EVALUATION OF TAXI OPERATION IN METROPOLITAN LAGOS INTRODUCTION Lagos a former capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is located on the south western zone of the country. Lagos has about population of 18 million. The size of the state is about 300sq meter. Transportation in Lagos state is predominantly through road transport. Road transportation covers up to 92% of the state transport, rail and water transport cover the remaining share. Of this 92% covered by road transport, taxi cab takes care of about 9%, while other forms of road transport cover the rest.
Other forms of road transport in Lagos state are ‘danfo’ buses,’ molue’, civilian buses, state owned mass transit, privately owned cars and buses, staff buses provided by corporate organizations etc. Painted in orange colour with two parallel black lines, just like other commercial vehicle in the state, taxi cab evolved in the 80’s not as necessary service for everyone, but as luxurious car transport service for those that could afford it. Then, owing a car was the exclusive power of the upper class.
The taxi cab evolved to service the middle class who were not ready to board commercial buses and could not afford a car of their own. Now, taxi cab in Lagos state provides transportation for the middle class and those that simply want some degree of privacy in transportation. The mode of operation is flexible as a taxi in Lagos state covers unlimited route, and can drop passengers at their door step. Taxi services when compared to other passenger carrying mode, apart from the privately owned vehicles, are relatively faster.
Taxi cabs are owned and managed by individuals. These cabs can be operated directly by the owner of the cab or it can be given to another person who operates it and pay on a daily or weekly basis. Again, such payment may be infinite or on hire purchase arrangement. Under infinite payment, the second party pays the owner of the cab some specified amount daily or weekly. Ownership of the cab will not be transferred to the second party; however, the owner of the cab will be responsible for maintenance of the cab.
Under higher purchase arrangement, the second party agrees to pay a specified amount spread over a period of time, and ownership of the cab will be transferred to after the payment and the period specified. Under this the owner of the cab does not involved in the maintenance of the cab. Many families earn their living in this means of transport. Unlike commercial buses which stay at the motor park to collect passengers, taxi cab can scout for passenger by going around the city or stay at the taxi park for the arrival of passengers.
Taxi cab also provides personalized service in which they are called by passenger to come to their location. This can be the passenger residence, office or social function venue. Taxi cabs are also known to provide late night services. Lagosians are always rest assured to get to anywhere at any time with the service of taxi cab. Despite the contribution of taxi cabs in Lagos state, the state government recently proposed removal of these cabs from the roads of Lagos, calling it ‘road nuisance’. This decision has come under strong criticism from many people, especially those that have made taxi a part of their daily live.