Current estimates of the population of Lagos state hovers around 22 million inhabitants.
Indeed, Lagos state is one of the world’s megacities.
Of that massive population, about 95% of the residents of Lagos state commute by road within the state.
The roads have become enormously inadequate. Meanwhile, the population of vehicles keep increasing at an exponential rate. The result of all these is that traffic bottlenecks and gridlocks have become the norm rather than the exception.
Lagosians now find themselves existing in an unenviable reality where incredible amounts of otherwise productive times are wasted in traffic – something that a serious government of any society would find extremely worrisome.
Except we delude ourselves, no amount of road traffic solutions – 5000 BRTs, Flyovers, Bridges, fancy Bus terminals, etc. – would rid the state of its reputation as a traffic challenged state caused by an inordinate amount of vehicles on the roads.
It is a no brainer; alternative modes of mass transit need to be explored.
Tragically, one mode of mass transit that have been curiously ignored by the government – despite its relatively inexpensive cost of set up and operation – is the use of ferries and large boats in the inland waterway.
Using commercial ferries and boats in the Inland waterways, as a mode of mass transit, might not have the same capacities to generate the enormous revenue that the chaotic road transport generates for the state government, NURTW, RTEAN, etc. However, it has the potential to massively deplete the road of horrendous traffic gridlocks.
Unlike other modes of mass transit where the government spend billions to build roads or railway tracks, all the government needs to do is to create route channels and the build or license the private sector to build jetties. Then also license the private sector to bring in recommended boats and ferries. The government then regulates the sector.
Lagos state has an abundance of waterways (25% of its mass covered by water).
Indeed, it is an aberration that Lagos state still relies almost solely on road transport.