ORide, Gokada and MaxNG may soon return to Lagos roads after the ban imposed on them by the Lagos state government last February.
Nairametrics gathered that the bike-hailing firms are in talks with the state government to lift the ban and resume operations.
The Babajide Sanwo-Olu led-administration banned commercial motorcycles and tricycles operating in major 15 local governments area and Local Council Development Areas across the state. The controversial ban was also extended to the operators of tech-driven motorcycles (bike hailing firms).
The government might, however, change its policy, as all parties are on the negotiation table. In an exclusive interview with Nairametrics, a source in ORide, who prefer anonymity, said, “We never stopped discussions, we never stopped engaging as regards the government even before the ban came.”
“We’ve always been hopeful, we’ve never told ourselves it’s not going to happen, I guess that’s why those conversations are still going down because we are hopeful, that one time or one day the government will actually give room for an alternative means of transportation within the city.”
The negotiation has, however, been delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak which the Lagos State government is currently battling.
When the Media Liaison of Gokada, Odion Aleobua, was asked about the ongoing talks, he simply stated that, “We are still in lockdown, so I can’t give you confirmation on that information.”
Why bike-hailing return is certain: The revenue opportunity is a propelling factor that could make the Lagos State Government revisit the ban. Lagos has a massive market for their operations, with about 4 to 5 million rides a day.
The co-CEO of Gokada, Ayodeji Adewunmi, had projected that the market could worth about $3 billion to $5 billion revenue opportunities.
Also, there are allegations that the state wanted to introduced a N25 million license fee to the operators. The CEO and co-founder of MAX, Adetayo Bamiduro stated that a government official suggested the license fee for Ride-hailing operators, which many of them frowned at.
Although Country Manager of OPay (parent company of ORide), Iniabasi Akpan said last year that “Nothing has been finalised; discussions are ongoing about it. So definitely, there’s going to be a license fee.”
Another factor that could lead to the return of the motorcycles, especially the bike-hailing firms and services, is that they obey traffic laws of Lagos. The Lagos State Road Traffic Management Authority explained that the roads should only be plied by motorcycles or tricycles with a minimum engine capacity of 200cc.
This requirement is followed by ORide, MAX.ng and Gokada, all of which operate with motorcycles that have above 200cc engine capacity. And all the operators are open to regulation by the State government.