EndSARS: Motorists, commuters groan as BRT buses take over Berger
Motorists and commuters who ply or live around the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State are lamenting the worsening traffic situation along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as a result of the indiscriminate parking of the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) within the corridor.
Since the burning of the BRT station in Berger during the 2020 EndSARS protest, the high capacity buses now compete with commercial and private vehicles in bus stops allotted to cars and commercial buses to pick and drop passengers.
Consequently, many BRT buses are parked for boarding in every available space, which is causing a traffic snarl along the corridor.
When The Guardian visited the Berger bus stop after the pedestrian bridge, BRT buses and cars were parked indiscriminately at the bus stop, while there were no signs of construction taking place at the burnt BRT station.
Lamenting the traffic situation in the corridor, especially during peak hours, a commercial motorist, Abdulrahmon Taofeek, told The Guardian that since the BRT bus station was burnt during the EndSARS protest, BRT buses are parked on the road and in bus stops.
“Sometimes the traffic will be so much, but when they park very well it is usually okay. Commercial buses cannot enter to drop passengers because they have taken over the place,” he said.
Another motorist, Johnson Ene, who lives at Akute, but works on the Island, said the situation is more severe in the morning because vehicles, especially articulated ones along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, have to struggle because of the large number of buses.
He stressed the need for the rehabilitation of the burnt parks to prevent traffic congestion along the area.
A commuter, Gboyega, who works in the area, faulted the Lagos State government for negligence.
“ This is the 14 months since that place got burnt and nothing has been done. BRT buses are everywhere in Berger, adding to the problems on the road. Government needs to wake up to its responsibilities. When you talk, they will say the EndSARS protest caused it,” he said.
But, a BRT driver told The Guardian that renovation activities on the station have been suspended and there is no plan to revisit the site soon.
“The BRT station has been suspended by the management and we are not expecting that they will resume construction in that area. For now, we are here,” he said.
Reacting, an official of Lagos Bus Services Limited (LSBL), managers of the BRT, blamed the situation on EndSARS protest, stating that its bus station was set ablaze during the protest.
The source, who craved anonymity, also blamed the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which is responsible for renovating the station for its slow response.
“Our buses do not park indiscriminately before. It was the EndSARS incident that brought up the situation. The management is ready to commence operations from the park when they receive the go-ahead from the Lagos State government. LAMATA is solely responsible for infrastructure and that is why the stations have not been rebuilt.
“Our buses park diligently on the road without obstructing other vehicles. But parking along the road disturbs our operations too. We are not comfortable with it, but we have to bear it. During morning hours, there are usually long queues.
“ The decision is the state government’s. Our role is to provide services to the people.”
But, Olujimi Hotonu, a member of the eight-man EndSARS protests rebuilding committee, said the committee is aware of the situation at Berger, assuring that repairs of the burnt BRT station will soon commence,
Hotonu, who is a structural engineer, stressed that the station could not be attended to last year because it was not in last year’s budget.
He said: “The reconstruction of the EndSARS burnt relics is still going on, but we are not yet at Berger. It is among the list of what we are to attend. We are doing others like the High Court, the City Mall, the Primary Health Centre and others. That is what is the priority for now, but we also have a programme for the BRT station at Berger, which will be implemented in this year’s budget
“It will be attended to. We couldn’t handle last year, because it was not in last year’s budget, but now it has been included in this year’s budget.