I like Abuja taxi network. It is the best in the nation. Abuja is the only city in Nigeria where you do not need to break a bank to jump into a taxi. The brilliance is unbelievable because the price economics does not make sense. With no deep bus system, you would have expected Abuja taxi system to be (relatively) expensive. Far from it: the drivers have kept prices low.
Of course, we can argue that Abuja has great road networks which ensure that one can move from point A to point B with minimal traffic. Put together, the price is fair since a ride rarely takes more than 45 minutes. Yet, do not take that for granted, as in Lagos, a trip that takes 45 minutes would still command at least N1200 with a Lagos cab.
But while these drivers are doing their best to keep prices low, the Nigerian government is not helping them. Yes, the Nigerian government through the FCT is unfairly discriminating against the official Abuja painted taxis. The government has this regulation which encourages taxi owners to paint their vehicles with the city color. Yet, if you check very well, most painted taxis are not allowed into some government premises. In other words, the same government that asked taxis to paint their vehicles with city color is the same one that is telling them that you cannot come into our premises as painted cars. This did not start today; it has been going on for years. It needs to stop.
Government needs to show leadership because most major hotels in Abuja have now banned painted taxis into their premises. That seems very strange: yes, there is something wrong with Nigeria. If not, what is the reason for not allowing a painted cab into a hotel? I mean, the painted taxi is arguably the least harmful car in town since it is already registered by the city. Yet, hotels and governments make the trade harder because they followed the law by painting their vehicles.
I think government has to fix this rule: all painted taxis should be allowed to drive pass gates of hotels and government agencies, just as unpainted ones do. Anything short of that is certainly unfair to those that decided to do the right thing, by spending money to paint their cars Abuja taxi color.
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