The financial prospects Lagos offers all and sundry have made the city not just the pride of the south-westerners; it is the pride of every Nigerian. Successive governments in the State perpetually address major and dynamic metropolitan challenges facing Lagos, a city that never goes to sleep. This fastest-growing city in the country can stand tall among its peers in terms of security and infrastructure. However, the transportation issue in many parts of Lagos is one of the few challenges demeaning Lagos as a mega-city. The old yellow buses, rickety taxis, and the ‘agbero’ menace are apparent stains on our Lagos.
Raji Fashola, a former governor of the State, introduced Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which significantly eases transportation for the ever-increasing commuting Lagos populace. In an attempt to take it further, the present governor of the State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, plans to launch Lagos Ride tagged ‘LagRide’, a modern e-hailing service in the State. He revealed that Lagos Ride would deploy one thousand units of new SUVs. Each car costs ₦10 million, and drivers will acquire the vehicles through a lease-to-own scheme where drivers will pay back by instalment for four years. The new sky-blue and white cars were seen lined up in convoys in some parts of the city on the 20th of February 2022; this indicates that the project is set to be launched.
This project appears like a double-edged sword. Firstly, as a programme geared towards job creation, one thousand individuals will be employed as drivers of the new taxis. Secondly, it will improve mobility and create a modern transportation system for the commuting populace of Lagos. As applaudable as this scheme appears, one tends to ponder how far into business a government can go. Primarily, government is expected to create an enabling environment for private business runners to thrive. E-hailing brands like Bolts and Uber, among others, are already expanding their operations in the State; they can be supported, regulated and monitored.
A source revealed that a driver that wishes to be part of Lagos Ride would pay a non-refundable fee of ₦17,000 to apply. Successful applicants will then have to pay ₦1.8 million to cover 20% cost of the vehicle, registration, insurance, e-taxi licence and training. The driver will compulsorily remit ₦8,709 daily and still pay 25% on each trip. This payment will continue for 4years, and the driver owns the car afterwards.
These terms around the scheme make it looks more like a business than an empowerment scheme, an individual with a lot of money to play around with can run the venture. A driver who could deposit ₦1.8 million has really empowered himself. As a matter of fact, many people with such an amount of money will prefer to get a good car with the money and register with one of the already available e-hailing platforms than to be subjected to the conditions of LagRide. Moreover, considering the daily amount each driver on LagRide will have to remit, anyone thinking the scheme will offer a cheaper means of commuting around Lagos might be disappointed.
The government’s goodwill to get rid of rickety taxis off Lagos road is not deniable, but private organizations better handle businesses; governments have more serious businesses in supporting and regulating businesses than going into business.
Eko o ni baje o!
Are you interested in becoming a Lagos Ride driver? Click here to view the requirements.
To register as a driver, click here.
Image credit: lagosride.com