Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Wednesday rolls out 1,000 technology-driven GAC-branded automobiles, codenamed ”LAG RIDE”.
Sanwo-Olu said during the rollout ceremony held at Lagos House Ikeja, that the ”LAG RIDE” was a ride hailing taxi initiative, being operated on a lease-to-own basis.
The initiative is a partnership between Lagos State-owned IBILE Holding Ltd. and CIG Motors Company with the objective to provide clean and reliable means of taxi movement across the metropolis at affordable cost.
Operators are required to pay about N1.9 million down payment, of which the sum covers the 20 per cent equity of the cost of vehicle, registration and insurance.
Each car being used in the scheme comes with technology-enabled security features that monitor every journey undertaken.
He said that 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 that the aim was not to run existing hailing ride operators out of the business, but to offer safer alternative and clear the roads of rickety cars being used for taxi business.
He said that the scheme would provide opportunities to the operators to become owners of the vehicles within three to four years period.
According to him, the need for better, dignifying and more rewarding means of transportation and livelihood for unemployed and underemployed population necessitate the new ‘Lagos State Taxi Scheme’.
”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,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that to improve riders’ and passengers’ security, a full security gadget, including a 360 dashboard camera, that would 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 governor said that the panic button was also on the mobile application and was connected to the Control and Command Centre.
He said 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 per cent completion, with anticipated start of operations expected by September.
The Commissioners for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladehinde, said that the scheme was another milestone achievement by the state government.
Oladeinde said that to make the rides affordable, the technology on which the scheme was operated had made ride-sharing possible for passengers, who would agree to share ride and share transit costs.
The Chairman of CIG Motors, Nigeria, Mrs Diana Chang, said that the roadmap for the urbanisation of the transportation system in Lagos started in Nov. 2019, when the Gov. Sanwo-Olu and members of his cabinet visited the Republic of China for bilateral partnership.
Chang said that the unveiling of the LAG RIDE was the glorious end of the partnership sealed with Chinese investors.
”We are using this partnership to promote a Greater Lagos where opportunities abound for citizens of the state, while creating a win-win model for all stakeholders,” she said.
The Managing Director of IBILE Holding, Mr Abiodun Amokomowo, said that over 5,700 drivers had downloaded the driver’s mobile apps as at Tuesday, out of which 1,786 drivers submitted applications.
Amokomowo said that registration and enrolment fee had been accepted from 359 drivers, while others were awaiting screening.
”As part of the process each operator will go through for the safety and security of life and effective operations of the scheme.
”We will conduct full verification of applicants’ Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) ID cards, medical history, background check and verification of NIN and Lagos resident registration numbers,” he said.