By Nnamdi Odumody
Owing to the inadequacy of public transportation systems in Lagos State, provided by BRT and NURTW, the previous administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode conceived the Lagos Bus Services, a key component of the Lagos Bus Reform Project which will provide smart public transportation infrastructure to transform the commuters’ experiences in line with modern demands of smart cities. About one million commuters use the public transportation system in Lagos daily; the vehicles used in this system are supplied by both government and private entities.
The Lagos Bus Services is to provide an efficient alternative to the unregulated NURTW yellow buses, ride hailing taxis and the BRT. It will provide electronic ticketing to ensure prompt boarding of passengers and revenue protection from sharp practices as well as reducing the waiting time at bus stations. Its drivers and attendants will be trained and certified to offer passengers the best riding experience with safety and security guaranteed.
Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL) was incorporated on 1st August 2016 as a Transport Asset Acquisition, Operations, and Advisory Services Company to provide a much-needed compass and guide to the operation of Bus Services in Lagos.
As Lagos evolves into a smart city, LBSL is positioned to create a very competitive space in the Transport Industry where urban mobility guarantees a market for mass transit transport operators; with availability and pricing as key decision drivers. LBSL is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the orderliness, proper coordination and progress of the Transport Industry in Lagos.
The buses will have special sitting areas for the physically challenged, aged and pregnant women providing inclusion in public transportation services which is non-existent in Nigeria and has six emergency exits, first aid kit, free Wi-fi, inbuilt television, CCTV cameras connected to a remote operations centre which will monitor each activity which takes place. Also, it has USB charging ports on all the seats.
Its operations will be anchored through an Intelligent Transport System which will provide real time information to passengers such as estimated time of bus arrival and departure times as well as nature and cause of service delays.
The buses will be leased to reputable private bus operators who will use 3 smart depots located at Anthony Village, Ilupeju and Yaba for proper deployment, sustainability and maintenance while they will run special routes with smooth operational infrastructure such as bus shelters, laybys, bus flags, terminals and depots at strategic points along these routes.
The Lagos transportation paralysis will in no time become a thing of the past if the vision and mission behind the Lagos Bus Services is sustained irrespective of whoever mounts the saddle as Chief Executive of the state as it is essential in making the state a 21st Century Intelligent Economy.