06 April 2006

The 'BRT' Mystery Solved

About a month and a half ago, I noticed a thick yellow line going from Alapere all the way over 3rd Mainland to Obalende where it stopped abruptly. At regular intervals 'BRT' was printed also in yellow. Wetin be dis I wondered. I asked PC, who had also wondered about it but didn't know what it meant exactly. Could it be a car pool lane, or perhaps a bus lane? More car pool than bus lane we decided since the yellow line was marking off the inside lane of the road, how will buses stop to drop off and pick up passengers? Lets investigate we agree and promptly forgot about it. This morning PC buzzes me with the news that BRT stands for 'Bus Rapid Transit', and that Lagos state has acquired 200 MarcoPolo buses for $29 Million. Lagos state will also set up a bus assembly plant in Epe supervised by Marcopolo International Corporation and BHL International Technology (overseas), which will turn out 300 buses annually.

Will this herald the era of weekend drivers? I think so. A lot of people I know have said they would take public transport to and from work (myself inclusive) if it could work like the New York MTA for example, and only drive on weekends.
Would our roads be less congested? The link roads (3rd mainland, Ikorodu Rd, etc) yes, the likes of VI, Ikoyi, Ikeja would not necessarily be less congested because corporate Nigerians will still need to move around and will probably use their official cars to go from meeting to meeting, marketing calls, etc.
What will be the fate of the yellow bus and the 'Molue'? Dunno, but it is good that as bus drivers and conductors are being made redundant, they can find employment at the new bus assembly plant, although I reckon they will be needing some form of training.
Taxi's nko? I hope some thought is being given to this, as they will be the key to decongesting the likes of VI, Ikeja, etc. Once corporate Nigeria is confident they can arrive at meetings looking as cool as a cucumber, with all their belongings intact, and they can leave the meetings without having to wait hours on end in the African sun ODing on Vitamin D they will take taki's!

Is the government actually going to allow some foreign company set up a factory to assemble buses in any part of Nigeria, and what is the fate of our 'treasured' PAN? I am actually suprised at this, I know that Honda begged and pleaded to be allowed to set up a plant in Nigeria in the early 90's and the goverment argument then was that they would be stealing market share from PAN (please!). I think PAN needs a complete overhaul, although its a bit late now because Peugeot already set up shop in SA.

Read the
full story here, I have also included the Wikipedia link FYI.


Epictetus said...

Huge implementation issues, here. It is a cliche that in Nigeria, the sums don't quite add up as well as the authorities advertise.

I wager that this particular policy will unravel faster than it can be implemented. Gremlins? Unintended consequences? Dodgy policy making infrastructure?

The excuses will, ultimately, not matter as much as the democractic deficit that follows unfulfilled expectations.

Besides, a focus on pro-poor policies as delineated by the 2015 deadline for progress on the achievement of the diverse MDGs would indicate that exotica like this divert from the basic needs approach.

Anonymous said...

great English grammar, but what have you said and what are you trying to say?

Tayo said...

I like your views on this. I also wrote an article on the BRT project some time ago. I really hope this will solve transportation problems within the state. I hope the government doesn't spoil the project like they're fond of doing. Stumbled on your blog today. Nice!