Mass transit transportation in
Lagos has evolved over the years. There are generations that were driven around
(lorry) vehicles which
transported people from Lagos Island to Mushin, Agege because Yaba was the
Photo credit- nairalnd
The first organised bus service
was provided by J.N. Zarpas, a company owned by Greeks expatriates. The Zarpas
dominated the Lagos transportation scene, their garage is around Epetedo on the
Island until their buses were acquired by the Lagos Town Council in 1958 to
form the Lagos Municipal Transport. According to Pa Ayo Odeku, the fare between
Lagos Island and Yaba was half a penny in 1945 when he was a pupil. However,
the Lagos Municipal Transport Service, like every other government venture, died
after a while.
(minibuses) evolves and it was considered swift; the
minibuses got the name from the rough mode of driving these vehicles, danfo lo gbe yo, danfo gedegbe
out alone; he came unscathed). At that same time, molue
(a corrupt localized way of saying mould it) operated by the
Bensons and others was introduced, it was cheaper for the masses to board. Renowned
musician like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti described the life in the molue in his song
as, ‘49 sitting, 99 standing, suffering and smiling.’
Photo credit- Naija Chronicles
The government of Alh. Lateef
Kayode Jakande, wanted to introduce Lagos Metro, which is a combination of
Tram, Light rail and Mass transit, but it did not succeed because he did not
get the support of the Federal Government. Despite these challenges, the Lagos State
Government introduced the Lagos State Transport Corporation (LSTC) which was a
life saver in the 80 till the early 1990s when went moribund.
At the return of democratic
government in 1999, LAGBUS Asset Management Limited
was created to operator LAGBUS which has metamorphosed over time in conveying
Lagosians to and fro the state. These buses have saved a lot of people spending
up all their funds on fuelling their cars and getting it used up in the
perennial traffic gridlock which is just being resolved gradually by the
administration of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode.
The megacity status of Lagos has
been consolidated by the strategies put in place by different administrations.
There are a lot of operators and this has brought diversity into achieving the
purpose of moving people around. There are government buses; franchise
operators; corporate and individual operators operating within the state. However, these buses are regulated by LAMATA (Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority)
|Recently introduced airconditioned Yutong bus|
While studying Lagos roads, there
are some buses that are air-conditioned while there are some that are not.
Another noteworthy feature is that there are different brands on Lagos roads;
some of the brands include Daewoo, Higer, Hyundai, Yutong, Ashok Leyland, Tata and
Marcopolo. However, some of these brands have different models on the road.
These buses are heavily branded;
the adverts ranges from different industries which include health industries
especially pharmaceutical companies and their products; Religious events from
both Christians and Muslims; entertainment industry largely cinema release of
movies; financial industries principally new products, educational sector and promotions from banks
Interesting, the ‘unsophisticated’ operators of these buses now have women as conductors. It is a means of gainful employment; it is a way of challenging the status quo ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better’. In fact, these ladies are more aggressive than the men who typically do it.
|A female conductor |
Value Media has introduced BRT TV
which has strengthened mass communications and education while in transit. The
TV service strengthens the adverts on the body of the vehicles. As such, you
have no option than to consume information from both the interior and the
exterior of the vehicle. This TV service has helped in promoting musical video
of various artistes; comedy skits and some adverts also.
This service is yet to attain
international status because Lagosians have not yet imbibed orderliness in
boarding these vehicles; they stand in these buses at volition. The buses do
not have a unified ticketing systems; some operators issues tickets in the
buses while some issue tickets through a point of sales operator. All these
disorderliness need to be addressed to increase the standard of mass transit in
|BRT Ticket in Primero TSL buses from Ketu to Fadeji|
|BRT Ticket in LAGBUS buses from Ketu|
Also, there is a need to standardize
the bus service by the operators, buses needs to have numbers and be able to
move from one locations to another as the current bus structure is limited to
certain areas and routes. Likewise, the
buses are inadequate for the 20 million people residing in Lagos.
In all, Lagos has laid the
standard for other South-Western states and the commercial nerve of Nigeria.
Certainly, mass transit is also in transit because it will soon became more
sophisticated; reliable and timely; this will in turn redefine people’s psyche
as we collectively build a new Nigeria