by Isi Esene
Lagosians have continued to groan under the weight of the new traffic law which placed restrictions on the operation of commercial motorcyclists on major highways in the state.
Many Lagosians have now resorted to trekking long distances to get to their destinations – a proposition which has not gone down well with most.
The Lagos State government recently signed into law a new traffic law which, among other provisions, restricts the use of motorcycles on major highways to ensure the safety of road users and maintain sanity on the highways.
Several commuters and motorists spoke to reporters saying the policy was not well thought out because it had only imposed hardship on the people.
“I really don’t know the purpose of a law. Is it to make the people suffer or to provide relief?” a woman, who simply gave her name as Janet, said in Ogba, a suburb of the city.
Janet said she usually took commercial motorcycles popularly known as ‘okada’ as buses do not ply her route.
A motorist, Emmanuel Achubi, said he had to call his office that he would be late for work after being held in traffic for about two hours on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
Another road user, Niyi Onanubi, said, “Higher fares, stranded commuters; these are what you get when a few people think they know what’s best for 18 million others.”
Reports all over the state indicate that commercial bus drivers have quickly cashed in on the situation to hike fares from between 50 to 100 per cent.
A passenger who gave his name as Cosmas said, “From CMS to Bar Beach/Eko Hotel, we used to pay N100 but now, drivers have increased it by 100 per cent. The most worrisome is that as short as the distance is, it will take you close to one and a half hours to get there because of gridlock.
“Okadas, which used to help us in such a situation, have been chased away. Government must rescind its decision in the interest of the people. We are suffering seriously and the situation cannot continue like this.”
The absence of ‘Okadas‘ and the scarcity of commercial buses have put undue pressure on the Lagos State Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service with passengers seen on long queues to board available ones.
The hardship witnessed by commuters all around the state has been made worse by the apparent fuel scarcity and preparations for the Sallah break.