Public transportation in Lagos is poised to assume a revolutionary phase with the coming of Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL), a Lagos sate government company.
Launched on April 24, 2019, by President Muhammad Buhari, the buses are a key component of the Lagos Bus Reform Project (LBRP) initiative of the sate government. The Bus Reform is to redefine the public transportation system in Lagos, with the injection of modern buses and terminals targeted to transform the way residents commute within the state.
To actualize this, LBSL was incorporated in August 2016 as a transport asset acquisition, operations, and advisory services company, and is the brain behind the new, medium and high capacity buses steadily making an appearance across the Lagos metropolis.
To ease the daily movement of millions of Lagos commuters, 800 of the expected 5000 buses have been delivered to the state; 50 of these buses have already been deployed on 5 routes across Lagos as part of a pilot phase.
The introduction of the new buses by LBS is designed not only to address the inadequacies of the existing unreliable transportation system in Lagos, but also to raise the bar on superior customer experience in tune with today’s modern and innovative demands.
Also, the LBSL is mandated to address the menace of unregulated yellow mini buses, loosely regulated transport services like the ride-hailing taxis, and regulated mass transit bus services like BRT.
To make this goal a reality, LBS will be introducing electronic ticketing to ensure prompt boarding of passengers and revenue protection, to reduce waiting time at boarding points. In the same vein, drivers and attendants are to be trained and certified to work in a respectable and courteous manner, properly kitted uniforms and official identity badges for easy identification to the entire public.
According to the managing director, Idowu Oguntona, the company’s mission is to provide smart and sustainable bus transportation solutions to meet the needs of the modern city of Lagos.
”To achieve this lofty vision of being the dominant service provider within the mass transit sector in Nigeria, we have created a competitive space where urban mobility guarantees a market for mass transit operators, with whom we would make available the means to move Lagos residents in comfort, with adequate capacity and affordable pricing”. He stated.
Procured with government funds, the Brazilian-built Marcopolo buses are indeed wonder on wheels and equipped with amenities that enable commuting for the average passenger an incredibly comforting, safe and secure.
With priority seating for the physically challenged, the elderly, and pregnant women, LBS takes inclusion for public transportation to a different level. That is not all. Each bus has six emergency exits and a first aid kit, free WiFi, television, and CCTV cameras linked to a control centre to monitor everything going on in the buses and every seat has a dedicated USB port for charging phones.
The initial 800 buses would be leased to reputable private Bus Operators through an operating lease model which will put into consideration all stakeholders in the transport sector.
The operators will use 3 bus depots located at Ilupeju, Anthony, and Yaba to ensure that the buses are deployed, sustained and maintained properly.
Bus routes will be allocated to the operators for effective implementation of the LBRP. Operating companies are certified professional public transport service providers who will operate the assets according to the approved Service Level Agreement.
The vehicles which are of uniform specification, will be expected to run on predictable schedules, and ply routes supported by appropriate infrastructure for efficient and effective mass transit. Operations will be driven by technology, service delivery, creative, engaging, and exciting rider experience.
An Intelligent Transport System (ITS) under which the new buses will operate will be deployed. This includes an electronic information system which provides real time passenger information to commuters; such as estimates of bus arrival and departure times as well as information about the nature and causes of service delays.
Infrastructure provided for smooth operations include bus shelters, lay-bys, bus flags, terminals, and depots at various strategic points along the routes.
To achieve the goal of seamless passenger movement as envisioned by the LBRP, the State has been divided into five Strategic Transport Zones.
The transport zones shall identify transport and traffic dynamics and the efficient implementation of the project. These strategic zones are Ikeja, Lagos Island, Oshodi, Abule Egba, and strategic linkages (other routes).
The five zones are the major transport hubs in Lagos. Each hub is characterized by major transport activities and also serve as prominent key destinations of commuters. Each of the zones also contain transport sub-hubs which are major trip destinations from other parts of the State.
With these various measures, LBS has positioned itself as an enabler and facilitator of pleasurable and relaxing commutes across the Lagos metropolis. The company is a friendly ally in moving Lagos in comfort, whether for work or leisure. A customer-focused entity with proficient leadership, LBS is one service provider which captures and expresses the bustling energy of Lagos State.
The CEO is confident that the new Lagos Buses would boost the confidence of Lagos residents in the use of public transportation facilities. “Perhaps we are not too far off from a time when commuters will park their cars and use the new Lagos Buses for their daily commute. Imagine the possibilities of commuting with ease and stress free within Lagos”, he added.
Oguntona quipped that that the intention of LBS is to develop a strong emotional connection with the average commuter. It aims to do so by building a clear competitive advantage in brand, service, pricing, availability, and customer service. “That is why the new Lagos Buses are presented in an image which differentiates them from alternative transport systems, and communicates in a clear, consistent, and attractive manner; the company’s commitment to provide decent, efficient, modern public transportation.
MIKE OCHONMA, Transport Editor