The federal government ought to develop a framework for efficient regulation as an alternative of an outright ban
The disaster that adopted the ban of business bikes and tricycles in some key native authorities and improvement areas in Lagos State is sort of unlucky. But when in 2016 the then Governor Akinwunmi Ambode first mooted the concept of inserting a complete ban on the usage of these means of business transportation within the state, we raised sure pertinent questions that stay unanswered: What are the options for the operators? Will a lot of them not stray into anti-social actions? How will these presently commuting by business bikes now transfer round?
Whereas the expansion of Lagos as a mega metropolis requires extra trendy modes of transportation than these bikes and tricycles, phasing them out requires extra strategic pondering within the mild of latest investments by some formalised ride-hailing platforms beneath the umbrella of Transportation Hailing Alliance of Nigeria (THAN) which presently engages about eight,000 drivers. A few of these firms embrace MAX, Gokada and Opay (Oride) which have collectively invested about $200 million in each fairness and debt and have deployed know-how for his or her operations, anchored on security requirements.
In the meantime, the pondering amongst authorities and safety officers in Lagos is that an outright ban of those bikes and tricycles in sure areas of the state can have three quick constructive impacts: it’ll cut back accidents, it’ll carry down incidences of armed robberies and the setting shall be cleaner. That is based mostly on the truth that, over the previous few years, a brand new crop of bikes (usually referred to as ‘Okada’) riders clearly from nations sharing boundaries with Nigeria have been infiltrating Lagos and constituting themselves as safety threats. However the actuality is also that many Lagosians, together with college kids and employees, rely upon these bikes and tricycles as their solely technique of transportation to and from college and work locations.
Nevertheless, of concern to us are the large investments which were made within the sector by a few of our younger entrepreneurs. That this choice was reached with none consultations with these operators smacks of dangerous religion. That is towards the background that the ride-hailing firms have persistently engaged the federal government individually and collectively as a gaggle. Extra lately, the Lagos State authorities brokered a decision between the highway transport unions made up of the Nationwide Union of Highway Transport Staff (NURTW) and Highway Transport Employers’ Affiliation of Nigeria (RTEAN) over persistent harassment of those operators. The engagements elevate a robust case of respectable expectation that if there are misgivings, the identical authorities would regulate slightly than kill the sector.
Even the declare that the ban is an enforcement of the ‘Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Legislation 2018’ just isn’t backed by truth. The referenced regulation restricts bikes from working on main highways within the state. Regulation 15 of this specific regulation makes an exception for bikes with engine capability above 200cc from the restriction on highways. MAX, for example, has at all times operated in compliance with all current legal guidelines and rules, together with compliance with engine capability necessities whereas their bikes are 220cc engines, a 10% premium above the regulatory requirement.
We agree with the Lagos State authorities that unregulated bikes and tricycles are a menace to security and safety. However Jakarta (Indonesia), Bangkok (Thailand) and so many cities throughout South East Asia have recognised bikes and tricycles as essential technique of transportation that not solely ferry commuters round in sure locations however put a lot of their individuals to work. The Lagos State authorities ought to undertake a practical method that sees the formal bike operators as companions. The federal government ought to develop a correct and sensible regulatory framework for these operators and work with them to institutionalise a system that ensures each security and safety.