Tuesday, February 17, 2009

PUBLIC TRANSPORT (rotational poverty 2)

I love public transport. I think everyone should too. It is one of the best things that have happened to Lagos. Imagine the confusion, congestion, pollution and all the other –ion, that would have befallen us if we all use our private cars everyday. As it is, I think we have too many cars on the road already, we should all imbibe the culture of taking the bus.

If you hate “Danfo” buses, then take the alternative- BRT or Okada (remember to put on your Helmet). Governor Fashola has audaciously rebranded Lagos by implementing different projects, including the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT) and of course the rail system is on its way! “…we take another significant step that will set the stage for the holistic reformation of Lagos Transport System that promotes the use of land, water and rail. I assert that our word will be our bond: we will never rest on our oars until we deliver our pledge to bequeath a Lagos that symbolizes the genius of the Blackman and is a pride to all” said the Governor. That will hopefully drive more people to embrace public transportation.

It is poor mentality for anyone to think that public transport is for poor masses. As a matter of fact, I think the system is designed for everyone. Imagine how much space will be saved on our roads if more people are driven to ride on Buses instead of honking in frustration through the hectic Lagos traffic Jam caused by overpopulation of cars and impatient unskilled drivers. The fumes released by vehicles are also reduced in the process of getting more people to take the bus. The challenge of global warming should really lead us to increase our demand for public transportation, after all, we are part of the solution.

The only thing that bugs me about public transport system is the fact that it has no measure of control whatsoever! A driver can wake up one morning and hike up the transport fare just because a crowd of commuter are stranded at the Bus-stop. Without prior notice, they increase the fare each time there is traffic jam, when it rains or the sun shines too much, when they are harassed by hoodlums or “police check point”. And trust us commuters, a very resilient people, despite the unfair exploitation by the system we still jump in and pay the price. In *Danfo buses commuters are squashed together like sardines as a result of a driver's greed or ignorance.

The onus is therefore on the government and other stakeholders in the sector (e.g. NURTW) to ameliorate the public transport system. Drivers and conductors should be constantly orientated, a stated specific number of passengers a bus can take as well as the cost of travel. We absolutely need a better public transport system. It will sure contribute to the eradication of rotational poverty in all ramification.

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