April 27, 2009

BRT Gets New Operator, Routes (Lagos, Nigeria)

Ahead of the inauguration of a new Bus Rapid Transit route in Lagos, a new group, Igbatuntun City Bus Cooperative Society that will operate the Iyana Ipaja-Ikotun mass transit buses, has been formed.

The new corridor, which will stretch to Igando, Iyana Iba, Ipaja, Ayobo and Maryland, would open for operation this month with 50 high capacity buses.

The President of the group, Mr. Olusesan Oladimeji, said that the buses were already being prepared for the operation, adding that another set of 100 buses had been ordered to cater for the route extension.

He, however told our correspondent on Tuesday that the buses would ply the same road as other vehicles, stressing that there would be no designated BRT lane on this corridor.

But Oladimeji said a special timing was still being worked out by both the operators and the regulators of the scheme, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, to make each trip hassle- free.

The BRT bus shelters and bus stops have already been carved out; built and painted along Ikotun-Iyana Ipaja route in readiness for the roll out, while finishing touches were being put to the road repairs.

The ICBC, Oladimeji explained, is an off-shoot of the Lagos State Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.

The union is the operator of the BRT scheme on Mile 12 – CMS route, which the state government introduced last year.

The Chairman of the union, Alhaji Rafiu Olohunwa, who spoke at the inauguration of the ICBC on Thursday, urged the bus drivers and their assistants to play the game according to the rule.

He advised them not to cut corners, but the should, instead obey traffic rules and be courteous to all passengers, noting that respect is reciprocal.

He commended the state government for showing commitment to the scheme, just as he lauded LAMATA for its professional guidance.

The union leader also noted that the supporting banks had been been wonderful, stressing that without the confidence in the operators, they would not be willing to offer any loans for the purchase of the buses.

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