In yet another ambitious move to bolster the aesthetics of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the government of Lagos has rolled out 1000 new cars to kick-off Lagos Ride, a ride-hailing service, backed by the government.
On Tuesday evening some of the cars were sported at the Lagos secretariat in Alausa.
What is Lagos Ride?
This is in fulfilment of a series of tweets in March last year, where the governor announced that Lagos has entered into a partnership with GAC motors to deploy 1000 SUVs painted blue and white to be used as taxis in the state, moving further away from the staple yellow and black cars and buses that truly embodies the zeitgeist of Lagos.
This new ride-hailing service is yet another ploy by the APC led government to cater to middle-class Lagosians and present Sanwo-Olu as a governor who gets things done.
“The Lagos Ride Scheme is another innovative policy of our administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transportation system,” the governor tweeted.
But this new endeavour only pushes the leadership further into split-screen as it will drastically alter the lives of working families in the state, who have breadwinners as taxi and danfo bus drivers. Plus the BRT, the government’s alternative is almost 50 per cent more expensive than danfo buses, and the government have done nothing to curtail the extra-long queues that dominate BRT terminals.
On its website, Lagos Ride says to prospective riders that this is a path towards being “better than your neighbour,” adding that riders “will earn more for each shared trip you fulfil.” They also display a review of Lagos Ride on their website that says that this is the path towards “fewer cars on the road by 2025.”
Lagos journey to erradicate public transport
Since the government of Babatunde Raji Fashola, Lagos has been on a mission to eradicate public transport systems that are not endorsed by the government.
It has consistently banned okadas in the traffic gridlock city and elongated the so-called “BRT lane” for Primero, the government-backed public transport provider that is also painted white and blue and has Fola Tinubu, a close relative of former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as its managing director.
That decision made it so that in a city of over 15 million people, a lane at the centre of major highways in the state will only be used by BRT buses.
The government has failed to provide a sustainable and effective alternative to danfo buses or okada or a feasible plan for the jobs that will be lost if it succeeds in eradicating public transport. Many riders of Danfo buses and other means of public transport say that they earn way more than BRT drivers are paid.
Yet the governor said about Lagos Ride that “the scheme is in fulfilment of our desire to give residents better transportation choices.” Though the Lagos state government have said that riders will own the car after a period of time, Techpoint reports that each of the cars costs as high as $26,000, about 11,000,000 Naira, which will take years for riders to pay up.
This is not the first time the Lagos state government is taking this route.
The government has experimented with the Red Cab didn’t succeed due to the lack of maintenance and the high cost of rides. In 2020, Lagos partnered with Nathaniel Gideon and Segun Cole to launch Ekocab which was also didn’t break even.
Will Lagos Ride be successful?
Lagos Ride has only recently started and still lacks popularity among Lagosians and so it is still early to predict if it will be a success or not. That will depend on conveniences, like the cost of the rides and return services which many users of Uber and Bolt depend on for bad rides or false debits.
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