With Lagos now a mega-city, the need for high capacity buses for movement of people from one point to another has become necessary. This will improve the turnaround time of the economy and most importantly ease traffic.
Besides, to ensure this scheme is well-grounded, the state governor signed an Executive Order restricting the movement of commercial motorcycles, known as okada and commercial tricycle Keke Napep in six local government areas and nine local council development areas.
To fill the noticeable space created in the transport sector by the order, the Sanwo-Olu administration rolled out 65 high capacity buses to augment the existing fleet.
Water bodies and wetlands cover over 40 per cent of Lagos State, with lagoons and creeks accounting for over 22 per cent of this.
According to Sanwo-Olu, solving the Lagos transportation problem requires a multimodal approach.
To give a boost to this, the government formally inaugurated commercial waterways transportation with the official launch of eight speed boats. All the boats have comfortable seats, inbuilt Wi-Fi and modern technological devices that will aid smooth operations and safety.
Three of the boats have 60-passenger capacity; two were built to carry 50 passengers, while two others have capacities for 40 passengers. Also, three others could convey 30 passengers; four will carry 25 passengers while two will carry 25 passengers.
The six routes the boats will mostly ply include Ikorodu to Falomo; Ikorodu to Ebute-Ero and Marina; Ebute Ero to Ijegun Egba, Apapa and Marina; Bayeku to Oke Ira Nla and Falomo; Mile 2 to Marina, and Badore to Ijede.
The launch of the speed boats, which is being operated by the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY), effectively marked the commencement of commercial operations in waterways transportation by LAGFERRY.
In addition to the boats, a mobile application designed to facilitate easy access to water transportation services was also launched. Stakeholders agreed it was a remarkable way forward in the strategy to deliver an effective and integrated inter-modal transportation system in addressing the perennial issue of traffic congestion on the roads.
To sustain the momentum, more jetties are being built as well as the provision of more modern ferry boats to create opportunities for more private sector participation in water transportation. Plans are also in top gear to double the capacity in the LAGFERRY’s fleet from 14 to 30 boats. There are also plans to build modern jetties in Badagry, Lekki, and Ajegunle, just as the one being built in ljegun would soon be completed. Also, LAGFERRY is set to extend its services to all 40 water routes licensed for Lagos.
THE BLUE LINE RAIL
The government’s integrated mass transportation initiative has also recorded huge progress with the successful completion of the elevated sea-crossing track of the Blue Line Mass Transit project. Construction work has since begun on the final phase. The project is critical to the achievement of the administration’s prioritised pillar of traffic management and transportation in its six-point development agenda.
The construction of the Blue Line Rail tracks was implemented in strict adherence to the state’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which prescribes six rail lines and one monorail for the long-term strategic goals of the state. The aim is to reduce the travel time through an effective and efficient inter-modal transport system.
Indeed, the completion of the 380-meter long consistent bar extension of the sea crossing for the Blue Line project has heightened hopes about the completion of the project.
Already, the investment in ferry services is beginning to yield the desired results. The Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun said the company’s target is to move 480,000 people daily on the waterways of the state.
“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads every day, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 per cent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways. That gives us about 480,000 passengers.
“So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State. Mr Governor is focusing his energy on ensuring a multi-modal transport system with the abundance of water bodies we have. We are moving people and goods on pleasant experience through the inland waterways.
“The administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and tapping into the potential of inland water transport,” he said.
Experts in transportation agree that with an efficient intermodal transport network, better days are ahead for the state and the people.