By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Lagos State Government is about to sign up water transportation system deal as a component of its on-going Multi-model and Integrated Transportation policy.
Mr. Ladi Lawson, Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State, disclosed this recently while explaining the reason for the state government’s bus reform policy.
“We want to use all benefits of nature” for an effective mass transportation system in the state, Lawson said.
He described the state’s new mass transport initiative as being “all about putting dignity back into the lives of our people.”
Lawson expressed disappointment that some people have described the modern bus terminals built by the state government as “a mere bus stop”.
He described the critics of the complex bus terminals as a class of people who do not face the transportation challenges the average Nigerians experience on daily basis as the commute to their respective destinations.
The commissioner said the modern bus terminals are befitting facilities put in place to enable the average Lagosian commute in buses in relative comfort.
“We all know the old model of ‘danfo’ and ‘molue’ were not sustainable and befitting to a city like Lagos as a global centre of influence especially in this part of the world,” Lawson stressed.
He, therefore, disclosed that a fleet of over 800 buses ordered by the state government would arrive in a month’s time or earlier to make access to mass transportation available to the middle and lower income bracket people in the state.
The commissioner explained the reason why the government is investing in such expansive and extensive multi-model and integrated mass transportation project. “In countries the world over where there is development there has always been the need to have a coordinated mass transportation system,” according to him. “The model we have now is not sustainable.”
In expression of concern for the regular influx of migrants to Lagos, Lawson emphasized that building modern bus terminals is meant to meet the mobility needs of the people.
“I’m sure we’re all aware that within the states we have in our country Lagos State is the smallest state in terms of land area with the biggest population. The population keeps growing every day. At the last count, 23 million people,” he elaborated.
He pointed out that about 89 people who come into Lagos every hour have no intension of going back to where they came from. “Lagos State has a very finite land area and it is never gonna grow, and, therefore, we see on a daily basis thousands and thousands of cars pouring into our streets,” Lawson narrated.
According to him, in the past in terms of land, what the state had was land transportation system without the facilities to operate an efficient road transport system.
He said that in the modernization process, dedicated buses will ply dedicated routes and dedicated lanes.
“We introduced the bus reform system. LAGBUS has transformed into the Lagos Bus Services Limited,” Lawson related.
So far, 13 bus terminals have started and have reached different stages of completion, the commissioner for transportation said, adding: Ikeja, Yaba, Ilupeju bus terminals are already in operation.