On-demand motorcycle startups like ORide by OPay, Gokada and MaxOkada have been caught in the web of the Lagos State Government (LASG) ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘okadas’ and tricycles.
The Lagos State Government proscribed operations of motorcycles in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and 10 major highways across the State with effect from February 1.
LASG directed security operatives to embark on a total enforcement of the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and disorderliness created by illegal operations of okada and tricycle riders in restricted areas.
Besides, the Government also banned Okada and tricycles from plying 40 bridges and flyovers across the state.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, made the announcement at the State House in Alausa.
He said the measures were taken by the Government in response to “scary figures” of fatal accidents recorded from operations of Okada and tricycles in the State between 2016 and He said the measures were taken by the Government in response to “scary figures” of fatal accidents recorded from operations of Okada and tricycles in the State between 2016 and 2019.
Omotoso said the lack of regard for the Lagos Traffic Laws by the motorcycle and tricycle riders had resulted in preventable loss of lives, adding that their impermissible movements on restricted highways had also contributed to traffic jams.
Omotoso said the enforcement would be total, warning that the Government would deal with violators in accordance with the Laws. He added that there would be zero tolerance for the movement of the banned vehicles on the listed highways and bridges.
According to the Commissioner, operations of Okada and Keke NAPEP have been banned in the following LGAs and LCDAs: Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, and Coker-Aguda LCDA.
Others are Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo, LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, and Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.
Although the Lagos State Government did not directly mention the on-demand motorcycles in the statement, it appears to be blanket ban on all commercial motorcycles regardless of whether they are on-demand or not.
Apparently, ORide by OPay, Gokada and MaxOkada have been in talks with both Lagos State Government and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
It was rumoured then that the LASG will slam an operational license fee of N25 million on them and as for the NURTW, they reportedly agreed to pay a daily fee of N500 to operate freely without harassment.
Despite this, the Lagos State Government recently clamped down on some of the on-demand motorcycle startups impounding hundreds of bikes.
This was perhaps the reason why SafeBoda, a Ugandan on-demand motorcycle startup opted for Ibadan instead of Lagos to launch its business.
The ban on motorcycles or okadas is a welcome development.
However, the on-demand motorcycle startups should be exempted from the ban because they are a bit safe and are more organised than the regular okadas.
What next for ORide by OPay, Gokada and MaxOkada in Lagos State?