By Olasunkanmi Akoni
As part of efforts to sanitise the state’s transport sector, the Lagos State Government has commenced issuance of the newly introduced provisional Taxi License Allocation Letter and badge to operators.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State had on Thursday, February 26, unveiled the plan at an interactive session with all Lagos State Taxi and Cab Operators (Yellow and Modern) on the introduction of a new uniform licensing for all taxis operating in the state.
However, following the state government’s endorsement, it was unanimously agreed by the stakeholders present for the state to bring all taxis under a single uniform licensing scheme.
Through this uniform licensing scheme, government has said it is in line with global best practices, thus, the essence of introducing the innovation in the state. Some of the merit of the scheme include: Vehicles can get old but the uniform license will not get old and can even be used as collaterals to obtain loans.
Speaking to taxi cab operators, modern cab operators, the taxi section of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and Oredegbe Taxi Transport Service, Fashola also endorsed the unanimous decision of the stakeholders that the state government should change the five years date of manufacture limit placed on all vehicles to be used as taxis in Lagos to 12 years in view of the downturn in the nation’s economy.
The state government also agreed to permit taxi operators who have the capacity to purchase new cabs to be used as yellow taxis to do so but would not insist on only the use of new ones to operate. However, there was a proviso by the state government that only such vehicles that have passed the road worthiness certification of the Vehicle Inspection Service would be allowed to be deployed on the road as licensed taxis.
The state government also endorsed the decision of the stakeholders to allow all unpainted taxis that have collected the uniform license to get into the scheme and be painted yellow to operate in the state. “The state’s transport policy bill is now before the State House of Assembly where work is progressing on its consideration prior to its passage and subsequent assent by the Governor,” Fashola disclosed.
He reiterated that the present administration in Lagos had always ensured that all stakeholders are carried along in the process of policy formulation through the holding of public hearings before such bills become laws. While speaking on some of the giant strides of the state government in the transportation sector, Fashola sought to know what the experience of the taxi drivers have been on roads like Mile 12 to Ikorodu, the Eko Bridge, Yaba to Alhaji Masha flyover portion and WEMPCO road.
They all chorused they now have smooth motoring experience as a result of the exertions and investments of the administration. He stressed that a comparison should be drawn between what the Lekki- Epe Expressway looks like now and what it used to look like as at 2002, adding that the place where the Toll Gate is located now on the Lekki-Epe Expressway is where the former Maroko was.
He said the Toll Gate which had provided jobs to several unemployed people, is the same one that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje has promised to demolish if he gets into office. He said President Goodluck Jonathan similarly has not succeeded in repairing the road that leads to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport which he promised to fix four years ago.