New Face Of Lagos Buses
Nigeria News check the past, the present and the future of Lagos transportation system.
Most adults grew up to know Lagos for yellow buses, traffic congestion and night dwellings. It is a city that never sleeps and as early as 3am the popular Mercedes 911 vehicle, also known as “Molue” would honk to wake workers for a new hustling day.
A “Molue” moved as many as 50 passengers once, including those standing and hanging. The ‘Molue” adventure could be dangerous but it was the cheapest and the commonest at that time.
Besides the fact that it was always congested, “Molue” created theatre of humour, commerce and amorous relationship.
Hawkers made sales in the bus; robbers attacked passengers and parted with their victims belongings; passengers also seduced themselves inside “Molue”.
These were some of the things that made “Molue” so popular and dangerous, yet it was a delight for a typical Lagos commuter transiting between Sango Ota and Oshodi; Ikorodu and Idumota; Orile Iganmu and Mile 2, Orile Agege and Adeniji Adele.
It took the introduction of Lagos Bus Rapid Transit, BRT and LAGBUS to face out ‘Molue” and in the last 17 years of the present fourth republic, Lagos has grown tremendously wearing a new look of a mega-city.
The successive state government came with the idea of Inter-modal Transport System that has refused to work. The idea was to integrate water, air and rail transportation into the road system but as at today, the government has not been able to get it right, making Lagos the only mega-city without workable rail system.
With a population of about 23 million people and 8 million people moving every one minute from one place to another, it becomes a great problem for the government to control traffic congestion, security and accident on the roads.
The immediate past government of Mr. Babatunde Fashola began the construction of the blue light rail line to run from Mile 2 through Orile-Iganmu to CMS.
Though work is still going on but there is no indication that it would be completed before the end of the first tenure of the present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The purpose is to move large number of commuters from points to points, thereby decongesting the roads and reducing travelling time for business to thrive. It has been a bit difficult achieving this.
Good, “Molue” is dead but it resurrected with “Keke Marwa and Keke NAPEP”; commercial motorcycle, also known as “Okada”. Smaller buses, “Danfo” bloomed resulting in highway robbery, “One Chance” and kidnapping.
The present government thought it wise that if it could not easily implement the intermodal transport system, it could initiate a new idea tagged, “Bus Reform Initiative”.
Here, the yellow “Danfo buses” would be phased out like “Molue” and replaced with modern buses in which the conductors would be made to wear uniform.
This formula would have database for the drivers and conductors. The buses can easily be identified with their officials to create comfort and security for commuters.
At the weekend, the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said that in six months, the government would provide the first set of 5, 000 buses to kick start the reform initiative.
“It will revolutionize the transportation system of the most populated state in Nigeria where 13, 000 people come in daily and refuse to go back,” he said.
He noted that Lagos being the fifth largest economy in Africa welcomes migrants as close as Ghana and as far as Egypt and South Africa on a daily basis for health, economic and business purposes.
At present, the state government is providing such facility as Mega Park in Oshodi and Ikeja where commuters would be taking off instead of standing beside the road where they are easily waylaid by hoodlums.
The government is also extending its tentacles to the water mode of transportation and it is building jetties and providing training for operators of boats and ferries.