BRT: A BLUR DREAM
Although the long-awaited operation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) introduced during the erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has begun, it is yet to be commissioned by the governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. However, one prominent thing that keeps bothering Lagosians like myself is if this initiative will be successful.
The BRT which original meaning is Better Rapid Transit is an initiative of an international organization (www.gobrt.org), to solve the transportation problems of major and mega cities of the world. Once these cities adopt the BRT, they either retain the name or give it a desired name. Presently, this transportation initiative has been adopted in more than a hundred mega cities in the world such as Johannesburg, South Africa; Colorado, USA etc.
In Lagos, the BRT which was established under the auspices of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Agency (LAMATA), has its water and rail versions with the aim of giving a lasting solution to he problems posed by transportation in the state. The state government hopes to create an easy, affordable, fast and cost-effective transportation for its populace.
However, apart from the objectives which the Lagos State government hopes to publicly achieve, I have found cause to believe that there are some other reasons attached which were never mentioned by the state government. From its recent operations, commuters are made to line up, even when buses are not available, before they could enter the LAGBUS (as the BRT buses are fondly called). This reminds me of the Buhari/Idiagbon military regime where civil servants were made to line up before entering buses. This regime instilled discipline in Nigerians since defaulters of the queues were duly punished. The regime eventually set up War Against Indiscipline (WAI).
Well, the BRT is a good approach to put a stop to the indisciplined nature of Lagosians rushing while about to enter a bus. However, the instilling of discipline in Lagosians will surely be short-lived by the failure of the BRT.
Although a private company, Lagos State Asset Management, manages the operation of the BRT it still portends possible failure considering the fact that cities that BRT is used have very broad roads to even contain the road demarcation for the BRT buses. This is not the same in Lagos because our roads are not broad yet they were demarcated. Even RCF (Nig) Ltd, the contractor given the duty of creating segregation barriers and widening the road could do little to widen the roads.
Basically, the issue of a faster transportation system will be forfeited because the road made available for private and commercial vehicle is not wide enough. Hence, these people will always resort to using the BRT lanes that are set up only for the BRT buses.
By: Oritoke Ademola