Soole: An Indigenous Concept in Urban Transportation

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Commuting in an urban space as Lagos’ should not be stressful as it is presently. Besides the urge to travel anonymous and safe in a taxi, people should also have a choice to determine their means of movement at their own convenience.

This is what Soole is bringing to the roads of Lagos. Soole is a mobile transport apps/application coined from the word, ‘drop’ in Yoruba. Soole dates back a long time ago, as a fast and cheap means of transportation. The major attribute of Soole is that it is affordable and easy to get.

Soole has a place in the history of commuting in Lagos, and it is wholly indigenous. In the good old days, ‘Soole’, meaning drop him/her, was a fast and cheap way to travel and it is preferred by commuters who cannot stand the stress of using the costlier traditional motor parks. It was a battle ‘cry’ between freelance drivers and motor park operators.

Although Soole had a rogue element in the past, but it has now been adopted and reworked to be a safe brand-name by its promoter, Iworld Transit Solutions Limited.

Some of the services under this application includes: Taxi Services; Ride Sharing Services; Charter Services; Shuttle Services; and Ladies Only Ride but there are two major flagship services, Taxi Services and Ride Sharing.

According to Mr. Charles Ojo, the Chief Executive Officer of Iworld Financial Services, parent company of Iworld Transit Solutions Limited, “the two major flagships we are pushing now is the ride sharing and taxi services.”

The underpinning features of our services, he said are: stringent registration and verification process that ensures the safety of both drivers and passengers, affordable pricing model beneficial to both drivers and passengers, efficient feedback and review feature to ensure premium customer experience enabled by our mobile and web application, a dedicated call centre, as well as a full-fledged, back-end office for all-round support, no cash intervention; thereby supporting the cashless policy and ensuring efficient reconciliation and safety of funds. Full support of the local content drive, using fully indigenous human resources.”

Describing the process, Ojo said, after downloading this app on their phones, as drivers, they expect passengers to contact them. A prospective passenger, who has downloaded the app, would impute their destination and the price s/he is willing to pay- there are price options- and if it is alright by the taxi driver closest to the point where the journey begins, then he accepts and seeks his passenger.  Ojo, who had with him the Chief Marketing Officer of Iworld Transit Solutions Limited, Itiola Ikudinakin said, “The beauty about this app is that it is that the prices are stated to give room for negotiable, i.e. choice of bargaining.

The whole process, Ojo said is monitored from their office in Victoria Island, and that the drive is followed by means of their special GPS.

There are different categories under the taxis- the Standard, Deluxe, and the Executives. The Standard taxis are cars without air conditioner but with road worthiness and MOT, just like the regular yellow cabs. The Deluxe are with air conditioners and are car model year of between 2000 and 2009, and the Executives are more of the extreme and recent types of cars.

He said Ride Sharing is introduced to executives and working professionals who do not want drive alone to and from work, explaining “you could get people to ride with you at an affordable amount. This has very stringent conditions, strictly from Monday to Friday.

“To participate in Ride Sharing, you, the interested professional comes on the platform with a recognisable means of identification- driver’s license, National ID or International passport. We get to know where you work, and we run a background check on such professional. The idea is to share the cost of driving i.e. fuel with passengers and also get like-minded people to exchange ideas with.”

Ojo has vast experience in the transport sector in Lagos and Nigeria and this wealth of knowledge gave rise to the unique private project. “We are presently operating in Lagos for now; we will extend our services outside Lagos much later.

“The process is a cashless one as monies are not exchanged from hand to hand rather it is done online. We keep records of each trip and also ensure safety of properties. The driver ends the trip at each destination and we get notified. Every trip is monitored from start to finish,” Ojo said.