MAX Drive takes mobility solutions to Osun, starting with 1,000 tricycles

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla

The Osun government is the latest to throw its hat into the mobility sector. On Thursday, March 10, it announced that it has collaborated with Metro Africa Xpress (MAX) Drive to roll out some “1,000 tricycles to ease transportation burden” in the state.

“In collaboration with MAX ‘The Government of the State of Osun under the leadership of Governor Gboyega Oyetola has inaugurated 1,000 tricycles to ease transportation burden for the citizens of the State,'” MAX Drive tweeted.

Go deeper: Max Drive has been gradually building its momentum in the rapidly saturated e-mobility industry all over the country by entering into partnerships with governments reluctant to throw their support on motorcycles.

In 2020, it entered into a partnership with the government of Ekiti to help “digitise operations of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke)” in the state.

This new collaboration itself comes only a few months after debates in the executive arm of the government had centred on how to create more restrictions for okadas in Osun.

Just at the tail end of December 2021, the Field Commandant of Osun’s Amotekun Corps, Comrade Amitolu Shittu, called for okadas to be banned from working at night in the state. Shittu argued that it was the way to go to curb criminal activities in the state.

The Osun government has had a very aggressive approach to commercial motorcycles in the state, which saw it, in 2020, halt the registration of okada riders for fear that many riders fleeing the Lagos ban on okadas might come into the state.

At the time, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Transport, Toke Olaniyan, sent out a statement to the press telling the populace that “any strange motorcycle operator should be reported immediately to  the security agencies.”

A new story: Tricycles seems like the next best thing for Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun.

Where is Lagos? MAX has joined a long list of ride and bike hailing companies that have moved away from Lagos as the government’s plan for e-mobility becomes more uncertain and bleak.

In 2019, after raising $7 million in a funding round led by Novastar Ventures and Japanese manufacturer, Yamaha, MAX was in talks with the Lagos government for what could have been a partnership. Still, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos pulled out, going on to ban MAX, GoKada and other ride-hailing companies in the state months later. This was after GoKada committed to planting 100,000 trees in Lagos over the next five years, starting with 10,000 trees in 2019.

Though Lagos launched its own ride-hailing company, Lagos Ride, a few weeks ago, it seems like the caravan might have left the state.

This partnership between MAX and the Osun government is only the beginning of more from MAX Drive. In December 2021, it announced that it had raised $31 million in a Series B investment round to expand into other African markets.

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