Taxis go Hi-tech

taxi“Ghanaians spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. Most of us understand just how frustrating that can be, but my new initiative in Ghana is making the gridlock just a little more bearable.”

These were the words of a Ghana-based Nigerian businessman, Victor Odepoju, who has kick start an internet-enabled-taxi cab business in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

According to Victor the idea to run a wifi-enabled-taxi cab business was to give the taxi cab business in Ghana a new facelift and keep passengers connected to the internet even as they spend several hours in traffic.

Explaining how he conceived the innovative idea to The al-hAJJ in an exclusive interview, Mr Adepoju noted “I have listen to folks complained about leaving their valuables in anonymous taxis and whenever they called the drivers insults them so I thought about it and decided to do something that will make the customers feel secure and comfortable”.

He added that “…also charges by taxis these days are quite unbearable so I have decided to make my services affordable. Then looking at the traffic in town; seeing passengers bored in the taxis I decided to add free wifi in addition to refreshment.”

The taxi-cab driver stated that he commenced business in Ghana with a Ford Fist 2012 model in June, but one of his customers “was impressed with my idea and decided to add one of his car to it for the same business. So now we have two cars we are using as taxis and both are wifi-enabled.”

“I was at Honey Suckle, a restaurant at Osu, picking clients and a man spotted the cab and he approached me…so he said he likes what I am doing that he had a car in his compound that he is not using. So he decided to invest it. I beg him to paint it yellow because that is how I painted the Ford I am using and he agreed,” he explained.

Giving insight into how he treats his customers, Mr Adepoju said “I added the free wifi so that when there is traffic customers can browse and not get bored. I also allow customers to choose their choice of music. I have a complimentary card which bears the wifi name and password at the back. I got the idea of adding the password to the business card because when I am driving customers ask me and distract my driving focus so I decided to give them card when they are on board.”

“Currently I use surfline. So when you’re on board I ask you, please sir, do you care for free wifi to browse? I beg customers not to download and so far they have complied. I am using surfline but busy 4 G approached me recently that they want to take over. They promised to give us the wifi while they put a sticker on our cabs but we are yet to conclude that contract,” he explained.

Unlike the high charges of other taxi cabs in the capital, Mr Adepoju, who said he had to work as security officer “watchman” for several years to save money for his cab business, said his charges are affordable such that he accepts as low as GHC10 irrespective of the distant.

“When I meet you as a customer and I charge you, for instance, for GHC20 and you tell me you can pay GHC10 I don’t ignore you I pick you. And this practice has really helped me because they keep recommending me to other customers. Just two days ago I drove all the way from Spintex to Dansoman to pick a tertiary student back to Accra mall. She gave me GHC20. And now she has recommended me to two people who pays better,” he noted.

Despite his affordable charges, Mr Adepoju who holds a Bachelor of Theology degree, said “business is booming to the extent that we have registered a company, BFCABSERVICE, and we also have a website were customers could log on and book for our services online. Last month I save GHC2000 and I am hoping to buy a new Ford by the end of the year because our client base is gradually expanding.”

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