THE Lagos State government has proffered solutions to the ban of commercial motorcycles, commonly known as okada.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, Frederic Oladeinde, who spoke to The ICIR in an exclusive interview on June 7, 2022, advised the riders to start a cooperatives society that would enable them own buses.
Oladeinde said that okada was not part of the strategic Lagos master plan, noting that the plan was to use first and last-mile buses (mini buses) to replace the commercial motorcycles.
He said, “We are rolling out more taxes (Lag Rides). We will also continue with our bus reforms. We want the okada people to form a cooperatives society and buy buses too, so they will run buses rather than okada. A few of them have come forward to do this.
“So the idea is that we have buses, water transport, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and rail in a mega city. Lagos is so tiny, you can’t pack it with bikes. You won’t meet your climate change target; bikes can’t cut it. Bikes would cut it when you have a wide spatial distribution. Lagos is too compact and bikes would not just work.”
He expressed worry over the accident and crimes that okada riders have been known to cause in the mega city, and vowed an end to the menace.
The commissioner assured that okada operations would be banned for good, this time.
He said, “The reasons why the last ban on okada wasn’t strong was due to the #EndSARS and the coronavirus pandemic; we relaxed on it a bit. However, we are going to sustain it this time.
“Everyone has come together to stamp it out. It has become a security risk to Lagosians, you have seen videos of okadas being dismantled and you can find in it ammunition. We are weary of that and we want to stamp it out.”
Oladeinde said a fourth BRT stretch would be introduced to the bus reform system. The new BRT stretch is termed the Lagos-Badagry expressway BRT, which he said would run parallel with the blue line. It is expected to start in Eric Moore area and go all the way to Okokomaiko.
Giving a historical overview, he explained that the BRT was first launched in 2008 and was extended in 2015 (CMS to Mile 12). He said two years ago, a BRT stretch was commissioned from Oshodi to Abule Egba.
He added that the fourth BRT was now ready to be launched alongside mass transit buses that would carry more people to their destinations.
The commissioner assured that 80 per cent of public transport less than 25 kilometres would be completed within an hour.