Following the untold hardships faced by commuters and businesses alike in Lagos State as a result of the enforcement of the new Lagos traffic law, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for a review of the current wide-ranging routes covered by the restriction to cover only major road corridor.
The Director-General of LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf who made this call in a statement in Lagos on Sunday pointed out that reviewing the current trend would give some room for ordinary citizens to commute.
Yusuf while noting that one of the biggest challenges of urbanization was traffic congestion opined that this was more so in a state like Lagos which had the largest population and the smallest land size in the country adding that the growth in the number of vehicles had consistently outpaced the road capacity.
According to him, “We also recognize the increasing traffic and security nuisance that some of the commercial motorcycles and tricycles create in the state. Clearly, these are situations that call for drastic action by the government.
“However, it is important to situate the conversation within the context of a Root Cause Analysis. The proliferation of the commercial motorcycles and tricycles in Lagos state are manifestations of the shortcomings of the transportation system in Lagos state. They are the symptoms of deeper issues in the transport ecosystem.”
He listed some of the shortcomings to include; rapid and growing population in the state without commensurate planning for intracity transportation, rapid urbanization and internal migration issues because of the security issues in other parts of the country and high vehicular density, intractable traffic congestion and frequent lockdown, especially during peak periods of traffic.
Others include; impossible traffic conditions resulting from the state of the roads with Lagos-Badagry expressway and the Apapa axis as good examples, absence of a robust mass transit system suitable for an increasing population and emerging megacity, limited road capacity which has been long outpaced by the vehicular growth, absence of complementary modes of transportation, especially water transportation, rail and subways as well as weak institutional capacity for enforcement of traffic regulations.
The Director General observed that these fundamentals issues needed to be fixed in order to achieve a sustainable solution even as he contended that the enforcement of the traffic law in its current form would have profound social, economic and political costs.
“Some of these unintended consequences include: commuters would suffer untold hardship as there is no immediate alternative to fill the gap which the wide-ranging restriction would create, there would be high transportation cost as commuter buses hikes their fares. They would naturally take advantage of the surge in demand, there is also the investment effect on emerging innovative investments in the commercial motorbike sector some of which have invested billions of naira in the sector, connectivity of domestic economic agents would suffer a deceleration, the tempo and momentum of economic activities would experience a slow down as the velocity of business transactions would be adversely affected. This would also take a toll on the huge and vibrant informal economy in the state. There will also be massive extortion by enforcement agents”, he said.
Yusuf therefore recommended an urgent stakeholder engagement to fine tune the traffic law and enforcement strategies adding that laws were made for man not man for laws.
He further recommended that the tolerance and latitude for operation of tricycles should be expanded as they play vital complementary roles to other forms of transportation saying “they are affordable, scalable, divisible, flexible and less of a nuisance than the motorbikes.”
“Regulatory capacity should be strengthened to ensure traffic discipline among all categories of road users”, he added.
Photo: LCCI Director General, Dr.Muda Yusuf.
Send your news, press releases/articles to email@example.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.