The Lagos State Government has unveiled a new taxi system, saying that the initiative will end the present haphazard taxi operations that had contributed to insecurity of life and property in the state.
The state government put the market value of commercial taxi operations in the state at a whopping sum of N20 billion, which it said, would boost its tourism industry with the new taxi operational mechanism in place to bring order to the system.
Governor Babatunde Fashola, alongside the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa and President of Lagos State Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators Association, Mr. Tajudeen Adetoro among other stakeholders, inaugurated the new tax regime.
Fashola explained the advantage of the new taxi system, noting that aside from its potentials to address security challenges associated with taxi operations in the state, the new system “has great economic advantage.”
He added that the state government had approved the flat rate for the cost of the new taxi license, which he said, had been issued free of charge for 14,000 operators comprising those who had been operating with unpainted vehicles, though the license cost about N100,000 per head.
The governor said the new system would bring dignity to taxi operation and eradicate impression that taxi jobs “are for the dropouts or the dejected in the society,” arguing that it was purely a business for core professionals.
According to him, the state government designed the new system to enable taxi operators create wealth; build well-regulated operational environment and provide insurance coverage for both commuters and operators.
“The state government is giving the taxi operators business they can pass to the next generation. The licence can be sold, transferred, leased and used as collateral security to obtain credit facilities from banks,” he said.
He also explained that the new regime would guarantee consumer protection, even as he noted that the system “offers insurance coverage for passengers and operators. So, it protects the interests of passengers much better.”
The governor equally said the system had helped the state build a robust database for all taxi operators in the state, thereby putting the total number of 12,617 taxi drivers and 10,882 taxi cabs currently operating legitimately in the state.
He enjoined the taxi operators that there should not be illegal taxi operators in the state roads again, citing security implications and economic sabotage illegal taxi operations could bring upon the state and its residents if allowed.
He explained that the state’s taxi business “has a market value ranging between N20 billion and N28 billion. Already, improper regulation is affecting the state’s tourism industry. Without good transport system, Lagos will not be tourist destination of our dream. That is why we are building strategic infrastructure.”
Fashola revealed that the government had approved any vehicle not above 12 years from the date of manufacturing “will be allowed for taxi operation in the state.
According to the state chief executive, it is not really the age of vehicles that matters. The real issue has to do with maintenance of the vehicles deployed for taxi operations.