By Theodore Opara
With about 20 million people occupying 3,345 square kilometers, movement has always been a challenge in metropolitan Lagos State. So when the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, presented the two-year scorecard of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the transportation sector recently, the master plan can only be described as bold, but streamlined.
Whatever misgivings come with leaders’ ability to deliver on plans, the Lagos State government’s deployment of technology to integrate road, rail and water modes of transportation is seductive. The picture Oladeinde painted will make the movement of people, goods and services across the state effective, efficient, fluid and economical.
Meanwhile, below is a video of traffic chaos in Ikotun, one of the many gridlock points in the state:
For the master plan, first, the state set out to complete existing projects such as the rail ‘blue and red lines’, which is part of the inter-modal transportation system the government set out in the strategic transport master plan. Stipulated in this master plan are the construction of six rails, a monorail, 40 BRT and over 20 motor routes.
Explaining how the network of routes works, Oladeinde said there would be three categories of buses. The first is the BRT that will ply the more busy routes.
Then there are the connectors or feeder routes, through which buses will bring people to the BRT and to the rail. The third are the “First and Last Man” buses that will take people from their communities of residence to the connectors/feeder routes and then to the BRT.
The commissioner said: “The rail line would begin from Agbado, extending to Oyingbo. But it would share the rail line from Iddo to Ibadan that was built by the Federal Government. An agreement to this was signed recently.”
There are eight stations along the route— Agbado, Iju, Agege, Oshodi, Mushin, Ikeja, Yaba and Oyingbo. The rail is expected to ferry over 500,000 people daily in addition to cutting travel time from two hours to 40 minutes, with the commissioner adding that level crossings are giving way to over-passes.
These rail and road modes, he said, would be connected to water transportation, which was the drawback in the past, because people had to wait long hours to connect to the next mode of transportation.
“One of the drawbacks we had with water transportation was that it was not connected. So, each time you go to a terminal and want to travel to another terminal it could take you an hour before you find a connecting mode to take you to your final destination. We are working with Lagos Bus Services Limited to ensure that every bus terminal is connected,” Dr. Oladeinde added.
For the trucks and articulated vehicles notorious for everything anti-smooth movement, he said the government has also produced special plate numbers to enable easy tracking. These will be in threes— one each mounted in front, rear and on top of the vehicle.
Further measures for controlling traffic include addressing 60 gridlock points on the state’s roads; 28 of them completed, while 22 are still be worked on. The gridlock points include Maryland, Allen Avenue, Ikotun, Lekki first and second roundabouts, Abraham Adesanya, Pen Cinema, Apongbon, Eko bridges, Sandfill Junction, Oniru, Four Points Sheraton Junction, Akin Bolade Junction, Muri Okunlola Roundabout, and Ligali Ayorinde, among others.
The population of Lagos State will keep increasing, putting pressure on its entire infrastructure. Transportation is one of the key sectors that will either make or mar the vision of the state as a megacity.
So the next thing is to hope (and pray) that the master plan comes to fruition. Of the about 24 million trips the battered sector handles daily, about 15 million of them are public transport trips, and this is set to grow in the next 10 years— and will continue to increase. If this master plan remains a mirage, every other sector will feel the brunt like a wallop.