BRT At One: Fashola Commends Leadership, Partners For Commitment
Mar 17, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday took a retrospective look at the last one year of the operation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the state, commending the leadership and partners responsible for running the system for their faith, commitment and unyielding resolve to succeed.
Governor Fashola who spoke at a Stakeholders meeting to mark the one year of the operation of BRT system at the LTV Grounds Agidingbi in Ikeja added that the state is committed to a sustainability and expansion of the BRT.
The Governor explained that some of the means towards achieving the expansion and sustainability are within the powers of the state government while some are not.
He added that towards the goal of expansion and sustainability, the State Government is already expanding the Funsho Williams Avenue and Murtala Mohammed Way in Oyingbo as well as ensuring that the Badagry Express way is also expanded to accommodate BRT buses.
He reiterated that a business investment opportunity lies in the local production of the buses in Nigeria as part of measures to expand the areas of coverage of the BRT because the state still has to contend with wholesome importation of the buses which takes a long time.
Governor Fashola said: “I am convinced that the future is not only assured but bright as Lagos is a market which is waiting to be taken. For the informed investor, if you have not booked a flight to Lagos, now is the time to do so”.
While thanking the Federal Government for releasing the abandoned jetties in support of the State’s water transportation initiatives, the Governor also appealed for a release of the several Work yards in the state to serve as strategic depots to keep the BRT and LAGBUS buses.
Governor Fashola commended the Pilots, Captains and other operatives for their diligent handling of the fleet of buses, but cautioned them to always treat members of the public with courtesy by being civil and knowing that they are customers always.
While reminding them that they owe other road users a responsibility to be careful on the road, the Governor said he wants all LAGBUS and LAMATA drivers to be the model of safe driving in Lagos at all times.
In his words: “I want all of you (LAMATA. LAGBUS) to be models of safe driving in Lagos. Please note that 99percent is not acceptable to us. If there is a point beyond excellence, we want to get there”.
He urged Nigerian graduates to have a rethink about the tendency to always travel abroad to engage in menial jobs like driving buses and cabs, but declining to do the same at home with LAGBUS and LAMATA where they would be better appreciated.
Governor Fashola added that sustainability of the BRT system also depends on the average car owner who needs to realize that the roads are common assets which everyone needs to have access to.
Said he: “I want to remind all car owners that the roads represent our common asset. Please leave the BRT dedicated lanes for the buses. Those who do not have cars also have a right to move on the roads which is through BRT buses”.
Governor Fashola thanked the people for enduring the difficulties which was experienced on Ikorodu road at the early stages of the BRT when everyone thought it was impossible.
He said a trip through Ikorodu road today, as well as Agege Motor road would show that it is getting better than it was two years ago, adding that since then, solid waste generation on the Agege Motor road has dropped by 36 percent while traffic has moved from 10kilometre per hour to 40 kilometre per hour.
Governor Fashola contended that the BRT buses are the cheapest bus service in Lagos and is not owned by the state but the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) ,adding that the state has only provided the infrastructure as well as training facilities for the Pilots and other operatives of the buses.
Responding to one of the questions during the interactive session, Governor Fashola said for so long Nigerians have been putting themselves down, saying if despite the absence of light rail or underground system in Lagos, traffic is still moving it means the country has something to offer to the world in terms of its ability to still manage traffic without a total breakdown.
Noting that everyone invariably contributes to the traffic situation in town, Governor Fashola added that Nigerians should come to the realization that they are paying for the kind of socio cultural orientation we have in terms of weekend engagements with its attendant toll on human and vehicular movement.
On general maintenance, he appealed to members of the public to stop the habit of venting anger on buses each time they have issues with the Captains or Pilots, saying in terms of maintenance of the buses, the state will soon open a maintenance workshop in Oshodi to service the buses.
On price increase, the Governor said the bus fares for BRT buses have not changed but that of LAGBUS has changed because some buses are air-conditioned while some are without air conditioners which has also become necessary to enable the operators remain in business.
On complaints of over speeding in some of the buses, Governor Fashola informed that speed governors would soon be fixed on the buses. He noted that just as the State’s initiatives in the Environment sector has led to the absorption of people described as “Area Boys’’ the Government’s reform efforts in the Transport Sector would invariably create a role to be meaningfully engage for the so called “touts” whose activities have become a source of concern to members of the public for some time now.
He added that those who chose not to take the opportunity of being meaningfully engaged once such policies are put in place would have the law to contend with.
The impressive event which had in attendance Stakeholders, Operatives of the BRT system and personalities like the wife of the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Chief (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu also witnessed the distribution of Uniforms and awards to BRT officials.