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Tolo, a new ride-hailing platform that enables users to conveniently request motorcycle rides through their mobile devices, has recently launched its services in Addis Ababa. Taking inspiration from Asian decacorns like Gojek and Grab, Tolo aims to provide an affordable means of commuting within Addis Ababa.

The app, currently available for download on Android (Tolo ET), offers prices that are 35 to 40 percent lower than traditional ride-hailing fees in the capital. Tolo has a flag-down fee of 70 birr and a per kilometer fee of 10 birr. Additionally, due to the ability of motorbikes to maneuver through tight spots, Tolo has eliminated waiting time fees from its price calculation, further reducing the cost.

“Tolo is a game changer for the people of Addis Ababa,” expressed Tibebe Solomon, Founder and CEO of Tolo Transport (Tech City Plc).

“We firmly believe that Tolo will establish a secure, dependable, and cost-effective mode of transportation for individuals navigating the city. Our commitment lies in positioning Tolo as the foremost motorbike ride-hailing app in the country and leading the restructuring of the motorbike industry,” Tibebe told Shega.

The frustration caused by traffic congestion is evident for everyday commuters in Addis Ababa. However, understanding its broader implications on cities and the economy is not as straightforward as one might hope. From an economic standpoint, the primary consequence of congestion is the loss of productivity due to increased time spent on commuting rather than engaging in productive work.

Related-Addis Ababa Implements Mandatory Digital IDs for Motorcycles

Tolo, which raised an undisclosed amount of funding from local and international invstors, not only aims to capture the ride-hailing market but also explores other possibilities that motorcycles can unlock in the gig economy.

“We are dedicated to the two-wheeled industry and will be working on a series of feature and product releases that are based on motorcycles. For example, we are working on availing loans to buy motorcycles,” Tibebe, an architecture graduate from Mekele University, told Shega.

It is because of this vision that Tolo has exclusively entered into a deal with the Addis Ababa Motor Bike Owners Association, whose members are among the few motorcycle drivers permitted to carry passengers.

“Our association obtained this permit after a great deal of effort. Currently, we are gearing up to work with Tolo as they bring a lot of potential to our drivers,” Alazar Taye, general manager of Addis Ababa Motor Bike Owners Association, told Shega.

Alazar also highlights that the current motorcycle use case in the capital is very traditional, hindering its growth and widespread adaptability.

Tolo drivers are required to wear branded helmets and jackets, and the company has a strict safety policy. All drivers undergo background checks and have insurance coverage.

“Safety is our utmost priority,” emphasized Ashenafi Gberemeskel, co-founder and COO of Tolo. “We are dedicated to ensuring that our riders and customers feel safe and protected whenever they use Tolo’s services.”

With 400 motorcycle drivers onboarded, Tolo is currently available in select areas of Addis Ababa, such as Tor Hayloch, Ayer Tena, Bethel, Furi, Mexico, and Megenagna. However, the company plans to expand its reach in the coming months.

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