A safe, comfortable and modernised taxi scheme has taken off in Lagos State, with the rollout of the first batch of 1,000 brand-new GAC-branded automobiles by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday.
The scheme, codenamed “LAGOS RIDE”, was launched at a well-attended ceremony held at the State House in Alausa.
The ride hailing taxi initiative, which is being operated on a lease-to-own basis, is a component of the State Government’s multimodal transportation blueprint being executed under the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of the THEMES agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.
A Statement by the Chief Press Secretay to the Governor said the initiative is a partnership between Lagos State-owned IBILE Holding Limited and CIG Motors Company Limited, with the objective to provide clean and reliable means of taxis movement across the metropolis at affordable cost, using brand-new vehicles.
Operators are required to pay about N1.9 million down payment, of which the sum covers the 20 per cent equity of cost of vehicle, registration and insurance. Each car being used in the scheme comes with technology-enabled security features that monitor every journey undertaken.
The Governor said the aim was not to run existing hailing ride operators out of the business, but to offer safer alternative and clear the roads of rickety cars being used for taxi business. The scheme, he said, will provide opportunities to the operators to become owners of the vehicles within three to four years period.
He said: “The need to provide better, dignifying and more rewarding means of transportation and livelihood for unemployed and underemployed population gave birth to the new ‘Lagos State Taxi Scheme’, which will be operated on a lease-to-own basis. Under this arrangement, a beneficiary will be provided a brand-new car which will become the driver’s property after completion of the payment of the vehicle’s subsidised cost.
He added that each car came with a physical panic button that could be used by anyone on board in case of assault or emergency. The panic button, the Governor said, is also on the mobile application and is connected to the Control and Command Centre.
Commissioners for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the scheme as “another milestone achievement” by the State Government, noting that the initiative had joined an array of other innovative solutions initiated in the transport sector, which were targeted at redefining public transportation.
Chairman of CIG Motors in Nigeria, Mrs. Diana Chang, said the roadmap for the urbanisation of the transportation system in Lagos started in November 2019 when the Governor and members of his cabinet visited the Republic of China for bilateral partnership. The launch, she said, is the glorious end of the partnership sealed with Chinese investors.
“We are using this partnership to promote a Greater Lagos where opportunities abound for citizens of the State, while creating a win-win model for all stakeholders,” she said.
Managing Director of IBILE Holding, Mr. Abiodun Amokomowo, said over 5,700 drivers had downloaded the driver’s mobile apps as at last Tuesday, out of which 1,786 drivers submitted applications.
Registration and enrolment fee has been accepted from 359 drivers, while others were awaiting screening, Amokomowo said.
Sam Mfuk, who is the first successful driver to get onboard of the scheme, said: “When we first heard about LAGOS RIDE, we were sceptical. But, when we attended the stakeholders’ meetings, we changed our minds. LAGOS RIDE has become the answer to our prayers in ride hailing sector. The details and features they shared with us were clearly thought out and our input was well included in the final model.”