A former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, has suggested various ways the Lagos government can address the perennial traffic problems facing commuters in the state.
Mr Fashola gave the recommendation when he spoke as a special guest of honour and lead speaker at the 4th Lagos Traffic Radio Lecture Series last Thursday.
The programme, themed “Lagos Beyond Roads: The Intermodal Transport Option,” held at the Radio Lagos/ Eko FM Multipurpose Hall, LTV 8 Compound, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos. Mr Fashola who served as governor of Lagos State from 2007 to 2015, spoke on the topic “Intermodal Mobility for Lagos Today and Tomorrow.”
According to the former governor, to address traffic issues in Lagos, the government would need to expedite actions on completing the Lagos ferry terminal, ensure rail connectivity in the various divisions of Lagos, expand the Bus Rapid Transit system and invest in transport education.
He said: “The first recommendation I will make is one that urges the prioritisation of the completion of the light rail project. There are many lessons that will benefit us as we engage the 6 (six) other lines that will ultimately ensure rail connectivity for all divisions of Lagos.
“There is already a coach that carries 1,200 passengers that was fully paid for since 2015 in the custody of manufacturers. This can form the basis of test running the existing 7 k.m track now that the state government has also returned to completing its own section of the Eric Moore – Badagry road and the Federal Government has taken action to complement the state work on the road.
“I am mindful that the Federal Government is also committed to her own rail initiatives and that resources are scarce. Nevertheless, from Mumbai to Dubai to Washington DC, all the inter-city rail projects have massive if not total Federal Government support.
“The Lagos intra-city rail project (and those of any other state) require and will benefit from some federal government muscle to see them to conclusion and operation.”
On the issue of the ferry terminal, the former minister of Works, Power and Housing, suggested that this should be complemented by an open process for licensing ferry operators in the way buses and taxis are licensed to operate on roads.
The BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) scheme must be expanded by building other routes to other parts of the state, to complement Ikorodu and Lagos Island, the former governor explained. He added that the route franchising system started by LAGBUS in 2013 must be revisited and improved upon.
“It provided operators with an opportunity to invest, buy their own buses, employ their own staff and operate Lagos routes under a public-private partnership (PPP),” he said.
The former governor explained further that there are motorists driving on Lagos roads who do not know the difference between the fast and the slow lane, adding that articulated and other big trucks traditionally drive on the fast lane but they are not fast vehicles and should not be there.
“This is a cause of traffic slow down and invariably congestion,” he said. “Also lane discipline is manifestly absent and we see vehicles driving right in the middle of the road and one vehicle occupying lanes meant for two vehicles. This also slows down movement and causes congestion. Knowledge of and obedience of traffic signs and traffic lights is yet another area of urgent need.”
Mr Fashola advised that the Lagos traffic radio can help by initiating new programmes that will help to educate the public about the DOs and DONTs on our motorways. This, he said, can be complemented with quiz competitions and sponsorship by major brands where the participants can win token prizes for correct answers in order to stimulate public interest.
“The brand sponsors can fund this as corporate social responsibility and possibly claim tax relief.
“The government in my view must challenge the State Ministry of Education (in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation) to introduce traffic education into the school curriculum drawn from the Highway Code and the Traffic Law, for primary, secondary and tertiary schools.
“If this is properly implemented, I am optimistic that within a decade or less, we would have produced a new generation of Lagos motorists who are more educated and aware of their rights and duties on our motorways,” Mr Fashola said.