Nigerian car and bus manufacturer, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. (IVM) reveals plans to launch a bus-hailing service in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria in the first week of October. The company also revealed plans to expand to other states in Eastern Nigeria including Owerri by adding 4,800 vehicles to its existing fleet within one year of launching IVM Connect.
Called IVM Connect, the service will turn out to be one of IVM’s CSR effort to provide job opportunities for residents of the state.
Cornel Osigwe, IVM’s head of Corporate Communications, informs Techpoint Africa that this was necessary at this period to address the challenge of inadequate transport services in the state.
According to him, the company already has a fleet of 200 branded hatchback cars — products of its manufacturing plant in Nnewi, Anambra state– available to launch with in the first week of October.
For the ease of meeting the requirements expected from drivers, IVM is partnering with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for the purpose of recruitment, training, and issuing necessary licenses to qualified drivers. But that’s not the only partnership involved in this project.
To ensure proper driver onboarding, IVM outsourced drivers’ registration and selection processes to a job recruitment company. While the company has created a web portal on the website for this purpose, it is also developing a mobile app named IVMCruise.
However, the company is deliberate about the requisites for interested drivers. The lowest level of accepted academic qualification is OND, Osigwe puts it to how the drivers have to be tech-inclined. In addition to this, they must own a smartphone, be a resident of Enugu and be ready to pay back for the vehicle within two years.
While the commission model is still in the works, Osigwe affirms that the vehicles will be given out on hired-purchase basis and the drivers will become owners of the asset after payment completion. However, to ensure proper payment tracking, cash-based trips will be discouraged.
To probably avoid the kind of regulatory challenges faced by ride-hailing firms in Lagos state, Innoson claims to carry the state government along.
“We are in talks with necessary agencies of government concerning the situation of the project. But for now, we cannot give out the details of the discussions,” Osigwe explains.
Upon launch, IVM Connect will join the few Nigerian founded ride-hailing services available in the country to compete with popular ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify).