1. Background To The Study

Urban transport services in Nigeria is inadequate both in quality and quantitative terms considering the rate of population growth and the economic condition of an average Nigerian on the affordability of transport  services  to  meet  his  or  her  travel  demands  over  the  past  four  decades.  The  Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)  of  the  middle  80’s  had  made  the  importation  of  new  automobile  vehicles relatively expensive to purchase for urban mobility in the country. Similarly, the price of motor spare parts  had  risen  astronomically  and  many  Nigerians  could  hardly  maintain  their  old  vehicles  which invariably compounded the mobility crises in Nigerian towns and cities. Incidentally most of urban trips in Nigeria are made by road, rail and water based mode and these accounted for about 95%, and the remaining 5% were mainly by walking (Oyesiku, 2001).

It is pertinent to note that of all the trips made by vehicles, 70% were by public transport, which is dominated by private sector operators. According to  Oyesiku (2002), more than 95% of all urban public  transport  journeys  in  Nigeria  were  provided  by  private  operators  using  mainly  taxis  and 50 Para transit buses. It is interesting to note that many of the urban residents are less accessible to these transport services. Besides, the service delivery of public transport operators is less satisfactory to the urban commuters in Nigeria. Most of the research works carried out on the mode of operation of public transport services in Nigeria do  not  consider the quality of  transport services in relation  to comfort, affordability,  safety  and  income  level,  which  are  all of  paramount  importance  to  mobility  pattern  of urban residents in any country of the world. The focus of this research therefore is to assess the quality of  transport  services  in  Ibadan  metropolis  with  the  view  to  improving  the  mobility  characteristics  of urban  residents  and  promoting  sustainable  transport  development  in  the  study  areas  and  many  other cities in Nigeria.

The Nature of Commercial Motorcycle Transport in Nigeria

The commercial motorcycle business has grown into a major business concern in Nigeria and it is a fairly well organized business with considerable patronage. Motorcycles ply virtually every route including the highways until the recent effort by some state governments to restrict their operations. In Lagos State, for example, Okada could be found plying major roads in Epe, Ikorodu, Badagry, Mushin, Oshodi, Alimosho, Ikeja, Victoria Island,Obalende, Surulere and other areas of the city. They cover distances ranging from a few metres to a distance as far as20 kilometres. They are as effective in the urban centres as well as in the rural suburbs.

The availability and flexible pricing makes the motorcycle affordable to the vast majority of the people that utilise it as a means of commuter transportation. It could reach any nook and cranny of the towns and cities at a price often considered reasonable by the commuters. The fares charged by the commercial motorcyclist range from N50.00 for a short distance to about N500.00 for long distance; in some cases, it could be higher. But it is relatively cheaper and faster than conventional taxi cabs. Using Lagos as an example, a ride from Okokomaiko in Ojoo Local Government area to Mile Two in AmuwoOdofin could cost about N300 to N400. However, the same distance cost N100 by conventional bus transportation while a taxi ride will cost about N1,500. A conventional taxi will also charge about N5000.00 for a trip from Agege to Victoria Island, but the Okada could charge about N2000.00 for the same trip. The advantage which the commuter derives from this is the time saved due to traffic congestion. A normal bus ride from Agege to Victoria Island could take about three hours whereas the Okada will make the same trip in about 1 hour, 30 minutes regardless of the traffic situation (Personal Communication with Mr. OlusolaFalana, An Okada Rider, 24 June, 2011). The advantage of flexibility, speed and relative cheapness of Okada transport service is not something confined to Lagos alone but is an experience shared in other parts of the country where the service is used.

The brand of motorcycle used in Nigeria for public transportation includes the following: Bajaj, Jincheng, Sinoki, Haojue, Liponsupra, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha and K-90. When commercial motorcycle transportation began, K-90 was the brand that was most commonly used. Later, Susuki came into general use.

Currently, the most common motorcycle being used for public transportation is called Bajaj. It is said to be durable and consumes low fuel (Personal Communication with Mr. SalisuOmidiran, Secretary of MOALS, Lagos, 16th August, 2011). It is capable of plying rough roads and could conveniently carry two passengers simultaneously, thereby bringing in more profit for the owner.

Most of the brands of motorcycles mentioned above are imported into Nigeria from Asia. There are also assembly plants that assemble and sell motorcycles locally. These companies include Yamaha Manufacturing (Nig.)

Limited, Boulous Enterprises, Honda Manufacturing (Nig.) Limited and R.T. Briscoe (Adesanya, 1998:49). The price of motorcycle depends on whether it is new or fairly used. For example, a new Bajaj motor bike goes for between N120,000 and N130,000 while a brand like Jincheng goes for N80,000 (Olaore, 2011: 34-35). The price of a fairly used motorcycle depends on its brand and state.

Over the years, commercial motorcycle operators have organised themselves into various unions at the state and national level. It is compulsory for anyone willing to operate as a commercial motorcyclist to register with any of the affiliated associations of the transport unions. The existing associations are the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (ANACOWA) and in the case of Lagos, there is also the Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State known as MOALS. (Personal Communication with Mr. OpeoluwaRasaki, an Okada Rider, 24 June, 2011). ANACOWA is an affiliate of Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

1.2 Statement oThe Problem

 The relative short fall of the conventional public transport in many countries led to the consideration of a novel innovative mode of operation now known as unconventional or informal transport as the case may be (Cervero, 2000; Aworemi, 2008). This has been the case in places where public transport supply is insufficient to meet the travel needs of the population. In Nigeria, the private sector is involved in the business of procuring different types of vehicles that are believed to be cost effective in meeting peoples demand for mobility. Commercial motorcycle transport popularly known as okada; achaba; going; express etc have become a source of livelihood for the poor. Operators of this informal mode of transport take it as last resort to generate income for their families and dependants to survive (Arosanyin, et. al 2011). Informal public transport modes vary in size, type and operation from place to place all over the world. In Madras, Caracas and Delhi; Duto and Pedicab, bicycle, rickshaw, Lorries and hand cast are informal transport modes used for goods and passenger movements. In the U.S.A. for example, the informal transport modes are in the forms of Jitney, dial and ride subscription buses, Vanpool, shared taxi and auto rapid transit (Ane, et. al, 2011).

Okada business expansion has increased the number of road accidents in the country. This has led to the loss of lives and in many cases permanent disabilities to victims. For example, in 1989 about 144 cases of Okada accident were reported in Lagos State (Ndiribe, 2009). In 1999, 699 cases of Okada accidents were reported, representing 21.06 percent of the total accidents in Lagos State for that year

(Olagunju, 2001: 26). This, no doubt, is also the picture in other states across the country. Over the years, accidents involving Okada riders have kept on increasing in direct proportion to the increase in the number of motorcycles operating for commercial purposes. Recklessness and refusal to comply with traffic rules have been largely responsible for these accidents.

Okada riders are also reported to constitute nuisance on the highways since many of the riders do not obey traffic rules. Aside from this, their members are also reported to be extremely violent, resorting to jungle justice to get easy passage of their erring members whenever the situation warrants (Nnadozie, 2009: 26).

Frequent announcements of various types of criminal activities in Nigeria public transport over the years have become a disturbing issue to users, non-users and particularly the policy makers. This have gone beyond local or national discourse, as International communities keep given warning notifications about the insecurity of Nigerian public transport services. For instance, the Times International of London, (1985) commented on the alarming rate of criminal activities in Nigeria. While, the Travel Warning United States

Department of Bureau of Consular Affairs also gives warning statements about the insecurity of public transport in the country, particularly for the foreigners. For example, travelers were warned to avoid night travel, and about poor modes of public transport and infrastructure and driving conditions. More dishearten, is the fact that; the international communities ascertained the fact that Nigerian public transport service poses risks simply because of the possibility of criminal activities to effectively take place when using public transport service.

Threats to live while using public transport have become a disturbing issue to most Nigerians.

These issues in recent time have dominated an array of debates involving policy makers and city managers. Presently, the situation has taken different dimension with the use of emerging public transport modes to perpetuate criminal activities and it makes live in most Nigerian cities like Lagos and other developing ones more frightening. It should be noted that, not only is the incidence of crime becoming more frequent and alarming, the nature of the crimes; especially physical assault, sexual harassment, pick-pocketing etc., have become more heinous. It has become a daily rhythm to people, often daily announcements of bolder and sophisticated crimes taken place in most cities appears not to spear any heads. Both the rich and the poor bears the brunt; but the fact worth mentioning is that, women who are the majority users of public transportation appears helpless in the face of crime when using public transportation in Lagos.

Women in most developing cities since the last decades, have being witnessing increasing numbers of threats to urban safety and security in public transport. It should be noted that, while some of these public transport menaces takes place or occurs in different forms, many have been a reflection of the nexus of inadequate public transport and differential capability to cope with the poor quality of public transport services. Safety and criminal activities pervading public transport services in most cities, have led to increasing discourse about how to mitigate it. Most women face the threat of insecure public transport and the possibility of sexual and physical harassment among others. These mobility problem have being on the increase in most Nigerian cities like other developing countries during the last few years.

1.3 Objectives of Study

This research is aimed at comparing the costs of operating a taxi cab to the cost of operating motorcycle transportation in Nigeria.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Identify the various factors contributing to the cost of operating both taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport in Ibadan.
  2. Examine the socio-economic characteristics of public passenger transport (taxi and motorcycle operators) providers of in Ibadan.
  3. Compare the economic viability of taxi operation to motorcycle operation in Ibadan.
  4. Ascertain the difference between the cost of operating taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to give this research a focus and direction, the following specific questions are raised:

  1. What are the various factors contributing to the cost of operating both taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport in Ibadan?
  2. Which is more the economically viable between taxi and motorcycle operation for public passenger transport in Ibadan?
  3. What difference(s) are there between the cost of operating taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

In order to limit the scope of this research, testable hypothetical statement have been postulated in the null and alternative forms:

H01: There are no significant differences between the costs of operating taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport

H11: There are no significant differences between the costs of operating taxi and motorcycle for public passenger transport

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is a comparative analysis of cost of operation of motorcycle and taxi for public passenger transport provider in Ibadan, Oyo state. It is pertinent to note that the totality of motorcycle and taxi operators in Ibadan cannot be covered by the research, hence a sample is taken.

1.7 Significance of the Study

This study would reveal the positions of operators of both motorcycle and taxicabs so as to obtain what their perspectives are towards the operation of this modes of transport. This study will help in the understanding of the differences between both modes in terms of their economic and operational advantages.

This study offers suggestions and recommendations for further research so that the advantages can be better explored.