos and Abuja and Ibadan is close to these cities in terms of the population size, the concentration of Universities and the general tech-savviness of the city.

We’re not only planning to offer safe, reliable and affordable rides in the city, our business model also enables us to create employment opportunities for the thousands of unemployed and underemployed people who desire a flexible way to earn money and convert their vehicles into a business venture.

BISSA: Considering Ibadan closeness to Lagos, do you think this is an avenue to launch interstate ride?

Uche: This is something that we could consider in the future but there are no current plans for this.

BISSA: Is there going to be a new set of criteria for drivers in Ibadan compared to Lagos and Abuja?

Uche: Our eligibility requirements remain the same. To join Taxify, drivers will need a vehicle, a valid Nigerian driver’s license, an Android or iOS smartphone with GPS, and to undergo an onboarding/training program. Vehicles must be no older than 15 years and have to be four-door cars that pass a safety inspection.

The interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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