Five months after the Lagos State government launched 1,000 brand new cars for its taxi scheme tagged ’Lagride’, residents are yet to see the impact as rickety vehicles still dot the metropolis.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the official launch of Lagride on March 11, stated that the era of using rickety vehicles and popular commercial buses known as ‘danfo’ for transportation in Lagos would soon come to an end.
According to him, Lagos is already moving from the era of rickety vehicles used for transportation to that of safe modern vehicles
The governor stated that the scheme would create jobs, accelerate socio-economic growth and further put the state on the global map as the Centre of Excellence and a modern megacity committed to sustainable development.
“The scheme is in fulfillment of our desire to give residents better transportation choices in line with multimodal transport systems, which key to our THEMES Agenda,’ he stated.
The governor called on private organizations and individuals to join hands to increase the number of vehicles for the scheme.
He disclosed that all the drivers that would be engaged in the scheme would be given android phones loaded with various apps to facilitate effective operation.
The governor also said the vehicles are meant for people who need empowerment, people who cannot afford to buy new vehicles, so it is not about profit.
But Lagosians are worried that rickety buses are still on the roads, while most of the Lagride vehicles are parked at Oshodi Interchange car park.
They also questioned the ‘empowerment scheme’ tag of the scheme, given the monetary requirement, down payment, and daily deductions, from the beneficiaries.
A resident, Babatunde Owan, attributed the non-use of the vehicles to the tedious conditions attached to getting them.
According to him, many willing residents could not access the service because they could not meet the conditions.
The Guardian learned that the process of application is into two phases, prequalification, and onboarding. Under the prequalification phase, applicants are required to provide accurate information in the registration form on the sign-up page as well as a non-refundable fee of N17,000.
Successful candidates from the prequalification stage will go on to complete the onboarding process, which comprises the following: structured training from Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) on soft skills, first aid, and the state ride driver app training.
After the successful completion of this stage, a car and a mobile device will be assigned to the driver. The driver will be required to pay the sum of N1, 845,500 as a down payment.
This sum covers 20 percent equity of the cost of vehicle registration and insurance, advance rent payment on Dashcam for a month, first aid kit LASG E-Taxi license, and soft skill training.
All trip fares are expected to be remitted electronically via the Lagos ride platform. Where a rider is carrying physical cash, you will be required to credit the equivalent sum in value to the wallet of the driver.
The vehicles will remain the property of Ibile Holdings till the full payment is made, while title and ownership will only be completely transferred to the driver upon complete payment of all outstanding obligations.
Also, the drivers are required to service their debts using daily fares for the first two years. After successfully clearing the debt and being out of the obligation, they may take full ownership. No outright payment shall be honored in the first two years.
Maintenance and all insurance considerations are also to be executed on behalf of the drivers. Drivers will be required to comply with all maintenance service schedules or calls for maintenance, while non-compliance will attract a penalty.
Residents said these conditions appear to be a disincentive for prospective off-takers. A resident, Adeola Okeho, complained that long parking of the vehicles will negatively affect the quality of the vehicles, while the global insurance policy will continue to run at the instance of the government.
According to Okeho, the government should find a way to reduce the initial deposit and conditions attached to off-takers, who are finding it hard to meet up with the requirement. He lamented that the impact of the launch of Lagarde has not been felt as only a few of the vehicles are on the road with many rickety vehicles still plying.
The commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, whose ministry coordinates the project, could not be held to account as he refused to pick up his calls or respond to messages sent to his telephone number.
But the Commissioner of Information, Gbenga Omotoso, said the vehicles are being released in batches, with security gadgets being fixed on them to ensure that they are in safe hands.
The commissioner, who said Lagosians should expect more of the vehicles on the road, expressed commitment to gradual phasing out of rickety vehicles in the system.
Giving assurance that no politics will be played in releasing the vehicles, he said: “This is a Lagos State government project and it’s not for politics in any way, it’s for people to get empowered and for government to clean up that sector, to give out vehicles Lagosians deserve, which are, comfortable, clean, safe and secured. So, it’s not something that is going into the hands of politicians and that is why to get one, you have to belong to a cooperative.
“If we allow individuals to just come and begin to take the vehicles as they like, somebody can just go and buy almost everything. So, the aim is not just to make money, it is to ensure that Lagosians ride in very clean, comfortable, safe, and secure vehicles.
“ We went to the GAC factory, where the vehicles are being assembled so that our people will not just be buyers, but also have the opportunity to improve their skills and opportunity to get employment.”
Source: The Guardian