How to leverage partnership on transport growth, mobility services

Transportation is the lifeblood of commercial activities across the globe. Hence, stakeholders within the sector have stressed the need for the government to create a coordinated transport system
Public transport mini buses park to pick up passengers at Ojodu Berger bus terminal in Lagos, on September 8, 2020. - The Nigerian government has dumped a decade-long pricing regime for petrol and electricity allowing marketers to fix prices resulting in anger and tension in the oil-rich Africa's most populous country of 200 million people. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Transportation is the lifeblood of commercial activities across the globe. Hence, stakeholders within the sector have stressed the need for the government to create a coordinated transport system that enables commuters to enjoy the intermodal transport systems remotely.

According to expat.com, a tourist platform, 80 percent of trips in Nigeria are made by road. Due to a weak public transport service system, Nigerians rely heavily on privately owned vehicles (taxis, buses, tricycles, and motorcycles) for their daily commute.
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However, stakeholders who spoke at the second edition of Lagos Transport Fest 2020, tagged, ‘Building partnerships for mobility growth’, called on the government to leverage organised private sector partnership to achieve an accelerated economic recovery through a resilient transport system.

Speaking on how public transport operators and mobility solutions providers could adapt their operating models to meet COVID-19 realities, Chief Executive Officer, Shuttlers, Damilola Olokesusi, said technology can assist commuters to use public mass transit thereby gaining their trust during the pandemic.

Olokesusi said there was a huge demand for public transport, stating that the government should see startups within the sector as competitors, partners in progress, and not as a problem.

Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Bus Services Limited, Idowu Oguntana, said physical contact on public transit during the pandemic is inevitable. Hence, he emphasized the need to leverage data to reduce contact.
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Oguntana said to build confidence among commuters, there is a need to switch to technology, automating payment, and services. With technology, there are opportunities for ease of contact tracing.

Head of Digital Solutions, SecureID, Stanley Anetoh, said mobility was becoming a new trend in the sector, saying it would emerge effectively in one to two years. He said the future of mobility in Nigeria will phase out the use of cash but would happen at a slow pace.

Chief Specialist (Buses), Road Transport Authority, Dubai, Seyi Osiyemi, said instead of the government giving funds to e-hailing drivers as palliative, it ought to have created grants for drivers to sustain their transport business thereby enhancing the sector.

Osiyemi said over the years people had grown to see the importance of data paving the way for organizations to sell and mine data, Nigeria’s transport sector should not be different from such innovation.
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Managing Director of Primero Transport Services Limited, Fola Tinubu, stressed the need for a paradigm shift of transportation in Lagos stating that the private sector is willing to mitigate the challenges in the sector provided there is an enabling environment.

Tinubu described operations within the metropolis in the last four years as challenging, attributing it to the micro and macro-economic challenges bedeviling the country.

He said the gap in public transport in Lagos was still huge, stating that the city still needs about 7,000 buses to commute passengers from their different destinations.

Chief Executive Officer, Eventhive.ng, Jamiu Ijaodola, said building on the successes recorded from the flagship edition last year, Lagos Transport Fest was positioning itself as West Africa’s meeting place for the Transport Industry, stating that it had expanded the focus to include discussions within the rail, port and logistics ecosystem.
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Ijaodola said in the last one year since its launch, Lagos Transport Fest has provided a veritable platform for an engaging and sincere dialogue on the transport sector between the public and private players.

According to him, COVID-19’s growing impact on the transport sector has been the fore of discussions within the mobility ecosystem, this year’s edition of the Lagos Transport Fest seeks to clarify measures Operators and authorities are taking in response to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“As the urban transport sector continues to combat new daily challenges during the global coronavirus pandemic, Lagos Transport Fest will explore how the pandemic is affecting ridership, operations, revenue generation and more,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has revamped its Strategic Transport Master Plan to move the State to bolster Economic growth and development in line with the Smart City goal.
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The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, while delivering his keynote address stated that the revamping of the plan was required to address the current transportation challenges by identifying facilities and services to manage the dynamics of Lagos as a Smart City.

‘‘Transportation plays a crucial role in urban development by providing access for people to; education, markets, employment, recreation, health care and other key services. Especially in cities of the developing world, enhanced mobility for the poor and vulnerable groups is one of the most important preconditions for alleviating poverty. Those cities with transport modes in an integrated system are more likely to evolve and prosper as centers for trade, commerce, industry, education, tourism, and services.’’ Oladeinde stressed.

The commissioner elaborated further that the Master plan will be anchored on strategic implementation of major reforms which will include; developing comprehensive mass transit systems that will connect all the 28 activity centres in Lagos and the development of a water-based network integrally with land-based Mass Transit systems.
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He added that the plan would also optimise existing road networks to ensure compatibility with new modes coming on board as well as the deployment of an Intelligent Transport System to aid integration. This would include deploying integrated fare and ticketing systems, information and communication systems, and coordinated service timetables.

The commissioner highlighted recommendations of the master plan which includes; 6 rail lines, 1 monorail line, 14 BRT routes, Over 20 water transport routes, and the development of a cycle lane network with pedestrian ways to improve the flow of movement in the City.

He explained that the Strategy will solve economic objectives by reducing mobility delays, improving journey time reliability for businesses as well as Social and Environmental objectives through a reduction in traffic congestion, and also prioritizing those means of travel that are less damaging to the natural environment.

Dr. Frederic Oladeinde also said the State Government is committed to improving the lives of its Citizenry and the Nation by ensuring productivity in the Economic Sector which in turn will rank the City among the foremost on the global stage.
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