Bidemi and I argued for some 30 minutes. Could choosing to Uber or Taxify (now Bolt) to mention a few, actually be cheaper that owning and driving your own car? Both exhausted after what might’ve been a pointless argument and a potential waste of time, I knew I had to bring it over here to settle it once and for all.
Ride hailing services are all the rage in Nigeria. Hearsay suggests that good ole’ cabs have either had to also register to drive on these platforms or quit being a private car service altogether. Why? The ensued scarcity of business as a result of the entry and take-over of the Estonian and American companies behind the car services.
Is there still beauty in having and driving your own car? In this part of the world, saying that you own a car or just swinging your car keys around so “they” know, does have its own perks. Let’s analyse this in a text-book manner for a sec. I’m going ahead to use the three distinguishing parameters below to compare the loggerheads- ride hailing services vs. privately owned cars.
I’ll tell you which side we were each on at the end of this write-up or just see if you can tell which side I’m on. Lol.
What does convenience mean to you? Personally, it means peace of mind, ease of movement and comfort. Your definition might vary but I think they’ll all eventually overlap. Tabling our contenders;
a. Ride hailing service
- they allow you to go on their app/website, request a ride, wait for your ride and then set out.
- In my experience, when using these services, it is best to request a ride as soon as you know you need it. Sometimes, the wait time doesn’t account for unexpected variables so driver ETA is inaccurately reported and you end up running late.
- When being driven, you can read a book, catch up on work or just take a quick nap(unless you’re a classic Lagos road user who does all whilst driving- which is not safe).
b. Private owned car
- This option nulls the need for an app,
- removes the process of requesting the ride and in some cases,
- reduces the time spent waiting for your ride.
Being Nigerian, you’ll instantly know what I mean when I say “na only God dey protect”. Whether or not you’re driving your car, safety is an issue nonetheless. But before I digress…
a. Ride Hailing Service
In an environment as ours, safety is salient in determining the perceived value of a service. A few stories here and there about passengers being harassed using these services and as expected, a lot of us were thrown into the back and forth on social media(or Twitter dragging). I believe the safety issue here is more pronounced because money is leaving your pocket. Anyone can be harassed or robbed anywhere and at any time. It is the world and times in which we live.
b. Private Owned Car
Are you worried about that street in Yaba that you’re potentially going to have to park at? Your fears are valid. Worse, if you drive a Toyota, you’re automatically at a higher risk of getting your movable car parts stolen. In that moment, you’re probably asking yourself why you didn’t just call a cab.
Looking horizontally, stories of people being robbed in traffic from their private cars in Oshodi have also surfaced here and there. Of course no one is doing anything about it but then you might think that being in a cab will afford you the luxury of outnumbering whoever tries to rob you.
I’m using two sub parameters to compare cost. Fuel consumption and Car maintenance which I believe applies to us all.
a. Fuel Consumption:
I checked the map at 4pm when I was sure there’d be no traffic leaving my office to see the distance and how much it’ll cost to get home. Take a look…
i. Ride hailing service;
Using the median of each range, I’ll potentially spend 2,550 Naira getting home which is just one trip, plus or minus all that’s listed in the caveat.
ii. My Car;
A full tank of petrol(70 Litres )costs me 10,150 Naira. My car is eco friendly so it reduces emission and conserves petrol. I blow through the full tank in 10-12 working days. Assuming 11 days, it means that per day(going to and coming back from work), I’ll spend 922 Naira or 6.4 Litres of petrol/day. That’s 1,628 Naira less than the cost of taking one taxi service in a day! Stark isn’t it? But let’s move on…
b. Car Maintenance:
Your relationship with the ride hailing service is transactional and like all things, it comes to an end. Once you’re out of the car, nothing else about that ride concerns you, except of course the cost of that transaction. But with your own car, every creak, grind and hum concerns and even worries you. The best way to overcome the fear of car noises is to buy a car in good condition- sadly that may be more expensive.
Taking it further back, there is also the cost of buying a car in the first place to consider.
Time for you to do a lil’ assignment(all thing being equal)-
- Use this site to get a sense of how much your preferred car is going for these days,(only sedans)
- Find out the fuel tank size of the car you’re interested in, and multiply that by 145 Naira to know how much a full tank will cost you,
- Find out how far you can go with a full tank so you know the frequency of petrol purchase,
- add 8k for quarterly servicing,
- Total everything and compare this to the cost of taking a ride hailing service to and from work every working day and get back to me.
Are you pleased with the numbers? Chances are you’re not.
Now after all said and done, to be human is to never be satisfied. When you’re in a taxi, you long for the day you get your own car or a better car: When you’re driving, you long for when you can sit comfortably in the “owner’s corner” and be driven. And in those moments, the only thing that matters is to have more money than you do at that moment to realise those wishes. Another angle is to just just call it a day and let them co-exist in near-perfect harmony.
Could ride hailing services be cheaper than owning and driving your own car? Are there other factors you’d add to your own analysis? Or are you interested in getting deeper insights on local transportation stats? Reply to this article at REΛCH or message @reach_hq on Instagram and @findreach on Twitter.
Were you able to figure out which side I was on?