The Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has ordered railway authority to partner with security agencies and stop people riding on train rooftops across the country.
Amaechi who gave the charge on Tuesday at the first Lagos Traffic Radio Lecture Series held in Lagos said he was terrified by the number of people he saw hanging on a moving train in Lagos.
The minister said it is the responsibility of the government to protect lives of its citizenry, saying it will be better to allow passengers who cannot afford the transport fare to sit in the train than for them to lose their lives.
He noted that the process of migrating workforce and people who commute from one location, area, state to another for the purpose of engaging in employment is still very difficult in the country, saying the present government is making frantic effort to make transportation easy in the country.
According to him, “In fact, as families migrate due to employment purposes, they are compelled to move with children who require transportation to attend schools. Where transportation is lacking, the level of distress for the working parents and children becomes increased.
“Studies of the travel behaviour of the migrating workforce in the UK and US10 for example show that Migrants are concentrated in metropolitan areas where public transport provision is high.
“In the UK in particular, 40 percent of the non-EEA migrant population live in London compared to UK nationals. Researchers in the US on the other hand reveal that migrants’ would prefer residential locations that are well served by public transport. The research further reveals that In developing countries, Migrants’ travel is strongly associated with the use of non-car-driving modes of travel (including public transport including buses, trains, underground/light rail, walking, cycling and car sharing. )
“Therefore, availability of efficient and affordable transportation in a location is a major consideration for the choice migrants make to look for employment and places of residence.
According to him, as far as mass transportation is concerned, there is evidence to show that inadequacy in transport infrastructure and services has contributed significantly to the prevalence of poverty across various Nigerian communities in both urban and rural areas.
The minster explained that the problems of Nigerian transport system have varied across various sub-sectors including air, water, rail and road transport.
He urged Lagos State government to make its policy on water transportation known to the Federal Government before it considers numerous proposals from the private sector operators.
The minister also said the Lagos –Ibadan railway line which is part of the Lagos- Kano railway line will be completed with two and half years, saying the Lagos –Port Harcourt Calabar railway line will be ready within two and half years
Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Dayo Mobereola in his paper title ‘Exploring Transportation Beyond Roads’, said the strategic transport master plan conceived by Lagos State Government to address the various issues within the sector proposes to push the share of rail transportation to 21 percent adding that the last three years efforts have been directed at establishing a bus route network that will service the state.
According to him, Lagos needs 450 bus routes 20, 000 buses to service 10 million passenger trips happening daily.
The Commissioner, while explaining the strategic Transport Master Plan said the aim was to develop a fully integrated mass rapid transit system to cover the activity centers within the megacity region.
He said six rail lines, 1 mono rail line 14 BRT routes, 3 cable car projects and over 20 water routes are to be developed with implementation strategies being traffic management, ensuring an efficient public transport and transport integration.
Mobereola, who further stressed the benefit of the plan to include carbon emission reduction of 8 million tons per annum, also noted that 80% of transport journeys (less than 25km) will be completed within 60 minutes when plan comes fully on stream.
He also stated that the State Government will continue to promote water transportation by undertaking the dredging of waterways