When the then governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola commissioned the Bus Rapid Transport scheme on March 17, 2008, it was met with a lot of joy as it was an affordable means of transport for the masses with air conditioners, TV sets and dedicated road lanes.
The seats were comfy and about 10 – 20people where allowed to stand in the aisle but after a couple of years, there has been a steady decline in the condition of the BRT buses.
The first to go where the famous TV sets (which rather disappointed the people that were hoping to watch Africa Magic Yoruba but where shown adverts instead) and the air conditioners followed closely.
Then, the seats started wearing out gradually and over the course of a short time, almost half the seats of the average BRT are worn out and as a result, the number of people standing in the aisles has increased exponentially. This is making the BRT buses look like the Molues of Lagos than the modern means of transport that it is.
Also, there is also the problem of how much the number of buses has reduced. Every time you look at a BRT bus stop, you will always see a lot of people waiting on the very few buses.
Now, who is to blame for the dilapidation of the BRT buses? Is it the lack of maintenance mentality in the country? Or the drivers who handle these buses without care? Or the passengers who deface and destroy these buses?
Another question is why is the state not using the funds it gets from the adverts posted on the side of the buses to maintain the buses and keep them in good shape? Plus, why are we not getting new buses and LAGBus get new buses all the time?
There have also been complaints from passengers about how they buy tickets and and get on the bus, when they reach half of the trip, they are told to come down and join another bus which is almost full and they end up having to stand in the aisles.
We need to find solutions to these problems and answers to these questions so that the plan of the state government to transform Lagos into a Mega-City will not go to waste.