The Lagos State Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators Association, popularly known as Yellow Taxi/Eko Cab, on Tuesday, unveiled EkoCab Mobile App to promote the transit system in the state.
The app tagged “EkoApp: A New Approach to Lagos Transport” was launched in Ikeja at an event attended by stakeholders in the transport sector.
Mr Taiwo Omolekan, the General Secretary and incoming President of the association said that the development was to ensure that it was not left behind in the technology-driven world.
Omolekan said that henceforth, commuters could download the app and book for a taxi (branded) or a cab (unbranded) in the comfort of their homes to commute around the state.
“With the advent of technologies, taxi business has moved from the traditional flagging down of taxi on the road to electronic ride-hailing services, in which taxi drivers could be called from the comfort of one’s home for a ride to any part of the state.
“Therefore, the Yellow taxi, which is the pride of the Lagos State, is not ready to be left behind. This has prompted us to introduce our own taxi apps to the members of the public as EkoCab.
“You can call us from the comfort of your home and our good air-conditioning vehicles will be available to drop you at your destination at a minimal cost,” Omolekan said.
According to him, the Yello taxi is an institution that is well established all over the state with correct data-base of all members with a sticker that is displayed on the front and back windscreen.
“It is very easy to know the location and the taxi park that each driver belongs for security purpose. We are the best alternative as the traditional taxi of the state.
“Also, we have an edge over other taxi apps because we are very conversant with the road and know how to manoeuvre in case of gridlock, unlike others that depend on google maps for direction,” he said.
Omolekan urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come to the aid of the association by providing loan to re-fleet vehicles like his predecessor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, did for the association.
The general secretary also urged the Lagos State Government to assist the association by instructing all housing estates, hotels and local airports to allow Yellow Taxi and Cab entrance to pick and drop commuters.
He said that without access to such places, the essence of the apps would be limited and defeated.
Omolekan said that e-taxi and cab services like Uber and Bolt would redefine the transit system by providing quality ride services at affordable fares.
In his address, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, the Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, who welcomed the operators to the digital world, said the launch was in line with Sanwo-Olu’s vision for efficient traffic management and transportation.
Oladeinde, who was represented by Mr Sewedo Whenu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, urged the operators to continue to obey traffic laws to reduce gridlock and road crashes to the barest minimum.
According to him, technology has reduced the world into a global village and there is the need to move all sectors of the economy, including transportation, to meet current global technological practices.
Oladeinde said: “As an emerging Smart City of the world with an estimated population of over 22 million people, we can no longer afford to live in the past.
“We must imbibe the necessary technology that will change our ways of life, especially our transport system so that we can be at par with other civilised climes that have made significant progress in digital mobility.
“The government has not relented in her commitment to providing suitable public transport system that is functional, effective and affordable with dedicated lanes expansion and development of other modes of transportation like the rail system and water transportation.
“The administration has continued to invest heavily in the transport sector because transportation has remained an integral part of the economic development anywhere in the world.”
He pledged government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment that would attract more investors into public transportation.
Oladeinde, who urged operators to adhere to extant laws, assured that the government would continue to support the association to ensure the success of the initiative
On the journey so far, Mr Segun Cole, the EkoCab Chief Executive Officer, said that the association, after conceiving the idea, approached all relevant stakeholders, conducted training for drivers and carried out pilot programmes.
Cole, who noted that the App would provide the Ministry of Transportation a dashboard to monitor the operations, said that the operations would start on March 17.
In their goodwill messages, the representatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Services, Lagos State Drivers Institute among other agencies in the sector, urged the operators to heed traffic rules and regulations.