With the official launch of eight newly acquired speed boats by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday, the Lagos State Government officially kicked off commercial waterways transportation.
Sanwo-Olu unveiled the speed boats that Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) will run at a ceremony held at Badore Ferry Terminal in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area, CmaTrends reporting.
The event marked the start of LAGFERRY’s commercial transportation operations in waterways. A smartphone application designed to facilitate quick access to water transport services was also introduced by the Governor.
Sanwo-Olu said the move represents a “great leap” in the policy of his administration to provide an efficient and integrated inter-modal transport system to address the persistent problem of road traffic congestion.
He said: “Transportation narrative in Lagos is about to change for good, as we are set to take full advantage of the water bodies to decongest our roads and significantly reduce travel time for traffickers.
“Today we are launching eight units of additional ferries in the Lagos Ferry Service fleet to supplement the current six ferries. It’s obvious that in order for Lagos to be a successful smart city we like, the mode of transportation needs to be diversified. The rail, road and water transport systems must be interconnected. “Two local boat manufacturers worked out the design and manufacture of the new boats completely in line with Sanwo-Olu’s promise to explore local capacity in providing solutions to various challenges.
The Governor noted that starting commercial operations on waterways would promote a healthy living and restore environmental aesthetics through carbon emission reduction.
He charged private investors with moving in and harnessing opportunities in the value chain, noting that the government had solved the teething problems associated with the transport mode and infrastructure.
“We are fully committed to growing spending in further expanding waterway routes. In order to consolidate the infrastructure that we have provided on waterways, we will embark on building more jetties and providing more modern ferry boats to create opportunities for more private sector involvement in water transportation, “Sanwo-Olu stated.
The Governor said the State would press for full compliance with the measures put in place to ensure the health of waterways-based passengers, adding that the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) was strengthened to effectively carry out its monitoring and regulatory duties in line with best practice.
He said: “We will spread the effectiveness of the LAGFERRY services to meet people’s demands at different times of the day. Within the LAGFERRY fleet we will double the capacity from 14 to 30 boats before the end of the year. This is to allow the agency to discharge its mission to ease the movement of Lagosians through the waterways from different parts of the city to another. “Sanwo-Olu vowed that modern jetties would also be constructed in Badagry, Lekki and Ajegunle, promising to complete the one being built in Ijegun.
LAGFERRY chief executive, Hon. Abdulbaq Balogun said the launch charted a new water transport route in the state.
The department, Balogun said, remained fully committed to exploring the waterways ‘ capacity to enhance mass transportation in line with the Sanwo-Olu administration’s transport blueprint.
With more than 30 jetties across the state, the LAGFERRY boss said Lagos had provided infrastructure to boost water transport, adding that the agency’s start of commercial operations would reduce persistent gridlock on the highways.
He said: “LAGFERRY will operate on all waterways in Lagos with our global water transportation license, starting gradually depending on the capacity available. We’ll deploy all of our 14 available ferries to immediately protect the three senatorial areas.
“Our well developed and properly coordinated water transportation is also helping in haulage across the State, moving trucks, containers and goods, thereby relieving the roads of heavy duty trucks which contribute in no small measure to failure of roads.”
Balogun said LAGFERRY will expand its services to all 40 water routes authorised for Lagos by the fourth quarter of the year before.
Also, the Transport Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the event as another giant step in the transportation sector reform embarked on by the Sanwo-Olu administration, saying the boats ‘ level would meet the transportation needs of the residents of an emerging Smart City.
Oladehinde announced six LAGFERRY operations routes, including Ikorodu to Falomo; Ikorodu to Ebute Ero and Marina; Ebute Ojo to Ijegun Egba, Apapa and Marina; Bayeku to Oke Ira Nla and Falomo; Mile 2 to Marina and Badore to Ijede, respectively.
Three of LAGFERRY’s vessels deployed for operations have the capacity to carry 60 passengers, two were built to carry 50 passengers, while another two had 40 passenger capacity. Six of the vessels will also carry 30 passengers, four will carry 25 and two will carry 25 passengers.
All the boats are fitted with comfortable seats, built-in Wi-Fi and state-of – the-art technological devices that will help ensure smooth operation and safety.
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