Lagos Consolidates Rebranding Efforts As Sanwo-Olu Rolls 1,000 Tech-Driven Taxis
By Ganiyat Ganiyu
Since he took over as Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has spoken extensively on plans to take destination branding in Lagos to a higher level. The Lagos railway project, the support for the Lagos City marathon, and Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) were all parts of this effort to take the branding of Lagos Maga City to the next level.
This week, another feather was added to this cap when Governor Sanwo-Olu, last Wednesday, rolled out the first batch of 1,000 tech-driven taxis for the megacity. According to the governor, the tech taxis will consolidate the position of Lagos State as a smart city, and address the deficiency in commuting for the over 20 million residents of the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, during the launch at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja, said that the initiative was to promote a safer, convenient, and effective mobility system across the state.
The scheme, “LAG RIDE”, which is being operated on a lease-to-own basis, is a component of the State Government’s multimodal transportation blueprint being executed under the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of the THEMES agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.
The initiative is a partnership between Lagos State-owned IBILE Holding Limited and CIG Motors Company Limited, with the objective to provide clean and reliable means of taxis movement across the metropolis at affordable cost, using brand-new vehicles.
Operators of the taxis are required to pay about N1.9 million down payment, of which the sum covers the 20 percent 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.
Sanwo-Olu, while launching the scheme, said the State had moved another step forward in its drive to develop an efficient transportation model in tune with modernity and comfort.
The Governor said the aim was not 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. The scheme, he said, will provide opportunities to the operators to become owners of the vehicles within a three to four years period.
He said: “The need to provide better, dignifying and more rewarding means of transportation and livelihood for unemployed and underemployed population gave birth to the new ‘Lagos State Taxi Scheme’, which will be operated on a lease-to-own basis. Under this arrangement, 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.
“This taxi scheme will complement the various bus services which are making 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.”
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 on 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 percent completion, with anticipated launch and start of operations expected in September.
Recall that the State Government had in 2021 reiterated plans on achieving an integrated intermodal transportation system. Intermodal transport is regarded as an easier and more efficient way to navigate the city by combining different transportation modes including road, rail, and water.
A major transportation project, the Lagos light rail that dragged for decades finally came to life when Governor Sanwo-Olu in April 2021, flagged off the construction of the 37km Red Rail Line linking Agbado to Marina.
The Red Line is expected to move its first passengers in the fourth quarter of 2022, as the state works towards bringing the first phase of the 27km Blue Line linking Okokomiko to Marina to passenger operation also in 2022. The trains are Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) which are emissions-free.