Traffic jam: Lagosians abandon roads for water transport
Lagosians have opted for river transport because of the chaotic traffic jam that characterizes the country’s commercial hub.
Indeed, it is now a nightmare to move from one end of the city to the other, not thanks to the recent heavy rains, as well as the expansion of roads, that the state government is is launched simultaneously.
Residents of Ikorodu, Badore, Okokomaiko, Agbara and Badagry regions are the most affected. In these areas, residents only access their offices and places of business in areas such as Lagos Island, Apapa, Victoria Island and Lekki via the busy Third Mainland Bridge, Ikorodu Road and the Badagry-Mile Highway 2.
The Lagos State government simultaneously awarded the contract to rehabilitate and extend the state’s main roads and drainages to facilitate traffic, a situation that exacerbated the situation.
Construction work underway on the Mile 2 highway in Okokomaiko has claimed several lives.
Although the construction of the Mile 2-Badagry Expressway by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) has extended beyond Okomaiko, the confusion created by some gaps left in Volks, Iyana-Iba and Okomaiko by the contractor is the main cause of the traffic jam on this section of the road.
The highway between Okokomaiko and Volks has become almost impassable. A ride that used to take motorists and commuters less than two hours now takes more than three hours, as vehicles compete with commercial motorcyclists to cover the wrong portions.
This has worsened the situation as road users are forced to travel several distances to cross the areas where the traffic jam is most visible.
Daily trust Saturday reports that commercial bus operators have taken advantage of this confusion to increase fares. For example, the fare for Mile 2 in Okokomaiko was N200, but with the current traffic situation commuters have to pay between N300 and N400 for the same distance.
To overcome the situation, many commuters have abandoned the roads as they waste precious working hours in traffic jams. They now use the 18 and 24 seat plastic fiber ferries.
Abdul Subaru, who works as a customs clearance agent at Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaports, said: “Now that I have found out about the ferry service at Agbara Pier, it has reduced my burden. The journey is generally risky, but it takes me about 45 minutes from Agbara to get from Liverpool to Apapa. The traffic jam on the road lasts more than five hours. Although it is cheaper to take the road, it would be at the risk of losing your job.
“I started going to work by boat many years ago. At first it was scary, but now it’s fun because I see different riverside villages every day. Yes, some people may have lost their lives on some trips, but that can’t stop me from going by ferry.
Another commuter, Sani Idrisu, said: “Since I discovered the ferry alternative, I now find it easy to go to work in Apapa. The only thing is that you have to be aware of the time. The ferry service from Agbara to Apapa starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Once you miss it around 5:30 p.m. in Liverpool or Tin Can when you get home, the only option you have left is traffic confusion.
Samson Chukwudi, who lives in Ikorodu and works on the island, said it took him less than an hour to get from Badore Pier to Ebutte Pier.
“Now I hardly go to work by road since I started using the ferry. Some say it’s risky, but for me it’s part of life. What concerns me are the flooded newspapers causing accidents on this road. The government should help clear the submerged woods to make the water safe, ”he said.
The coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the South West, Ibrahim Farinloye, admitted that water transport can be prone to disasters due to many factors.
“Most of the life jackets used by boat operators are either outdated or fake. Sometimes operators carry more passengers than approved by the management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) or the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA).
“The navigation is also aggravated by the activities of the dredgers who lay pipes indiscriminately without putting up any warning signs. The boats capsize as they roll over submerged pipes.
“In addition, the nets abandoned by local fishermen pose navigation problems. Regulators can do more if they enforce all shipping laws, ”he said.
In response to increasing demands from commuters, Lagos ferry services, Lagferry, an agency of the Lagos State Department of Transportation, has concluded plans to deploy more ferries in its commercial fleet.
Lagferry operators have revealed that they are targeting 480,000 passengers per day on the waterways. This, he said, was aimed at improving the state’s transportation system.
Lagferry Managing Director Mr. Ladi Balogun and LASWA Managing Director Mr. Damilola Emmanuel made the disclosure during a joint press briefing on the commercial launch of LASWA operations.
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