Nigeria News

As Corporate “Okada” Hits Lagos

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Nigeria News takes a look at the introduction of “Gokada”, an Uber means of transportation on motorbike.

Uber service has taken over Lagos as a corporate way of moving commuters around the metropolis.

In fact, more car owners have converted their vehicles for Uber service. The business is lucrative, no doubt.

It has also come with challenges such as robbery and abduction of passengers by fake Uber operators.

The difference between Uber and Lagos cabs is that Uber charges per minutes and the arrangement is done online between the management, the driver and the passenger.

The driver drives down to pick his passenger at the agreed location while the Uber managers take their commission for the service rendered.

Uber service has in no small measure increased the spate of stealing of some brands of cars, as gathered from the police records in the last few years that the operation began in Nigeria.

But passengers are beginning to complain about the charges by Uber, saying it is too high because of the incessant traffic on Lagos roads. A journey of 15 minutes take about one hour most time due to heavy traffic.

Despite the comfort that Uber has rendered to many passengers, many still complained that this means of transportation has failed to beat Lagos traffic.

So, a few months ago, “Gokada” was launched in Lagos. Gokada is a corporate commercial motorcycle service that has its headquarter in Yaba. Founded by one Deji Oduntan in 2018, Gokada was to help Lagos commuters beat traffic by reducing their travel time within the heavy traffic.

It operates in this same mode as Uber. You might have seen a corporate Okada rider with customised Green helmet on Lagos road.

This is a chartered “Gokada” that is now the new deal of beating Lagos traffic. Twice on the Third Mainland Bridge, a Gokada has passed my vehicle at very high speed, making me query its regulation by the Lagos State Government.

The former Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) restricted commercial motorcycle on over 400 Roads, including the Third Mainland Bridge but today, Gokada drives around the metropolis.

While this is a laudable idea, the inauguration of Gokada to me is an invitation to another chaotic traffic situation that the government may not be able to control. It was gathered that the government actually registered this company, even though there is a law banning the informal operation of the commercial motorcycles in Lagos.

This will definitely return traffic chaos to Lagos road and by extension more motorcycle accident on the highways. With “Gokada” on Lagos road, it will not take a long time before investors will buy into the idea with no adequate knowledge of its operation.

As a matter of fact, a duplicate of “Gokada” had surfaced with yellow helmets.

Before the proliferation of motorbike on Lagos road, the incoming state Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu must take a look at the Gokada and others to see if this means of transportation can actually work in a megacity.

What Lagos needs urgently is a rail system that works. There is a need to build quality intermodal transportation system of rails, roads and water to ease the movement of goods and people.

Gokada should not be encouraged. It is archaic.

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