Lagos launches 500 First and Last Mile buses as alternative to Okada

Lagos launches 500 First and Last Mile buses as alternative to Okada

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has launched 500 units of First and Last Mile (FLM) buses, which will be deployed to communities as alternative means of transportation in addressing the security threat posed by commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada.

The Governor also inaugurated brand-new 100 high- and medium-capacity buses into the fleet of Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) to replace vehicles burnt at BRT stations during the wave of violence that marred the EndSARS protests in October 2020.

READ: Lagos to reform bus segment, to phase out one-bus ownership

Sanwo-Olu said the mini buses would address Okada-related crises that had generated widespread concern on safety among residents, adding that they will offer services which the high-capacity buses were not designed for.

The Governor pointed out that the first fleet of buses will kick off the operation of the scheme with the fleet expected to gradually increase to 5,000 buses in the coming months.

READ: Bus fare in Nigeria surges by 78% YoY in February 2021

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu said, “The launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme today is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life. It is also in fulfilment of one of the measures we promised as a solution to the security situation discussed at our recent Security Stakeholders’ Town Hall Meeting.

READ: Lagos to launch new mini buses, to phase out ‘Okada’, ‘Marwa’

“As a responsible Government, we are launching this scheme in response to two major issues. One is the alarming statistics of fatal accidents recorded from the operations of Okadas in Lagos between 2016 and 2019, and the use of Okadas for the facilitation of crime across the metropolis. The goal is the full implementation of a safer and more efficient alternative transport solution that takes out the need for Okadas and replaces them with safer buses that will help us curb incidents of Okada-related accidents, crimes and robberies.”

A ride on the FLM buses comes with a premium insurance policy on the lives of passengers and drivers. The operation and maintenance of the buses have been handed over to private operators for efficiency and turnover. The Governor said that private operators will recruit personnel for the management of the scheme.

READ: Lagos launches 14 ferries to tackle gridlock, says Okada ban irreversible 

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had been working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) as major stakeholders in the State’s Bus Reform Initiative (BRI) being implemented by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

Sanwo-Olu directed the local councils’ Chairmen to ensure that the roads are free from encumbrances likely to impede the smooth running of the FLM buses

The Governor warned that driving against traffic now attracts a jail term of 3 years for repeated offenders with first-time offenders liable to a one-year jail term in addition to their vehicle being forfeited to the government.

READ: Lagos to construct a metro rail line at Lekki Free Trade Zone

The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation Dr Frederic Oladeinde said the scheme was a component of the State’s transport system meant to offer relief to residents in the hinterland in accessing the standard transport corridors through safe means.

Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, said the FLM buses operations would start immediately in Zones 2,3,4,5, and 7 captured in the first phase of the bus scheme.

READ: Lagos issues 3-day ultimatum to squatters at Iganmu under bridge, to remove trucks, illegal structures

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that about a week ago, as a fallout of the stakeholders meeting on security organized by the Lagos State Government, Governor Sanwo-Olu had announced that the state will be launching the first and last mile buses to ply the routes which the commercial motorcycles popularly called okada are plying and serve as alternatives to them.
  • The FLM vehicles, assembled locally, are mini-passenger buses (between 7- and 11-seater), which will operate on 286 community routes and will take passengers from closest points to their areas of residence to standard transportation corridors.
  • Payment for FLM services will be through an automated payment system, using Cowry Travel Cards.  Cowry Travel Card holders who use them on BRT buses and standard route buses can use their cards on FLM buses.
  • For ease of operation of the scheme, the State Government delineated the FLM’s corridors into 8 zones, comprising Ikeja and Ketu (Zone 1), Oshodi, Mushin, and Surulere (Zone 2), Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo (Zone 3) and Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju Lekki (Zone 4).
  • Others are Iyana-ipaja and Agege (Zone 5), Mile 2, Iyana-Iba and Ajeromi (Zone 6), Ikorodu (Zone 7) and Epe and Badagry (Zone 8).
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