As parts of its plan to tighten security in Lagos state, the Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday flagged off a new security and economic oriented taxi system in the state.
According to the state governor, who spoke at the Blue Roof event centre of the Lagos state Television, the system, which will have all taxis and public transport operators in the state registered and monitored, is a step forward in the improvement of public safety.
The total databank of taxi registry will include 12,617 drivers and 10,882 vehicles.
“Across many parts of the world today, one of the safest places citizens and residents can be, is in the taxis that operate in their city,” Mr Fashola said. “The reason for this is simple. Those who run the taxi system are not anonymous, they are all known. From small companies to individual owners, everybody is registered. At this time of global and national security challenge, our state refuses to lag behind.
“What we unveil today is licences have many impacts. One is security which I have dwelt on. The other is economic sustainability. What this means is that transport, which is sometimes a last resort to many in difficult times, can now be a family business that can pass from generation to generation because it is now organised, regulated and modern.
“Many families in other jurisdictions have been supported, sustained and educated on the income that comes from Taxi service. The licence that attaches to the licence holder, instead of the vehicle, which is perishable, is now a lifetime asset. So even if the vehicle is stolen, destroyed or put out of service, the licence is registered in a register that is open to searches.
“The licence can be sold, used to borrow money as collateral and it will appreciate with time in value, just as land and shares do. Holders can pass it on to their children. Another benefit is consumer protection, in terms of insurance for their safety in taxis.”
The governor maintained that several initiatives of his administration had ensured growth in the taxi sub sector of the transportation industry in the state.
He said the taxi market was currently worth N20 billion.
“In 2007, the taxi system of public transport was a shadow of what it is today,” he said. “It was a business that had been run on a mere co-operative basis. By our strategic intervention and partnership, by providing support and guarantees for bank loans, many more taxi owners and operators have invested in the taxi system.”