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Ban on ‘Okada, Keke’: Lagos launches 14 ferry boats

In what seems an effort to make up for the ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke), Lagos State government is set to launch 14 new ferry boats to strengthen its public transportation system.

This is coming as the ban on motorcycles and tricycles enters its second day with the effect heavily felt in different parts of the state metropolis, especially in Ikeja, Surulere, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Oshodi. Major roads in the metropolis were still deserted of Okada on Sunday; operators complied with the government’s directive to stay off the roads.

The launch of the ferry service on Tuesday by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is expected to cushion the effect of the Okada and Keke ban in areas of the state that can be reached through the waterways.

The state is targeting to lift at least 480,000 passengers daily on the waterways.

The new passenger boats are fitted with modern communication gadgets and Wi-Fi will be deployed in the first phase of the state commercial ferry service, which begins on Tuesday, February 4, at Obadore, in Ajah area of the state.

Ladi  Balogun,  managing director of Lagos Ferry, state-owned agency,  said on Saturday, February 1, that Lagos Ferry will operate on all the water routes in Lagos, although, in gradual phases according to the available capacity.

“These boats are in the following capacities: 60Pax Capacity 3units, 50pax Capacity 2units, 40pax Capacity 3units, 30Pax Capacity 4units, 25Pax Capacity 2 units,” said Balogun.

The water routes that will benefit from the service, according to Lagos Ferry MD, include Ipakodo terminal , Ikorodu-Five Cowries terminal, Falomo Ikoyi, Ipakodo terminal, Ikorodu-Ebute Ero Jetty-Elegbata –Lagos Island,  Marina terminal CMS and Five Cowries terminal, Falomo Ikoyi, -Badore terminal, Ajah-Eti in Osa local government.

Others are Ebute Ero Jetty in Ojo, Ijegun Egba terminal, Amuwo-Odofin to Marina, CMS-Mile 2 terminal, Amuwo-Odofin -Liverpool Jetty, Apapa- Marina terminal CMS and Badore terminal, Ajah, in Eti-Osa local government- Ijede Jetty, Ikorodu.

Balogun said the launch is a huge step forward in the integration of multi-modal transportation in the state, a process which has been on since 1999, and that technology will play a big role in the integration.

“Being a megacity and emerging smart city, it is quite obvious that efficient traffic management can best be experienced in Lagos state if the three modes of rail, road and water transportation are effectively integrated to complement one another. Commuting the over 20 million people of Lagos State largely on the road has, thus far, proven ineffective,” Balogun said.

According to him, road transportation has been overstretched, adding that, “the introduction of Minibuses, Keke Marwa and Okada (Motorbikes) has mostly compounded the management of traffic across the state.

In as much as these diverse means of road transportation cluster Lagos roads, the bus-stops continue to play host to stranded passengers”.

The state government last week banned Okada and Keke from operating within the urbanised local areas of the state, including Ikeja, Surulere, Oshodi/Isolo, Apapa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, among others, citing increasing accidents, loss of lives, insecurity and disregard to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law of 2018 as amended as some of the reasons for the action.

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