Fare hike, traffic congestion mar transportation in Lagos
A new study has identified fare hike, shortage/lack of transportation mode and traffic congestion as the major impact of COVID-19 on transportation in Lagos State
The study titled, ‘Impact of COVID-19 on transportation in Lagos, Nigeria’, showed there was a positive correlation between transportation affected by the pandemic and its impact on economic, social and religious activities of the people.
According to the analysis, made available to The Guardian, residents who could not travel, as usual, acknowledged a significant impact caused by the pandemic on their economic activities.
With regards to a pandemic, Lagos State has always been vulnerable medically. Ebola of 2014 started and spread in the country through Lagos State. Of all the 36 states in Nigeria, Lagos State has had the highest number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The research, which was carried out by a varsity lecturer at the University of Greenwich, London, Dr Emmanuel Mogaji, said people in different locations around the megacity travelling to their places of work experienced an increase in the cost of transportation.
Mogaji said with the demand for transportation now greater than the supply, due to lock-down and restriction, the transporters also increased their fares.
This high cost of transportation according to him, has added to the overall cost of living in the city during this time.
Similarly, the cost of food items has increased, as Lagos is not a food-producing state. Food is brought from other states, becoming expensive in its journey to the city, as vendors must find ways to bypass other states and lockdowns.
To this end, the study’s findings identified the ‘avoid–shift–improve’ framework to discuss the mitigation measures that arose from the pandemic.
It states that government needs to avoid factors that should be avoided to reduce transportation traffic and further disruptions to the transportation services; the shift highlights the need to maintain the existing infrastructure and make it sustainable as citizens cope with the impact of the pandemic while improve suggests action plans, albeit a long-term plan, to improve sustainable transportation.
Besides, Mogaji said there could be an increase in the number of private cars as people avoid congestion on public transportation. Consumers may explore well-spaced public transportation, but high fare prices as people cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.
He said government should recognise financial challenges for operators and passengers, while taxes (including toll gate fees may be increased), palliative care should be provided for operators.
The university don said policymakers need to manage the existing infrastructure. This may include deploying additional staff to support with logistics and enforcing social distancing, educating commuters and reminding them to follow government guidance.
He added that individuals should explore the possibilities of working from home. This will reduce their exposure to the diseases, reduce the congestion on the road and enhance their wellbeing, while avoiding further disruption by evaluating existing measures.