A reflection on the PMR of public transport users in Nigerian cities
The first week of IFA as a fellow for the January 2021 batch just ended but with a task to do over the weekend based on my learnings so far. In the course of the week, we were divided into several hackathon groups (create innovative solutions to problems) to conduct a Primary Market Research (PMR) on different problem statements. I happen to be in the hackathon group collaborating on PMR in the transportation sector.
Before doing anything, we decided to apply the design thinking approach which is an iterative process that tests your creativity and involves you thinking critically to solve problems. This iterative process can be divided into five stages; empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test stage.
Starting from the "Empathize" process, we considered several problem statements in this sector and then agreed on a common one:
Majority of persons who commute by public buses experiences inconvenience, discomfort, loss of properties, accidents and are abused most times by the drivers who lack good customer relationship, all these with uncoordinated stops and no fixed price for transportation.
We then deliberated on challenges facing users of public transport in densely populated parts of the country. These challenges range from inconveniences, discomfort, and many more. To understand the problems from a user perspective and eliminate assumptions, we talked to students, employees and market women about how they go about their commuting, how effective it was, the challenges they face and some of them shared their hack to get over those challenges.
My interviews were mainly through calls and I interviewed a total of three people. I started by talking about transportation and how it is different in different states and the underappreciated the role it plays in daily life. I asked them about what their daily experiences look like, if they like taking public transport to their destinations, if they have had an accident travelling by road and if they have been abused by a driver. We also talked about the downside of public transport, how it affects them, and what they feel should be done about it.
From the interviews, I gathered that one of the problems faced when using public transport were understandable and would be reduced or eliminated if there were proper measures taken for the safety of users. One of my interviewees talked about how she was insulted by a "bus conductor" over fare price and that she was hit by a "keke" driver who was passing by over the argument. Many other interviewees talked about their displeasure in the transport system, especially in traffic-congested areas.
On a final note, I discovered different angles of customer behaviours in the daily use of transportation which has made me understand the very much better.