#HardFacts: A Look Into Challenges of Lagos Yellow Taxis
By Jude Chukwuemeka
The Big HardFacts starts with discussions of transportation in Lagos. Of special attention is the EkoCab and Yellow Taxis. Sandra Ezekwesili, host, HardFacts takes a good look at issues between the two companies in recent times. However, she pays more attention to the challenges of Yellow Taxis in Lagos.
Sandra emphasizes that the Yellow Taxis have lost about 7,000 drivers since the e-hailing taxi EkoCab started business. “But now, the Yellow Cabs are fighting back,” she says. They have put up an app and are now acting the way Uber drivers do because at the present time, customers can install the app and call for the Yellow Taxi that’s nearby.
Sandra makes effort to speak with the people behind the new app. She wants to know why they think this app can save the Yellow Taxi from going out of business. She tries to speak with Segun Cole, the CEO of EkoCab but the phone line isn’t that clear, so she invites callers to talk about their experiences with Yellow Taxi.
EkoCab is reputed to be working for Lagos State government as a consultant. Lagos state finally came up with rules that were somehow tough for e-hailing companies. Does the State, while making rules for the e-hailing companies have a right to also join in doing the same business it operates in? Sandra asks this important question.
On the other side, several callers reveal why Yellow Taxis in Lagos are not doing well in business. Some also believe that the company can succeed. First, a caller says the cost of rides are higher than those of Uber and that’s one reason he stopped patronizing Yellow cabs.
Another says these Yellow Taxis don't have a future, as the cars are poorly maintained, the drivers need orientation and they complain a lot. He says the drivers often behave as if they are doing the customers some sort of favors. A Youtube commentator writes that the drivers of Yellow Taxis behave like Danfo drivers. He adds that it is the main reason why these taxis have been banned in many estates in Lagos.
How can Yellow Taxis improve so that they can gain the confidence of Lagosians and be welcome in those places such as hotels where they were once told not to enter?
Sandra gets the General Secretary of the Lagos State Taxi Drivers' & Cab Operators Association, Taiwo Omolekan on the show through phone call.
Omolekan starts the conversation by claiming the association he works with has over 9,000 members. He says the membership was up to 12 thousand initially, but when the association had some challenges with the e-hailing system technologies, some of the drivers left. They started coming back when the app was set up.
What about the members (drivers) who don’t have smartphones? Sandra wants to know.
Omolekan says yes, not all their members have smartphones. However, those who have smartphones have gone through training already. Anyone who can adjust may buy a smartphone and be trained to use the app. Furthermore, the old members who don’t have any means of using the app are still going to operate through the normal way they have been picking up passengers.
But what about estates and hotels that have banned Yellow Taxis from entering their premises? And what about efforts to upgrade the Yellow Taxis? Click the video above and see what Omolekan says his association is doing to solve these problems.
Listen to #HardFacts Mondays to Fridays from 3pm on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM