By Eddie Alegbe
Residents of Lagos State have been assured that the state would soon have an effective transportation system that would make life easy for them as the sector is undergoing a massive reform.
Speaking with THISDAY, the Chairman of the Transport Committee in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Temitope Adewale, explained that the state would soon have an integrated transportation system for the benefit of the people.
Adewale, representing Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 1, explained that the state government was not interested in making life miserable for its citizens, and that it was looking for a way to make life better for the people.
He pointed out that the state government has been subsidising the transport sector for a long time.
“When COVID-19 pandemic came, the government felt we should reduce the number of passengers in a bus for social distancing and for COVID-19 rules.
“For instance, a bus that carries 30 passengers now reduced to 15 passengers due to the pandemic, and the owner still buys a full tank of fuel at N15,000 he needs to find a way out.
“We also thought of subsidising the cost of buying tickets for BRT buses.
“The transport sector in the state is going through a lot at the moment on remodelling and a lot of money is being spent on the sector so that we will provide comfortable and accessible mass transit system for the people within the state,” he said.
While revealing that the state government had just released 550 buses into the system, the lawmaker said that Primero buses with fleets of commercial luxury buses are not government owned, and that they might not survive if they were not supported by the government.
He said further that the government was also working on bus operating companies, which he said is an arrangement between the government and the private sector to increase the capacity of mass transit in the state.
“We need a collaboration among the government, the people and the media. The Primero buses are blue because they came in blue, and they are being maintained at the LAMATA yard, which is owned by the state government.
“LAMATA was created and funded by the World Bank with the support of the Lagos State Government to provide transport infrastructure in the state.
“People felt that these buses are BRT buses whereas they are owned by Primero.
“However, there are two sides to the story. There is a company that was known as LAGBUS, they have their own buses and these buses look alike and people don’t know the difference between them and BRT buses.
“This is why the Transport Reform Bill that we are working on will soon come to life.
“We will have bus operating companies and some buses would be strictly designated to particular routes. We will demarcate the routes and they will be coordinated.
“By then, we will have competitions, and LAMATA will regulate the prices,” he said.
Adewale added that the state Transport Reform Sector would not come into effect overnight.
The lawmaker added that the government would make sure that many private cars are off the roads as much as possible.
He revealed that the state government had just injected 550 buses into the system and that medium scale buses and smaller buses were on the way.
He recalled that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu just launched the Cowry Card, which he said is like the Oyster Card being used in the United Kingdom; adding that it is an integrated travel card.
According to him, “You can use it on the rail system, waterways and buses. We have made provision for it in the budget for an integrated mass transit system in the state.
“Where the rail stops, there would be a bus to pick the people at that bus stop, which is why it is called terminal. Where the jetty stops, there would be a bus to pick you up. These are the things that we are working on. The people of Lagos must be patient.
“We have an estimated 6,000 people entering Lagos State everyday and they would move from one location to another. So there is an increasing need for movement and mobility within the state.
“The best we can do is to have an effective mass transit so that we can have a fewer usage of the road. When everybody is going to Ikeja now, they will go in one bus. Instead of 30 people going to Ikeja with 30 cars, they will go in one bus.”