Investors of Bike hailing company reacts to the ban on bikes in Lagos.

The Government's recent ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke NAPEP) from particular areas with effect from February 1, technology mobility startups have raised concerns over the government’s decision.

The group of leading motorcycle operators, comprised of, Gokada and Oride, Speaking under the umbrella of  Transportation Hailing Alliance of Nigeria, THAN, said that their investors are deeply worried over the State Government’s plan which will become effective from February 1, 2020.

The startups say they are not giving up hope on convincing the Government to commence regularization of the sub-sector against the outright ban.

They stressed that the economic loss will be huge as a host of investors have put in funds and thousands of direct and indirect jobs created., on their part, have created 2200 direct jobs for their drivers and full-time staff and 73,000 indirect jobs.

MAX has assembled a reputable collection of international partners and investors including Novastar Ventures, Alitheia Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Yamaha and Mastercard who have invested millions of dollars into the social enterprise.

Gokada has also funds led by Rise Capital, joined by Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners, and Illinois-based First Midwest Group. They have over 1000 riders across Lagos State.

OPay which drives ORide to raise $120 million from investors including Meituan-Dianping, GaoRong Capital, Source Code Capital.

The Co-Founder and CEO of Metro Africa Xpress, Max, Adetayo Bamiduro said “We have demonstrated our ability to elevate the average monthly income of a rider on our platform to more than three times what their peers in the informal sector earn, with the additional benefit of ownership of premium quality vehicles within 12 months, and a further 40% increase in their earnings once they take full possession vehicles,” 

He said that the Company is fully compliant with the requirement of the Lagos State Road Traffic Regulations.

Bamiduro said that the investors are worried because in relating the decision to restrict the operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in the affected areas, the government’s spokesperson cited “safety and security concerns” as the primary reasons for the decision.

The government’s spokesperson relied on the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 as the legal backing for this decision.

The referenced law, is now arguing, restricts motorcycles from operating on major highways in the state but however makes an exception for motorcycles with engine capacity above 200cc.

“This has always been a guideline for our operations and investments, as MAX has always operated in compliance with all existing laws and regulations, including compliance with engine capacity requirements. All MAX Motorcycles are 220cc engines, a 10% premium above the regulatory requirement”, he reiterated during the press conference.

“For clarity, Section 15 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform (Road Traffic Regulations) states that “subject to the provision of section 46 of this law, motorcycles above 200cc are exempted from the restriction on the use of motorcycles on the State highways.

Section 46 is the general provision that restricts motorcycles and tricycles from highways in the State.

Collaborating Bamiduro’s statement, the Pilot Operations Manager at Gokada, Victor Daminabo said they have self-regulated over time and currently in anticipation of the Government’s regulations for the sub-sector.

According to him, THAN members are fully in support and compliant with the requirement of the Law prohibiting the operation of motorcycles without rider and passenger helmets, carrying more than one passenger, comprehensive insurance, etc.

The players also said, although no formal agreement has been signed between them and the government, however, in addition to being fully compliant with the relevant laws, they have also, in the course of constant engagements with the government, demonstrated their infrastructure and investments to address all safety and security concerns regarding the operations of motorcycles in the State.

Over 5000 riders to be affected also said that the quality of the drivers (riders) is second to none while the Company assured drivers, investors, partners, and customers that “we are working round the clock to address this situation and would explore all lawful means to seek a redress of this injustice”.

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