What was the pride of Lagos when they hit the road on March 17, 2008, with the commissioning of the 22 km Mile 12 – CMS pilot Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Lite scheme by former governor Babatunde Fashola is now, to put it mildly, in a sorry state.
The overall objective of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is, in the words of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (LAMATA), “To improve mobility and transport affordability in the city of Lagos through regulatory reform and facilitation of person movement on major corridors through a combination of traffic management and implementation of a high quality, high performance bus rapid transit system”.
Lagosians welcomed with glee the BRT system as it offered a faster, more convenient, cost effective and over all better alternative to commercial buses, including the now forgotten molue.
Now, however, many avoid it falling back to their private vehicles or the 14 or 18-seater yellow buses popularly known as danfo.
This is for no other reason than the current deplorable state of the buses – the rickety look, dilapidated infrastructure and chronic overloading.
This was the consensus opinion of some BRT passengers who ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with…
CHIMA EZEANI (resides in Ogudu)
“Yes, but not as often as I used to. I live in Ogudu, but work at Maryland and I have to leave quite early in the morning. Before, I take the BRT along Ikorodu road because traffic doesn’t delay it and it is cheap. But after some time I noticed that the buses started decaying. I saw one while heading back from work tilting to one side. It was bent to one side, like one of those vans used for carrying goods. It is very sad. Our maintenance culture has always been the problem and I thought that with the seriousness the Fashola government exhibited they would be different and take things serious, but no. I take danfo.
Even though they go crazy every now and then and their conductor would sometimes show his own madness, until the BRT becomes what it was, I don’t think I will want to queue for that long only to be packed like sardine”
TOBI AMOSU (Shomolu)
I used to enjoy the BRT, especially when they were now. I remember like four or so years ago, I saw people taking pictures while inside the bus or at the bus stops. It was a big deal then. You don’t get? It’s something you could say proudly. Not now o! BRT has become molue. You’ll see people standing at the entrance. At the bus stop, some people will be running after the bus as if that’s the last bus. It is very pathetic. The buses now even look bad, even ordinary danfo looks cleaner and well maintained. The only thing is that it is cheaper, but that standing with someone almost climbing on your back into you is what I don’t like at all.”
I never took BRT even in those early days when it was trendy. I know quite a number of my colleagues at work who because of the BRT parked their cars at home and used the buses. It was sort of cool, I must admit. Some years back while driving I do observe the orderliness with which the queues were organised and the beauty of the buses. But I guess all those are gone now. Except for a couple of them that are still quite new. More recently, I noticed some with metro taxi logo which are finer, though smaller. I feel our bad culture when it comes to maintaining infrastructure is what’s holding us back. You can see that due to lack or no maintenance, BRT has lost its glory.”