BRT, A Huge Success Says Fashola At World Bank Forum
Mar 31, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday in Washington described the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system launched a little over a year ago by his administration as a huge success.
Governor Fashola who spoke while making a presentation on the “Transformational lmpact of Transport Projects in Lagos” at a three-day World Bank Transport Forum with the theme “Transport: Invisible Force – Visible Impact”, described transportation as the cornerstone of modern civilization adding that the quality of life of the people is dependent on the quality and efficiency of transportation available.
The Governor, who described the BRT as the first segregated Bus Route in sub-Saharan Africa , said the scheme which, according to him, has highlighted the advantages of Public Private Partnership in Mass Transit Public Transportation, has impacted positively on the live of the average Lagosian.
Such impacts, he said include creation of 12000 direct and indirect jobs , and the fact that it has brought about significant lifestyle changes such as park and ride and the orderly movement of 52 million passengers in one year.
Others include time management for commuters and better family life as well as environmental benefits through reduced noise and air pollution and health benefit through reduced respiratory diseases.
Accompanying his illustration with visual clips of the changes brought by the introduction of the BRT, Governor Fashola declared: “Our efforts thus far have been well received by Lagosians who have responded by expressing satisfaction when polled and regularly offer unsolicited words of satisfaction and encouragement to Government”.
Buttressing his assertion, the Governor quoted a response from a respondent on the BRT initiative thus: “I have to make special mention of the BRT project – I am always pleased to tell anyone that would listen that in my 39 years, this is the first policy project that I have experienced from any government in any era of country’s history to give the poor man advantage which the rich do not enjoy. Today Lagosians who used to take four buses in perilous condition over three and half hours to get from Ikorodu to CMS between 4.30am and 8.00am now leave Ikorodu at 6.30am and arrive at work before 8.00am… A reading culture is being enhanced by the BRT phenomenon alone. The orderly queues have also proven that when any people (Nigerians also) are given value for money they will maintain requisite order and decorum”.
Governor Fashola also quoted some text messages to him from numerous Lagos residents who expressed joy and satisfaction at not only the BRT initiative but the various people oriented projects, especially as it concern transportation.
The State Government, Governor Fashola said, plans to expand the BRT route to extend to Yaba-Oyingbo which covers eight kilometers and from Eric Moore in Surulere to Badagry Expressway which covers 60 kilometres.
Reviewing the changes in Lagos since the seventies, Governor Fashola asserted that Lagos which between this period moved from being the capital to the commercial powerhouse of Nigeria is contributing 32 percent of the country’s GDP, 60 percent of her value added manufacturing and 50 percent of her port revenue.
He said within the same period, the State’s population increased by 300 percent to 18 million with the population expected to reach 25 million by 2015 when the city becomes the world’s largest mega city after Tokyo , Japan and Mumbai in India .
The Governor, noted that that his administration was not resting on its oars as it had made significant progress in its Water Transportation and lntra City Rail Initiatives which represent the other phases of the Lagos Multi-Modal Transportation Vision of which the BRT is an integral part. Governor Fashola said the jetties at Ipakodo in Badore and Osborne which Terminal buildings are currently being constructed would have the capacity to cater for up to 10,000 passengers per hour with berthing facilities for four 250 passenger capacity vessels.
According to him, rehabilitation work is progressing, on existing jetties at Mile 2, Oworonsoki, Ajegunle, Marina, Ebute-Ero etc, while dredging of Inland Waterways is also on-going to facilitate navigation.
Other far reaching steps taken include the establishment of Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority as a regulatory authority and issuance of concession to Ferry Operators, adding that this mode of transportation would impact on the people in the area of job creation through dredging companies, Boat operators, Life Guards, Vendors as well as merchants at Terminals while also lifestyles are expected to change.
Governor Fashola said plans are at an advanced stage for the implementation of two urban rail metro lines System-Blue and Red Metro lines – with the expected capacity of 13 stations each and 1.6 million passengers per day, adding that scheduled work is to start in the next few months while operations are planned to commence in 2011.
The Governor also spoke on the impact of his administration’s intervention in Oshodi which for many years had constituted a dent on the state and nation’s image because the Agege Motor Road , a major access route from the Murtala Mohammed Airport was converted into an illegal market.
According to him, the intervention through removal of the illegal market and securing the environment saved the State Government nearly N17billion ($120m) which would otherwise have been expended on alternative road bypass infrastructure, adding that it has also resulted in 300 percent increase in traffic flow along the corridor as well as reduced congestion along parallel corridors because of the choice it now gives to commuters.
Other benefits according to the Governor include reduction in waste generation, 40 percent reduction in carbon emitted by vehicles, manifest evidence of crime reduction as well as large public buy-in and call for similar action in other parts of the State.
On road construction, the Governor said massive upgrade and expansion of existing road networks are going on to improve vehicular and pedestrian carriage capacity as well as construction of link bridges to facilitate inter-connectivity, change of road design across the State to improve quality and deliver lifestyle changes and maximizing capacity of existing road infrastructure to reduce congestion and improve vehicular flow.
Citing opening of street gates and removal and resettlement of street traders as well as engagement of the Private Sector in road development as some of the strategies employed by his administration to manage traffic in the State, Governor Fashola declared: “We operate Transportation in a most challenging terrain that has suffered from decades of infrastructure deficit while we are racing to abridge deficit of public transportation infrastructure, through the development of a contemporary multi-modal transportation network and the development of technology, we are keeping road traffic flowing through mainly manual method” .
“Our success underscores the fact that we have some lessons and enormous experiences to share about our traffic management strategies and capacities” the Governor said expressing gratitude to the World Bank for its technical and financial support to the Lagos State Government especially through LAMATA.
Governor Fashola made the presentation alongside the Secretary of Transport of Mexico City, Navarro Benitez and former Secretary of State of Curitiba in Brazil, Eduardo Gulma Maraes all of whom ,according to the Sector Manager, Urban Development at the World Bank, Abha Joshi-Ghani were invited as a result of the vision with which they had positively transformed their societies.