Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, on Thursday held 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 Lagos, with the State Government endorsing a unanimous agreement by the stakeholders present for the State to bring all taxis under a single uniform licensing scheme.
Addressing the large gathering of representatives of taxi cab operators, modern cab operators, the taxi section of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and Oredegbe Taxi Transport Service at the Blue Roof Hall, LTV Complex, Agidingbi, Governor 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.
He stressed that the State Government would still 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.
Governor Fashola reiterated that the present administration in Lagos has 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.
Still speaking on the uniform licensing scheme, the Governor said for those who have travelled outside the country to countries like Dubai and United Kingdom, they see some of the innovative usage to which taxis have been put, adding that such innovations are being brought to Nigeria by the State Government.
He added that another merit of the uniform license scheme for taxis is that though the vehicles can get old, the uniform license would not get old and can even be used as collaterals to obtain loans.
Stressing the need for the cab operators to exercise their franchise to sustain good governance in the State, Fashola also informed that from tomorrow, Friday till Sunday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the State will return the uncollected Permanent Voters Cards to the polling units for distribution to eligible voters in the State between the hours of 8.30am and 5.30pm.
Governor Fashola also formally handed over the All Progressives Congress (APC) Gubernatorial candidate, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his running mate, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule to the leaders of the various taxi cabs association as the candidate to be supported.
Speaking earlier, the President of the Taxi Cab operators in Lagos State, Prince Tajudeen Adetoro said the taxi /cab operators have always been very unflinching in their support of the State Government and would also do the same again.
He said over 75 percent of the operators have already obtained their Permanent Voters Cards and that there are 125 members in each of the 289 taxi parks in the state.
The Chairman of the Taxi section of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Otunba Olatunji Odujobi and President of Oredegbe Taxis Association, Mr Saka Ayinde both spoke on the need for the State Government to relax the provision on the conversion of old vehicles without air conditioners in use as Taxis to new ones and also assist in curbing the excesses of traffic regulating agencies like LASTMA and VIS.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa earlier in his introductory remarks had given an insight into why the meeting was convened, adding that it formed part of the policy of the State Government in carrying its people along in every facet.
He said the meeting would also review all the requests of the operators of taxis and cabs in the state including the agreement to bring all taxis and cabs into a unified licensing scheme which he described as documents that could stand as collaterals.
The event was attended by stakeholders in the transport sector and members of the various Taxi and Cab operators associations in the State.