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It’s business as usual at Lagos parks, garages after government’s directive to transport operators

By Kehinde Olatunji
24 March 2020   |   4:17 am
The Lagos State Government yesterday issued public transport guidelines to operators and passengers to curb further spread of the coronavirus in buses, cabs, motor parks, and garages.

Long queue of customers waiting to access a banking hall yesterday

• Long queues as banks enforce social distancing
• Access Bank closes branch after customer tested positive

The Lagos State Government yesterday issued public transport guidelines to operators and passengers to curb further spread of the coronavirus in buses, cabs, motor parks, and garages. The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said in a statement that the measures were part of government’s efforts to further prevent a state-widespread of COVID-19.

According to him, henceforth it is compulsory for all transport operators/companies to sanitise their parks and garages regularly and continuously at least before and after each trip.
Oladeinde said: “All transport operators are expected to have at the entrance to their respective parks/garages, washing hand equipment with soaps and running water.

“All operators are expected to have alcohol-based sanitizers in their vehicles for the use of drivers, conductors, and passengers. All operators are not allowed to overcrowd/overload their vehicles at this point, passenger’s spacing must be fully observed because NCDC recommends that at least 2m (5ft) distance is required between anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness,’’ he said.

The commissioner directed that there should be no standing in all Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) bus operations. According to him, all commercial buses should be at 60 percent capacity and not 100 percent capacity. “All Air Conditioning System in public transport be put off and all public transport operators/companies must have temperature readers to test each passenger before boarding the bus.”

However, it was observed yesterday that passengers at most of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) terminals scrambled for seats in buses in defiance to the social distancing directive passed by the state government. Also, the regular commercial buses, popularly known as Danfo, carried on with their operations without adhering to the directive of providing alcohol-based sanitizers.

The state government’s directive on social distancing at the parks, which took effect at BRT terminals yesterday, was however not welcomed by passengers hurrying to their destinations. In a video that surfaced on the Internet, some passengers were seen wrestling each other as they jostled to collect tickets from officials.

The video, which evoked fear among residents, saw many clamouring for the deployment of security operatives to the terminals to force people to stay orderly. Reacting to the video, Managing Director of Primero, operator of the Ikorodu BRT route, Mr. Folu Tinubu, said it was caused by the impatience of passengers, adding that two of the company’s employees were assaulted.

He said: “We have reduced the number of passengers each bus can carry, but the passengers are not patient and are trying to jump the line. We asked them to queue up but instead they all want to rush and enter the bus. They assaulted two of our workers that were trying to stop them. We need to, as a society, start to follow rules.”

It was also observed yesterday that some banks in Lagos have started adhering to the government’s restriction on social gatherings and providing customers with hand sanitisers and other precautionary measures. The Guardian also observed that in some banks, customers’ temperature were tested before entering the banking hall for transactions or enquiries.

At Zenith Bank, NNPC branch, Iyana-Ejigbo, customers were seen in a long queue as only one person was allowed to enter the premises per time, though such restriction was not observed by customers at the Automated Teller Machines (ATM). A bank worker who wanted his name off-print told our reporter that the steps were taken to adhere to the minimum of 50 persons in a place as ordered by the government.

The customers, who were not happy with the situation, complained that they had to wait for hours before being attended to. Some of them also complained that the ATM was not working so they had no choice than to do their transaction in the banking hall.

Also, at Access Bank, First Bank and GTBank in the area, water, soap and hand sanitisers were provided for customers before they were allowed to enter the hall. This created a long queue of customers waiting to gain entry into the hall.

Meanwhile, the Access Bank branch at Ligali Ayorinde, Victoria Island area of Lagos, was shut yesterday after a customer who visited the branch last week tested positive of coronavirus at the weekend. The bank in a statement said the unnamed customer was symptom-free as at the time he visited the branch, adding that those that had contact with him are currently in isolation.

It also advised anyone who visited the branch last week to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days starting immediately. The statement read in part: “We have just confirmed that an individual who visited our Ligali Ayorinde branch on Monday, March 16, has tested positive for coronavirus. He was symptom-free as at the time of the visit and he is currently being monitored at an Isolation Centre in Yaba. In line with our emergency response plan and following regulatory practices, the branch has been temporarily closed for thorough disinfection.”