By Lukman Olabiyi
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, launched 300 mini busses tagged, the First and Last Mile Bus (FLM) Scheme as an alternative to commercial motorcycle popularly known as okada.
The new buses are expected to ply the inner routes in the six local government areas and nine local council development areas where okada have been banned. No fewer than 2,000 buses expected in the first phase of the project while total number of busses for the project is 5,000.
The governor, however, said the total ban on okada might not be enforced until another two months to give people enough time to get their cowry cards, gauge their response to the scheme, and also measure the scheme’s effectiveness.
Another 100 High Capacity Buses were also unveiled by the governor. He described the initiatives as part of measures to address insecurity and provide Lagosians with safe, affordable and resilient commuting options.
Sanwo-Olu added that the initiatives were part of efforts to achieve a fully integrated inter-modal transport system.
He promised his administration was working to fulfil its campaign promises to the people. Commissioner for Transportation, Fredric Oladeinde, said the FLM launch was to reiterate the state’s commitment to develop an integrated multi-modal transport system that is safe, comfortable, and support the people’s economic prosperity.
Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, (LAMATA), Abimbola Akinajo, described the FLM scheme as part of the Bus Reform Initiative conceived to develop a coherent, formalised and regulated transport system and network in state.
She said: “The FLM is the last layer of the Bus Reform Initiative for Lagos State, which comes from the Lagos State Transport master plan developed by LAMATA. The Bus Reform Initiative is a plan by government to ensure that over time our public transportation system moves from an unregulated framework to a regulated framework.”
The FLM scheme will be operated by private operators that will work with the state. The government will support them under a Bus Finance Scheme, where the private operator is expected to make a 20 percent down payment to be eligible to come under the scheme. The repayment period is for 36 months, with a 10 percent interest rate.