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Edo State government to launch API integration for e-hailing platforms to enhance safety

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The news: 

  • The Edo State Government has announced plans to introduce API integration for ride-sharing service providers like Bolt, Uber, and other operators in the state. 
  • Edugie Agbonlahor, the Managing Director of the Edo State Transport Authority (ESTA), announced the development at the recently concluded driver safety summit hosted in the state capital by one of the e-hailing companies, Bolt.
  • According to the Managing Director, the launch of ride-hailing API integration will be part of the Obaseki-led government”s overall strategy to implement much-needed e-hailing regulations in the state. 

She stated that the ESTA has already drafted the regulation, which will take effect once approved. While it is unclear how the API integration will work or its purpose, it is expected to improve the state’s e-hailing environment. 

“It would serve as the regulatory framework governing the ride-hailing ecosystem to promote orderliness, eradicate the misconception that ride-hailing drivers are traditional car hire, and curb harassment by local government task forces,” Agbonlahor assured. 

In addition to API integration for these platforms, the government-backed regulator will provide visual identifiers to drivers on these e-hailing platforms as part of measures to exempt them from daily ticketing implemented for other drivers across the state. 

The ESTA expects the identifiers to facilitate smoother interactions between the state authorities and ride-sharing drivers and foster necessary collaborative efforts among all industry stakeholders to ensure improved safety and sustainability of ride-hailing operations.

Following this development, Edo won’t be the first state in the country to announce such transportation regulations. In 2020, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, led by the previous Commissioner Frederic Oladeinde, announced a data-sharing agreement with the state’s ride-hailing companies.  

Under the terms of the agreement, real-time access to user trips and location data through the state-provided backend API integration had to be shared by all e-sharing platforms operating in Lagos State.

The Lagos government explained that the backend integration request was necessary to ensure a well-regulated transport system and protect all drivers and riders in an emergency. 

Lagos State also required ride-hailing platforms to pay an annual licence fee of ₦25 million and a per-trip road improvement levy of ₦20.

Two weeks ago, however, Lagos State had a run-in with Uber over enforcing the data-sharing provision, leading to the impounding of vehicles belonging to drivers operating on the company’s platform. 

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Uber, on its part, insisted that it has fulfilled all regulatory obligations to the state while assuring that it was working closely with the Lagos Government to resolve the issue.

Given the situation in Lagos, stakeholders are anticipating what the Edo State regulation will entail and how Uber and other e-hailing operators will respond to it.

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