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Sanwo-Olu unveils first phase of 5000 buses for First and Last Mile transportation scheme

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To ease movement within the inner and rural areas of the state, Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, launched the first phase of the 5000 commercial buses meant for the First and Last Mile (FLM) Scheme.

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The governor was optimistic that with the buses, Lagos residents would have better commuting experiences across the state. According to him, the buses will also provide the needed alternative means of journeying across the state.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that passengers and the drivers expected on board the buses are fully insured, stating that the goal is to ensure residents have a comfortable means of commuting.

The governor unveiled the 500 buses already on ground as more buses are being assembled for the FLM project, promising that more of the buses would be deployed as soon as they are coupled. He said the 500 buses would be deployed to five of the eight routes already marked out for the FLM Scheme.

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Sanwo-Olu said the FLM has been conceived, as the name implies, to take care of commuting between the main transit corridors and the hearts of the communities, where the bulk of the people reside and where the high capacity buses would normally not pass through.

He added the launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life.

“The restriction of motorcycles and tricycles in the six local councils and nine local council development areas created a mobility gap which was required to be filled urgently. Thus, the FLM scheme became imperative within the areas where commercial motorcycles and tricycles had been restricted,” Sanwo-Olu said.

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“Consequently, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority activated the First and Last Mike Bus Scheme as detailed in the STMP and soon delineated the state into eight zones for ease of it’s implementation and operations. The zones are: Zone 1: Ikeja and Ketu ; Zone 2: Oshodi, Mushing and Surulere;Zone 3: Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo; Zone 4:Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju-Lekki; Zone 5: Iyana-ipaja and Agege; Zone 6: Orile, Mile 2, Iyana-iba and Ajeromi; Zone 7: Ikorodu and Zone 8: Epe and Badagry.”

Sanwo-Olu said the FLM routes are essentially community based routes that are currently majorly served by the rickshaws or tricycles known as Keke napep or Keke mauruwa and commercial motorcycles. “The implementation of the FLM scheme is designed to enhance passengers’ safety, connectivity and accessibility to all the bus routes as well as proposed rail corridors and waterways in Lagos.

“The FLM scheme entails LASG partnering with private investors. They will provide buses with seating capacity ranging from 7 to 13 seaters. Government plans to make available 2000 units of 7-13 seater micro buses in the first phase of the scheme.”

The governor said his administration will support the private operators in the bus acquisition under a Bus Finance Scheme, with the private operator required to make 20 per cent down payment to be eligible to come under the Bus Finance Scheme.

“Such operator shall be expected to open an account with the designated bank warehousing the joint funds of the private sector and the state who will advance the 80 per cent credit facility. The repayment period for the Bus Finance Scheme shall be for a period of 36months. In other to ensure that the operator does not default in the repayment of the loan, each operator shall put down a 30-day repayment deposit as financial guarantee.”

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The governor said a central ticketing system would be deployed for use across all public transport modes including the FLM operations.

“To ensure seamless mobility within the transport system, the electronic payment system shall be deployed for the FLM operations. This shall allow a commuter with the existing Lagos State Cowry Travel Card on the BRT buses, standard route buses to also use it on the FLM buses.

“A central switching company has been engaged to carry out the reconciliation and settlement daily thereby ensuring all operators receive their respective revenue daily. The operators have been trained on the functionality of the e-ticketing device.

“The monitoring of the FLM operations will be carried out through physical and electronic monitoring. The physical monitoring will be carried out through the deployment of monitoring officers to the categorized zones of the FLM corridors. A monitoring mobile application has been designed for real time data collection as well as vehicle tracking devices. In addition, buses shall be color-coded according to zones for ease of identification and motoring.”

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Giving the welcome address, the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde said in line with the Transport Sector Reform law 2018, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Transportation and LAMATA put in place various measures aimed at readjusting her transportation strategies to accommodate the first/last mile transportation system which is all inclusive, safe, convenient, affordable, accessible and in line with global practices.

“The First and Last Mile (FLM) bus scheme is therefore a part of our overall transport system that is meant to give Lagosians living in the hinterland relief in accessing the main transport corridors through a safe means,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“The FLM bus scheme will sure make the whole passenger transport chain as seamless, fast and comfortable as possible.”

Similarly, after unveiling 500 FLM buses for the inner communities, the Sanwo-Olu also unveiled 100 high and medium capacity buses. The high capacity buses are 70-seater buses while the medium capacity buses are 30-seater buses.

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The governor maintained that the high and medium capacity buses is also meant to make commuting in Lagos better.

Speaking on the new high and medium capacity buses, the Managing Director of Lagos Bus Service Limited, Mr Idowu Oguntona said the increase in LBSL’s fleet size from 50 buses in May 2019 to 150 buses by December 2019 and subsequent injections of buses has increased the fleet size to 252 buses.

“With the addition of the 100 buses being commissioned today, the total fleet size of the company will increase to 352 buses.

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Unfortunately, the civil unrest incident of October 2020, resulted in the loss of several buses, causing untold hardship to thousands of Lagosians that rely on the service as their primary means of mobility. Not to mention the disruption caused to the company’s operations.

“This situation obviously was of great concern to our ever-concerned Governor, who has constantly embarked on initiatives to ameliorate the plight of commuters in Lagos. Today’s event is the outcome of one of the several initiatives of the Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration to bring succor to the plight of Lagosians,” Oguntona said.

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