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AN EXAMINATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS EFFECT ON RIDE SOURCING SERVICES. A CASE STUDY OF UBER AND BOLT

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AN EXAMINATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS EFFECT ON RIDE SOURCING SERVICES. A CASE STUDY OF UBER AND BOLT


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Social media has become an integral component of individuals' daily routines. The use of virtual platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Line, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and various others, serves as a manifestation of individuals' inclination and conduct towards diverse forms of social media technologies. The consequences of this phenomenon encompass its utility in various domains, including social, commercial, business, educational, and political spheres (Maghrebi, Abbasi, Rashidi, & Waller, 2015). The utilisation of social media platforms has witnessed a surge in popularity among consumers seeking information and making purchasing choices. Consequently, it has emerged as a very suitable instrument for obtaining customer insights, establishing and nurturing fruitful relationships, as well as responding to instances of service shortcomings. The concept of social media marketing encompasses the use of social media platforms for the purpose of conducting and attaining commercial objectives (Maghrebi, Abbasi, Rashidi, & Waller, 2015).

The primary transport modes in both urban and rural areas of any country, regardless of its level of development, encompass road, rail, air, and water. These modes serve as means of transporting both passengers and freight. Freight transport refers to the transportation of products from their point of origin to their intended destination, whereas passenger travel involves the movement of individuals from one site to another within certain timeframes. Passenger transport can be analysed based on its categorization into two types: public transport and private transport. These classifications are determined by the capacity of the transportation vehicles. Private passenger transport refers to the transportation of individuals using privately owned vehicles, whereas public passenger transport is characterised by government or individual operation of shared or group rides for the general public, typically on a commercial basis (Bosa & Balakrishnan, 2017).

Ride sourcing services have the objective of maximising the utilisation of privately owned vehicles, hence presenting the potential for a reduction in the number of cars on the road, while simultaneously increasing the occupancy rate of each vehicle. According to Borcuch (2016), a single transaction enables the allocation of passengers to a nearby driver, facilitating their transportation to the desired destination. While there has been increased scholarly and transport planning focus on taxi sharing (Ferreira, 2015; He and Shen, 2015), it is important to note that ride sourcing services differ from traditional taxis in that their drivers are typically non-professionals who offer trips on a part-time basis using their own personal automobiles.

Since its inception in 2009 in Nigeria, the ride-hailing industry has witnessed the emergence of prominent players such as Uber, Bolt, and numerous other smaller competitors. Together, these companies have successfully catered to millions of clients, facilitating billions of rides. These entities, commonly known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), utilise mobile technologies to facilitate real-time matching of drivers and riders. In order to deliver their services, these organisations depend on a substantial number of individual drivers, often functioning as independent contractors. According to Afolabi, Musa, and Adeoye (2018), drivers in this context independently obtain their own vehicles, exercise discretion in determining when and where to provide transportation services, and bear the associated risks and costs of running a vehicle.

Numerous scholarly investigations, such as the work conducted by Nam, Kichan, Baker, Ahmad, and Goo (2020), have endeavoured to consolidate the fragmented outcomes of prior research on ridesourcing. The reviews primarily focus on several key topics, including travel behaviours, demand and price, platform operational methods, urban efficiency, substitution for and/or complementing other modes, and traffic externalities. Nevertheless, the comprehensive examination of the social, economic, and environmental ramifications of this service was lacking in the aforementioned review studies. Against this background, this review study seeks to provide an examination of social media and its effect on ride sourcing services using uber and bolt as a case study.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

In the latter part of the first decade of the 21st Century, ride-hailing services commenced their entry into the transportation sector by means of smartphone applications, which facilitated the process of consumers summoning and remunerating drivers who used their personal vehicles. The utilisation of information and communication technologies by these platforms enables the provision of more dependable services to a wider range of places, with reduced waiting periods, and at a comparatively cheaper expense in comparison to conventional taxi services and conceivably even public transportation.

According to Smith (2016), approximately 15% of individuals in the United States currently utilise these services. Furthermore, Clewlow and Mishra (2017) found that the usage rate is even higher in major cities, with an estimated 21% of adults personally engaging with these services. According to Smith (2016), national estimates indicate that the proportion of regular users, defined as individuals who engage in the activity at least once per week, is 3%. Multiple studies have repeatedly demonstrated that individuals who utilise ride-hailing services in contemporary times tend to be young, highly educated, and affluent people residing in metropolitan regions (Smith, 2016; Alemi et al., 2017a; Dias et al., 2017; Clewlow and Mishra, 2017).

The emergence of ride-hailing services in the transportation industry has prompted inquiries on their impact on broader transportation networks, encompassing concerns such as congestion, total vehicle miles travelled (VMT), and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The availability of dependable responses is somewhat restricted due to the rapid growth of private ride-sharing companies and the limited accessibility of publicly accessible data. Nevertheless, a limited amount of research, primarily undertaken in the years 2016 and 2017, has emerged to offer preliminary insights into the effects of these services. This study encompasses data from a population representative survey, a focused survey of ride-hailing users, and measurable data on ride-hailing driver and passenger activity. Furthermore, there has been a surge of interest in the field of automated vehicles, leading to the development of modelling studies that offer valuable insights into the potential impacts of ride-hailing services (Borcuch, 2016).

In contemporary times, individuals utilise various online platforms such as blogs, internet communities, social media, and consumer review systems to gather and distribute product-related information. These platforms serve as the foundation for electronic word of mouth networks, which facilitate the retrieval of information and aid in the decision-making process. The advent of electronic word of mouth has brought about a transformation in the manner in which customers contact and engage with businesses. There has been an observable increase in the frequency and intensity of both positive and negative expressions of sentiment within the e-commerce industry. The topic of customer loyalty has garnered significant interest within the field of marketing, as highlighted by Borcuch (2016). The methodology entails utilising social media platforms as a means of engaging with customers, facilitating the promotion and support of products through digital marketing initiatives, and leveraging electronic word of mouth. Understanding the dimensions that underpin the utilisation of ride-hailing services is crucial due to the significance of sustainability concerns in this domain.

This study aims to review studies on social media and its effect on ride sourcing services using uber and bolt as a case study.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of this study is to examine social media and its effect on ride sourcing services using uber and bolt as a case study. Specifically, this study aims:

i.          To find out whether the advent of social media led to the evolution of ride sourcing services.

ii.        To find out the roles of social media in effective ride sourcing services.

iii.      To find out the benefits of using ride sourcing services.

iv.      To find out the disadvantages of using social media in ride sourcing services

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

i.          Did the advent of social media led to the evolution of ride sourcing services?

ii.        What are the roles of social media in effective ride sourcing services?

iii.      What are the benefits of using ride sourcing services?

iv.      What are the disadvantages of using social media in ride sourcing services?

1.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study aims to assess the effectiveness of  social media as a powerful tool for transportation and economic development, thereby establishing it as one among other economic channels. The ride hailing services in Nigeria employed the utilisation of preexisting trends or patterns in order to generate predictions or projections.

Finally, this study will serve as an existing material for further studies and future reference.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study primarily focuses on social media and its effect on ride sourcing services using uber and bolt as a case study. Specifically, the study focuses on finding out whether the advent of social media led to the evolution of ride sourcing services, finding out the roles of social media in effective ride sourcing services, finding out the benefits of using ride sourcing services and finding out the disadvantages of using social media in ride sourcing services.

Selected residents of Abuja will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.

1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Ride sourcing: the activity of asking for a car and driver to come immediately and take you somewhere, or a service that lets you do this.

Social media platforms: A social networking service or SNS is a type of online social media platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career content, interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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