On Monday at the 14th Annual Lecture of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) that held at the Muson Centre, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode made a promise to ban the most popular means of transport in Lagos State, the Danfo.
According to the Lagos State governor, for him, seeing all these yellow buses and Okada and all kinds of tricycles when we claim we are a mega city, is a sign of the faulty connectivity that we are running. The governor believes that the solution to the faulty connectivity is to make to sure that these Danfo buses are cleared out of Lagos by the year’s end.
Now, considering the fact that this is the major means of transportation for the millions of people who live, work and commute around Lagos every day, you must wonder how the Governor intends to achieve this feat? We wondered too. So of course, we went in search of answers.
Apparently, the Lagos State government has been on this for a while. Far back as 2016, barely a year into the administration. To be totally fair, though, the previous administration must have laid the foundation for this with its game-changing introduction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system earlier.
Last year, the Akinwunmi Ambode-led government in May revealed its plans to ban the conventional Lagos modes of transport: Okada, Danfo, Keke Napeps. At a ministerial briefing held at the State secretariat, the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Dayo Mobereola explained the government’s plan to phase out the vehicles.
He said that there’ll be a new transportation reform, where the Lagos yellow transport colour will be traded in for blue (which will explain why all BRT buses are now blue as opposed to red and blue ones). He said the danfo buses will be replaced with higher capacity buses, which would be fitted with air condition and other facilities and can sit at least 30 passengers instead of the conventional 18-sitters most Danfos have.
Under the new system, it will be compulsory for commercial bus drivers and their conductors to appear in new designed uniforms which will feature name/identification tags. Route tags would also be pasted on the buses for easy identification by passengers as is being done with BRTs.
The strategy to be adopted in replacing the buses is not very different from what was planned with the BRTs vis-a-vis the “molue” buses where the Lagos State government left Lagosians to make a choice between a rickety “danfo” bus or the fully air-conditioned buses at cheaper rates. This time, there’s the added benefit of the new buses reaching passengers’ streets -which will help phase out Keke Napeps and Okadas. Also, while the phasing out happens, the Danfos will be required to be repainted blue for uniformity as well as get new number plates, and generally have a corporate outlook for operators and commuters bus routing system. Those interested will also be able to exchange their buses for the new buses as part of the equity towards the purchase of the new bus.
He explained that those interested in the new transportation model were already making efforts to key into the policy as government was committed to changing the state of transportation sector in the state.
As regards touting in Lagos, the Commissioner explained that rebuilding and cleaning out bus-stops and bus stations -another part of the plan – would automatically phase them out while thuggery and other social vices associated with transporters would be totally eliminated as transportation would be made an attractive profession.
Part of the goal, according to Dr Mobereola is “to professionalise the road transport sector by curbing tendencies to violence; retrain drivers; create appropriate database and maintain discipline.”