The decision of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ban ride-hailing operation inside the airport has generated criticism from Nigerians. The airport authority reportedly erected a signpost warning Uber, Bolt (Taxify) and other ride-hailing drivers against operating in the airport or face fine charges of N10,000.
There has been disagreement between the airport authority and ride-hailing drivers who have often complained about their mistreatment at the airport by officials of FAAN.
The airport transportation system was initially operated by the traditional taxi driver before the advent of car-haling apps in Nigeria. But since the entry of the latter into the Nigerian market, the transport business in the airport has become competitive.
Why ban car-hailing drivers?
It is believed that the operation of car-hailing drivers in the airport is affecting the gains of traditional taxi drivers who are registered association in the airport and also paying operational fees to the airport authority. Meanwhile, the ride-hailing app drivers are said to be operating in the airport without being regulated or licensed by the airport authority. This means they are not making payment to FAAN.
The competition has left the traditional taxi drivers redundant due to a decline in daily demand. Such a ban was expected to assist the traditional cab drivers. However, a further clampdown on operators in this market will discourage investors from investing to expand or discourage new player from entering the market because ride-hailing companies have been struggling in Nigeria in recent months. They are being hit with strict regulation or ban. The market is gradually becoming hostile for the operators who are being harassed by various authorities.
Reactions that trailed the FAAN ban claims
One Twitter user, who tweeted through his handle, @toni1billion, stated that the ban is “The handwork of Airports taxi who have been rendered jobless by digital transport disruption. @FAANews this is not global practice, stop acting like a local agency. @hadisirika.”
Another Twitter user, @nnwigene tweeted, “FAAN put up signs at the airport today saying Uber and Bolt are no longer allowed to pick up passengers in the premises. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS MY ASS.”
While @HelloMilez advised riders and drivers on how to avoid being detected by the airport authority.
“If FAAN is trying to play smart by not allowing Uber/Bolt to operate, there’s always the joker. This is what you should do 1. Call your Uber/Bolt driver 2. Give them a detailed description of yourself 3. Run to them and shout “UNCLE” when they arrive 4. Enjoy your ride home.”
@MustaphaNdajiwo also suggested that FAAN should monetise its partnership with car-hailing service rather than chase them out of the airport.
“Nonsense! in other countries they have designated spots. FAAN can actually make money from this by going into an MoU with Uber to collect a percentage as fees. But no, one guy that benefits from the resistance by traditional taxis will kill that opportunity for personal gains.”
Meanwhile, @Aeeshamoh said the decision by FAAN was because they owned some of the traditional taxi operating in the airport.
“So FAAN Nigeria wants to start sanctioning Bolt and Uber drivers for airport pickups. This will solely be because most of their officers own the ridiculously expensive airport taxis that the majority have stopped patronizing. Everybody is selfish.”
Did FAAN bow to pressure?
Hours after the ban announcement trended online, FAAN reacted via its official Twitter account to a comment, stating that the message on the signpost carrying its logo did not originate from FAAN. The airport authority said, “Uber, bold and taxify are free to drop passengers at our airports.” FAAN didn’t deny the existence of the billboard inside the airport. It rather said, “The signpost has been removed, be assured the issue would be addressed.”