Metro Africa Express (MAX) is on a mission to make mobility safe, affordable, and accessible to Africans. Their on-demand motorcycle ride-hailing service, MAX Okada connects people to professional motorcycle riders called Champions in real time for transport or delivery needs in the city of Lagos.
MAX Okada recently introduced Street Hail, a feature that lets commuters flag down MAX champions on the road for a ride without using the MAX app.
“Over the last few weeks, we have redesigned and optimized our dispatch system — that pairs ride or delivery requests to available champions — to curb connectivity issues, add features, and improve the overall reliability of the system; but one important problem we’ve tried to address is Offline.” Akinmade Bond, a software engineer at MAX said.
Akinmade further said that since the launch of MAX Okada, they noticed a trend of offline rides: rides where the champion picks up someone who didn’t initiate a request using the MAX Okada mobile app. They began tracking those rides using spreadsheets which contained data from the feedback form the MAX champions were requested to fill whenever they take offline rides.
Metro Africa Xpress knew that they had to cater for those who would prefer to just flag down a motorcycle on the road instead of using the MAX Okada app to initiate the request. Some commuters might not know that they can request the MAX Okada service with an app or they might have no internet connection.
Another solution MAX employed around January 2018 involved champions also installing the consumer app on their phone and initiating a request that in ideal scenarios should be assigned to the champion that initiated the request. This was fraught with context switching, and in some cases, the request ended up being assigned to a different champion because of the limitations of their old dispatch system.
With this in mind, MAX developed Street Hail
Here is how MAX Street hail works :
– If you see a MAX champion on the road, simply flag him down
– Tell him where you are going to
– The MAX champions then initiate a ride request with their champion app and give you an estimate
– The MAX champion starts the trip.
This is similar to how regular motorcycles are hailed, but with MAX, you get an estimate and fair pricing, a helmet, and a hairnet.
MAX’s approach to street hail is simple, they need only the destination of the trip to give an estimate and once there’s an agreement, the champion initiates the request and it is routed from the server to his app.