Ekocab launch: questions and controversy trail Lagos State backed ride-hailing platform

In Lagos, yellow taxis were once the commonest way to commute, but ride-hailing services changed that.

While yellow taxis were once ubiquitous, a refusal to innovate has made them unpopular.

Now a new platform in Lagos called Ekocab will try to pull drivers of these yellow taxis into the modern day so they can compete. 

Ekocab is a ride hailing app where you can find yellow cab drivers in Lagos. Until now, you could only get a yellow cab by flagging one down by the roadside.

This situation is not peculiar to Lagos or Nigeria. In many countries, ride-hailing services have changed how people commute. 

Where city taxis once held all the cards, ride-hailing services, with their dynamic pricing, are now in many major cities and are the taxis of choice. But in Lagos Ekocab wants to help yellow taxis level the playing ground. 

The launch of Ekocab comes a month after a ban on motorcycles and tricycles in Lagos. 

Some Lagosians are implying that the timing of Ekocab’s launch is suspicious. Many believe it is an attempt by the government to have a monopoly on ride hailing in the state. But the company refutes this claim. 

Ekocab CEO, Segun Cole told TechCabal that although they have been policy consultants to the government, “this is a partnership with the ministry of transportation.

“Up till now, I doubt that Governor Sanwo-Olu has heard of Ekocab,” he said in a telephone conversation. 

“We’re providing the government a dashboard that will provide mobility data. This data will allow the government know where the drivers are at every point in time”

Asked if government access to extensive data does not raise privacy concerns, Segun Cole told TechCabal that only a few data points will be available to the government.

Ekocab has been around since 2017. But it remained in the shadows until 2019 when it signed a partnership with the Lagos state government. This partnership will allow thousands of yellow taxis to join its platform.

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