By Kazeem Akande
Lagos – The Lagos State Government says work is in progress to integrate the rail, road and water transport systems to address the persistent gridlocks in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Transport, Mr Ladi Lawanson, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.
“In order to get everything right, the state government implementing a master plan to integrate the major transportation systems to ensure free flow of traffic and curb incessant gridlocks.
“The transportation master plan involves the three major modes of transportation: the rail, road and water.
“For the road transport, work is going on to ensure the transportation sector is transformed to the modern system which is practised globally.
“The road system has the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which we have been using for a while and the state served as the operator.
“We were running it like that until we found out that the method was not suitable because government, to be frank, has no business to be in a business.
“Rather, the government has decided to opt out and now be a regulator,” he said.
Lawanson also said the state government was committed to ensuring the safety of the people using the waterways as their means of transportation within the state.
According to him, to tackle emergencies on the waterways more efficiently, the Lagos State government is to procure life-saving, quick response boats.
“The state government is working on bringing ideals and best practices on water transportation as the sub-sector requires millions dollars of investment, if we are to do it right.
“We are going to procure life-saving boats, top speed boats and quick response boats such that, anytime there is an emergency, we will rescue promptly without recording any casualty,” he told NAN.
Lawanson said, “The government also distributes free life jackets to jetties periodically to save lives on waterways.
“There is at least a guard in every jetty in the state to properly kit passengers with life jackets before any journey because safety of life and property is very important.”
The commissioner said the government would set up a security institution on water transport, but that the institution would require a lot of training because water transportation was hazardous.
According to him, the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a French firm, Alstom, to complete the Blue Rail project after a technical review.
“Before now, what was done was civil works; other components including signal, electrical and rolling stock have not been covered.
“Alstom is very good in the different aspects of the technology required to make it a success,’’ he said.
Lawanson told NAN that discussions with potential partners and financiers had also commenced on the Red Line aspect of the project which was referred to as ‘Phase Two.’
According to him, it will run from Marina to Agbado on the northern flank of Lagos.
“Putting a rail project together requires a lot of patience and resourcefulness in terms of financing, where the financing will come from and who we are going to use,” the commissioner disclosed.