After months of hounding Uber and Bolt drivers and generally disrupting the transport sector in the state, the Lagos state government, quite unsurprisingly, has partnered with a e-hailing startup Ekocab to launch e-hailing platform for yellow taxis.
The Ekocab platform will serve as a taxi-hailing service that will connect regular yellow taxi drivers and private car owners with commuters using the platform.
A difficult year for e-hailing platforms
The new year hasn’t been a happy one for e-hailing startups in Lagos. In February, the Lagos state government disrupted the services of bike-hailing startups like ORide and Gokada in the state by banning them from operating in major parts of the state.
Weeks later, the government launched an unexpected crackdown on taxi-hailing startups like Uber and Bolt in the state. According to the government, the drivers of the ride-hailing startups didn’t have the required hackney permit, Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) certification among others.
Recently, we reported that Lagos state was making moves to regulate taxi-hailing startups. The new regulation would see them start paying over N10 million naira in licensing fees to the state government as well as other charges which Nigerians have described as exorbitant.
Ekocab Nigeria leveraging on government collaboration
Despite the recent regulatory unpredictability that sprouted in the state, Ekocab has partnered with the Lagos State Taxi and Cab Operators Association. The e-hailing company which was founded in 2017 plans to onboard thousands of yellow commercial taxies on its platform.
Speaking about its operations, co-founder of Ekocab Nigeria, Segun Cole, elaborated that not only taxi drivers but also private car owners will be onboarded. He added that the drivers will be given proper training and proper documentation as required by the government.
Similar to other e-hailing platforms, the Ekocab hailing platform will connect drivers to commuters who need rides via the Ekocab app.
According to Cole, the platform currently has about 500 drivers who were issued smartphones during their training and orientation sessions. He also revealed that they are in talks with the government and banks to provide loans for 1000 new vehicles.
Ekocab charges 15% commission per ride
Ekocab will charge a 15% commission per trip from both yellow taxis and private cars onboarded on the platform via the app. This is significantly lower than Uber which charges between 20-30%.
The cost of each Ekocab ride is based on the base fare, the distance of the trip and total travel time. Users can pay for trips through the apps on their smartphones.
However, Cole pointed out that the platform will be leveraging on a negotiable pricing model with thresholds of trip fares.
Reaping the benefits of regulatory engagement?
The current development in the Lagos transport sector has highlighted the importance of startups working with regulators, even if their products are market disrupters.
The partnership between the Lagos government and Ekocab could mean that the platform can reap the apparent benefit of the vacuum created by the recent disruption in the sector by the state government.
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