Updated: Feb 24
The Lagos state government recently restricted “okada” (motorcycle) and “keke” (tricycle) in 15 local councils (including 10 major highways and 40 bridges and flyovers ) across the state effected from February 1, 2020. The government cited “security and safety of the lives of Lagosians” as the reason for the ban.
About 392,000 okada riders operate in the state's informal sector; excluding formal motorcycle services, such as ORide, Max and Gokada which together has over 12,000 motorcycle riders. But, these formal commercial motorcycle services have also been affected by the ban.
The declaration of the ban had stirred reactions from the public, particularly considering the number of Lagosians who are stakeholders in the transportation sector – as nearly all middle class and below patronize the services of bike riders to beat traffic in the city.
Some of the current and potential negative impact of the ban include:
1. Businesses Shut Down
Several businesses will be negatively affected. Notable among such businesses are tricycle and okada retailers, petrol stations, mechanics, spare part dealer.
2. Loss of Jobs and Revenue Source
The anti-masses policy would obviously lead to many Lagosians losing their jobs and revenue source. Even the state and local governments' would lose some of their revenue from okada and keke riders’ taxes and certification following the ban.
3. Rise in Crime and Insecurity
With jobs losses, youths may resort to violence, crimes and other social vices in a bid to survive and meet their daily needs. Some of the people who lose their jobs may resort to stealing, ritual and other forms of crimes to survive.
4. Higher Living Cost
With Keke and Okada, Lagosians spend less on transportation but with the new policy they’ll have to pay more for the same distance. Yet, lagos is already an expensive city.
5. Mobility Hardship
Mobility will become slow and frustrating due to increased traffic by bus.
However, on the other side of the coin, some people believe the ban could be better off for Lagosians. The ban will eliminate or reduce the rate of road accidents, criminals and crime gateway by motorcycles and tricycles, as well as nuisance and traffic hold-ups caused by them. In theory and in a broader sense, road traffic should reduce by a large percentage with ban: because instead of 1 -2 passengers per bike and 4-6 passengers on Keke on the road, 10 -24 passengers will be taken at once, thereby minimizing road traffic.
Time will tell which of these impact (positive or negative) triumphs. In the meantime, the government needs to invest in more efficient transport network (including roads and rails) to reduce traffic in the city and improve living standards for its people.
Photo Credit: Nigerian Tribune
Article Credit: Shadrach Adamu