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Ride-hailing services in Edo State to face new regulations

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Edo State is gearing up to introduce new regulations for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Bolt that operate within its boundaries. The state government plans to mandate API integration, allowing authorities to directly access data from these platforms.

The announcement was made by Edugie Agbonlahor, Managing Director of the Edo State Transport Authority (ESTA), at a recent driver safety summit hosted by Bolt in Benin City. Agbonlahor stated that API integration will be part of a broader regulatory framework governing the ride-hailing ecosystem in Edo.

Once gazetted, this regulation 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 explained.

In addition to API access, ESTA will issue visual identifiers to drivers on ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Bolt. This will exempt them from certain requirements like daily ticketing that other drivers face, facilitating smoother interactions with authorities.

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The proposed moves seem to take inspiration from similar regulations introduced previously in Lagos State. However, Lagos state’s attempts to enforce API integration and data sharing with ride-hailing firms have faced pushback, with Uber recently having vehicles impounded over the dispute.

While Edo state believes the API integration will improve safety and sustainability, companies like Uber may raise privacy concerns over providing unfettered access to their data troves. How they respond to Edo’s new regulations remains to be seen.

The ride-hailing industry has welcomed efforts to enhance security through measures like audio trip recording and driver verification. But the battle over customer data access is emerging as a new regulatory battlefront nationwide.

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