Lagos State updates e-hailing startups regulations after backlash

Following backlashes on recently proposed guidelines Lagos state government released for ride-hailing companies in the state, the 20-page document introducing licensing fees of ₦10 million for operators has finally been adjusted.

In the past week, the Lagos state government released new regulations for ride-hailing companies in the state which include licensing fees and a 10% service charge on every completed trip. 

Existing operators found the license fees to be reasonable changes while their concern is about the 10% service charge.

There was also some concern over Section 4.2 of the regulations which asked ride-hailing companies to give the government access to their database. But then, the question they want a quick answer to was whether such a move was legal. 

That question pop and turned out to be a tricky one. 

After all, one of the most popular ride-hailing companies, Uber responded to the regulation and called it “inconsistent and unclear.” There were also concerns that the government did not take the feedback of these operators into account before making some of the regulations.

Since the regulations became public, the Lagos state government faced considerable backlash. In a city where many people are still smarting from a ban on motorcycles, the public censure was understandable. 

In response to public opinion, the Lagos state government called ride-hailing companies back to the table and probably see to their consideration this time, see the outcome below.

New changes to the ride-hailing regulations 

It was said that the Special Adviser to the Lagos state government, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde said on Friday night that there have now been changed in the guidelines for ride-hailing companies in Lagos. One change is in the licensing fees which have now been reduced by 20%. 

This means that operators will now pay ₦8 million instead of the ₦10 million earlier stated. It is safe to assume that this reduction will apply as a recurring annual fee of ₦5 million as well. 

The 10% service charge on all rides has also been removed. In its place, the government will charge a flat fee of ₦20 on every ride as part of a “road improvement fund.” It is a more reasonable request which companies will be more willing to accept.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde stated this after a three-hour-long between government officials and operators of e-hailing taxi services at the Lagos House Marina, said the State would also begin the collection from the 27th of this month.

Now the other major concern in the regulation is access to data. The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on New media, Gawat Jubril, said in a tweet: “E-Hailing Firms must make necessary data available to the Government.”

See his whole tweet below;

The commissioner for transportation, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde clarified this point. He said that the government will not ask for the personal information of riders.

According to Dr. Oladeinde: “the data that they will be supplied to us is going to be encrypted. We do not want detailed data, it’s just data on movement from point to point. It’s very important that we have this data for planning and where we have congestion in some areas, we can deploy resources required to ensure we don’t congestion. We are not asking for data on people’s details.”

Beyond data, the government also tried to improve the optics of the changes by inviting representatives of Bolt and Uber to the press briefing. It also stated that the new regulations will come into effect on August 27th. 

The operators at the meeting, including the National President of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association, PEDPA, Comrade Idris Shonuga, Chief Executive Officer of BMP Car, Mr. Ezekiel Ojo, Ms. Abisola Odukoya of Bolt Nigeria, and Tola Odeyemi of Uber Nigeria said they were satisfied with the agreement, While Mr. Shonuga particularly implored e-hailing drivers to comply with the new directives.

Oluwalonii Mercien

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