Ekocab, a recent car-hailing service in Lagos, in partnership with the Lagos State government and the Lagos State Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators Association, has made its entrance in a somewhat controversial period.
Controversial because, a month before its emergence, the Lagos State government had placed a ban on motorcycles, (also known as okada) and tricycle, (also known as keke napep) and reeled out proposed regulations for other ride-hailing services, like Uber and Bolt, (Taxify).
The idea behind the Lagos Ekocab is to bring back the prominence of the yellow taxis that have existed, long before mobile hailing services made their entrance into the market.
With the dynamic prices that services, like Uber and Bolt have offered, it is no surprise that the traditional taxis have been relegated to the background.
This is, of course, in addition to the ease, in booking a ride and the availability of drivers, aided by technology, regardless of the area a person is hailing a ride from.
Ekocab’s partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, as well as features like a dashboard with regulators that could help track commuter traffic patterns and solve traffic-related problems, also, shows how much traditional taxis are lagging behind.
Segun Cole, CEO, Ekocab, stated that the cabs are fitted with mobility data, which will help to make information about the drivers whereabouts at ant point in time, to the government.
This is definitely a plus, as Lagosians are in need of efforts that will ensure a decrease in the in road congestion.
Ekocab is, also, set to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers, a ride-hailing service issue that has been left unresolved.
While citizens have expressed concerns, over the entrance of the app, citing problems/errors in registration, the lack of a functional website and social media presence, and how Ekocab could be a cover to enable the Lagos State government totally control the transport system, there are other matters of concern to consider.
Is Ekocab Making a Difference?
While we wait for time to try the new ride-hailing service, we should consider matters bordering on license fee and registration.
As much as the idea gives a new look and feel to yellow taxis, it is still a ride-hailing service like Bolt and Uber.
With talks of registration and annual renewal fees, considering that Ekocab is in partnership with the State government, will there be an exemption for them?
With Cole mentioning that private cabs will be included, as well as about 1000 vehicles, an exemption would mean that the speculation – that Ekocab is a cover for the State government to totally control the transport system in Lagos – would be given credibility.
How do additional vehicles actively ensure a decrease in traffic?
Following the ban of okadas and kekes, more than a few Nigerians commented on how these were means to ease traffic, so, asides from providing traffic patterns among others, how will more vehicles on the road, help decongestion?
Normally, yellow taxis are known to be mostly driven, by middle-aged and older men, but Cole has stated that the focus is not on every taxi driver. The young, middle aged and internet savvy drivers are the focus.
With the exclusion of more than a few taxi drivers, how valid is the mission to ensure that thousands of yellow cabs compete with similar services?
Traditional taxis thrive on trust. Turning in these cabs for ride-hailing services, would rid them of the trust that have always been associated with them.
In spite of these concerns and while we wait to see how time tries them, there are more than one reason to applaud the start-up.
Featured Image: lailasnews
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