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Monday, 8 July 2013

Five Years After, BRT Buses Degenerates Into Molue

Via - Guardian 

THE pomp and ecstasy that heralded the arrival of the popular Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System five years ago in Lagos is fast dying away as most buses on the system have basically become molue- Nigeria's slang for rickety and sullied big buses.
The BRT is an intra-city public transport initiative instituted by the then Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State in 2007, but actuallised by Governor Babatunde Fashola-led administration in 2008 to alleviate challenges of Lagos heavy traffic jams, bus scarcity among others.
The system, which is currently managed by National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in partnership with the Lagos State Government, goes from Mile-12 through Ikorodu Road and Funsho Williams Avenue up to TBS.
When it started, some elites abandoned their cars at home for the buses that were seen to be cheap, fast and comfortable. But five years down the line, such qualities have not only disappeared but some of the rich who used to romance the system have abandoned it for their personal cars, thereby swelling up the Lagos terrible traffic jam.

When The Guardian visited Mile-12 to TBS route of the buses on two different occasions recently, different levels of BRT's degradation was highly revealed. While some of the buses appeared mangled and damaged, others simply exhibited a condition of buses that needed urgent replacements.
A high number of the seats were seen damaged with just the irons that once held down the seats dangerously left behind by the managers of the transport system. Some of the broken seats were wedged with big stones. A female passenger got seriously injured on her wrist by a bad seat in one of the buses.
While some of the buses dangerously go on with just one side mirror, others simply ply the road with broken side mirrors. Knobs, which were once used by passengers to indicate their bus stops have been destroyed, forcing passengers to shout owa on top of their voices, to indicate their bus stops- a scenario quite common in privately owned molues.
Most of the buses either have broken doors or doors that cannot be closed, a situation that encourage some passengers to hang on doorways in busy periods, a typical scenario that often play out in molues.
When the system was compared with some other privately owned molues along Ikorodu-Mile-2 axis, some of the privately owned ones appeared neater and comfortable than the BRT.
The system also looked not well managed as tens of passengers waiting for the system on their way going to the Island were seen stranded for more than 30 minutes at Ketu, experience also repeated by those seeking the service of the buses at both TBS and Fadeyi en route to Mile-12, especially in the evenings.
A passenger, who simply gave his name as Taofik, told The Guardian that passengers most times face delays from the buses mostly during rush-hours.
" I have been here (Ketu bus stop) for more than 30 minutes now. I am not likely going to get a bus soon because, as I learnt, the drivers are on break. The question I keep asking: is it right that every driver should go on break at the same time? I think something needed to be done," Taofik said.
When The Guardian visited BRT office at Ketu, about 15 buses under the system were seen abandoned in a bushy yard.
The only good thing that has differentiated the system from other molues has been absence of bus hawkers, mobile preachers and beggars, who are common in privately owned big buses.
Public Relations Officer (PRO), BRT Cooperative, Nonye Uwumere, told The Guardian that she could not comment on the sorry state of the system, adding that it was not in her power to do that. " You people do not see anything good in BRT system," Uwumere said. "As for the molue thing, I do not have answer to that; I am not authorised to speak on it,"she added.

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