Lagos State Government Wednesday launched LagosRide, a ride-hailing service that the government said will allow operators to become owners of brand new vehicles acquired for the service within four years.
The new service is a partnership between Lagos State-owned Ibile Holdings and CIG Motors Company Limited, which the state governor said will help in the drive to develop an efficient transportation model in tune with modernity and comfort.
“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,” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said.
Sanwo-Olu said the state did not intend to run existing hailing ride operators out of the business but to offer safer alternatives and clear the roads of rickety cars being used for taxi business.
Operators are required to pay about N1.9 million down payment, which 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 state government said.
“This taxi scheme will complement the various bus services which are making a significant impact in the lives of our people; the water transport service, which is recording unprecedented patronage, as well as the Blue and Red Line Rail services which are on course to commence commercial operations between the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2023,” Sanwo-Olu said.
To improve riders’ and passengers’ security, Sanwo-Olu said a full security gadget, including a 360 dashboard camera that will give 24-hour audio-visual feeds to the control centre, had been pre-installed in each car deployed for the scheme.
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.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the automobile assembly plant being set up in Lagos – another component of the partnership between CIG Motors’ and the State Government – stood at 60 per cent completion, with anticipated launch and start of operations expected in September.
He said: “What we are witnessing today is that Lagos is moving away from the era of rickety kabu kabu to brand-new, comfortable and safe transport system. The multiplier effect of this singular initiative on job creation, youth employment and economic growth and development in the State cannot be overstated.”
Commissioners for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, 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.
To make the rides affordable, Oladeinde said the technology on which the scheme is operated had made ride-sharing possible for passengers, who would agree to share ride and share transit costs.
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.
He said: “As part of the process each operator will go through for the safety and security of life and effective operations of the scheme, we will conduct full verification of applicants’ Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) ID cards, medical history, background check and verification of NIN and Lagos resident registration numbers.”
The launch of the taxi scheme was received with a warm embrace by ride-hailing drivers, who described the initiative as “unique, better alternative”.
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 the 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.”