About 1.6 million people are transported on Lagos roads, daily. With overstretched infrastructure and facilities, especially in the transport sector, the need for diversification becomes imperative. Amid the challenges commuters face day-to-day, MUYIWA LUCAS examines the options available to the average Lagosian.
It has become the “new normal.” The reign of the new Coronavirus is gradually changing the face of transportation in Lagos State. Unlike the usual ugly transportation scene in the state, and also the country, which the late Afro-Beat king Fela Anikulapo Kuti captured as “49 sitting, 99 standing”, about the jam-packing of passengers in commercial buses, COVID-19 has brought about a new order.
These days, commercial buses are mandated to carry 50 per cent or less of their total capacity. Arising from this, several vehicles now run on the road operating as commercial transporters. Still, the cost of transportation has more than doubled, thereby eating deeper into the pockets of the overstretched commuters.
Stakeholders in the transportation industry, however, opined that the present transportation situation in the state further accentuates the need for the government to ensure that the state opens up other means of transportation to the public to facilitate ease of movement.
Such initiatives, they contend, would also entail that proper infrastructure is put in place to ensure its efficiency. Currently, the road infrastructure in the state is overstretched, leading to congestion and gridlock that have become major features of public transportation in the city-state.
For Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu /Dr. Obafemi Hamzat administration, traffic management and transportation was the very first pillar of their THEMES Agenda. In the words of the Governor: “Provision of roads and critical infrastructure remains the cornerstone of this administration’s Development Agenda, known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S.”
So, how well has the state government responded to this challenge considering that it was part of its fulcrum in the present administration’s build-up to ascension to power?
“Our goal is to develop a reliable intermodal system of transportation. That is why we are investing in the waterways and light rail system so that we can move people not only on the road but on water and rail. The blue line will be completed soon and we will have a complete integrated urban transportation system,” Sanwo-Olu told stakeholders.