A cross section of the FLM buses
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday unveiled the cashless First and Last Mile (FLM) bus schemes to ply inner routes and announced that the government will soon place total ban on okada transportation.
The FLM bus scheme is an initiative transport option which gives commuters in the communities outside the main transit corridor a wider berth in accessing transport routes.
In th first phase, 300 FLM buses were unveiled by the governor out of the expected 5,000 buses
Unveiling the FLM bus scheme at the State House, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu said the need to phase out okada was the reason their introduction.
He said government would observe the operation of the FLM for two months to see if it met the needed demand before he would pronounce total ban on okada riding.
Sanwo-Olu said the FLM had been conceived to take care of commuting between the main transit corridors and the hearts of communities, where the bulk of the people reside and where the high capacity buses would normally not pass through.
“It is intended to connect various communities with one another. This launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life.
The governor lamented that okada riders banned from operating in six Local Governments and some LCDAs had continued to flout the law of the state.
He said key resolutions reached at the recent townhall meeting held in Lagos was the increase crime rate occasioned by okada riders.
“As a responsive and progressive government committed to good governance which ensures all voices and opinions are heard, we assured the meeting of immediate and comprehensive measures to be unveiled in the coming days, to concretize some of the proposals and resolutions emanating from the Meeting,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde said the governor also recently performed the ground breaking for the first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line, which ‘we expect will commence passenger operation by the fourth quarter of 2022.
“In addition, the first phase of the Blue Line will also be brought to passenger operation about the same time in 2022. Fifteen Water jetties are also at different developmental stages to continue to boost water transportation.”
Oladeinde said in line with the Transport Sector Reform law 2018, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Transportation and LAMATA had put in place various measures aimed at readjusting her transportation strategies to accommodate the first/last mile transportation system which is all inclusive, safe, convenient, affordable, accessible and in line with global practices.
The commissioner stated that the FLM bus scheme was therefore a part of the state’s overall transport system that is meant to give Lagosians living in the hinterland relief in accessing the main transport corridors through a safe means.
“The FLM bus scheme will sure make the whole passenger transport chain as seamless, fast and comfortable as possible,” he said.
Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the FLM is the last layer of the Bus reform Initiative for Lagos state, which comes from the Lagos state transport master plan developed by LAMATA.
Akinajo explained that the Bus Reform initiative was a plan by government to ensure that over time, public transportation system is moved from an unregulated framework to a regulated framework.
She stated that the FLM bus scheme could also be seen as the bus scheme that enhanced and ensured connectivity in the intermodal and integrated public transportation drive of the state.
” The routes have been designed to provide connectivity not just for the three tiers of bus schemes but also for all forms of public transportation, to include water transportation and the Rail transportation system when they become operational last quarter 2022.
“These buses will connect community routes to the major BRT bus stops, bus terminals, ferry terminals as well as train stations. 286 routes have been identified as FLM routes and the routes have been designed to be around 5km but always ensuring that connectivity is achieved for intermodal transportation.
“The implementation of the First and Last Mile Bus Scheme followed the restriction of the operations of tricycles and motorcycles in six local government areas and nine local council development areas. Its implementation is essentially to plug the mobility gap created by the clampdown.
“The implementation of the FLM followed a painstaking steps which involved stakeholders’ engagement in order to get everyone involved and obtain their buy in,” she added.
Akinajo disclosed that the state has been delineated into eight zones, which included:
• Zone 1: Ikeja and Ketu
• Zone 2: Oshodi, Mushin, and Surulere
• Zone 3: Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo
• Zone 4: Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju Lekki
• Zone 5: Iyana-ipaja and Agege
• Zone 6: Mile 2, Iyana-Iba and Ajeromi
• Zone 7: Ikorodu
• Zone 8: Epe and Badagry
The LAMATA boss said immediately after the launch, operations shall commence in zones 2,3,4,5, and 7 which represented the first phase first phase of the bus scheme, adding that the FLM scheme would be run by private operators who would work with the state.
“For participation in the bus scheme, the State Government shall support private operators in the Bus acquisition under a Bus Finance Scheme. The private operator shall be required to make 20% down payment to be eligible to come under the Bus Finance Scheme. The repayment period for the Bus Finance Scheme shall be for a period of 36 months and the state has negotiated an interest rate of 10% for the outstanding amount.
“The Lagos State Government has deployed a central ticketing system for use across all public transport modes and the cowry card system shall be deployed on the FLM bus operations. Each bus is fitted with a validator and commuters only need to tap their cards on the validator once. No cash shall be accepted in the buses. Cowry cards shall be the only means of paying for the bus fare. This allows a commuter with the existing Lagos State Cowry Travel Card on the BRT buses, standard route buses to also use it on the FLM buses,” she stated.
She said LAMATA shall continuously monitor the FLM Operations through physical and electronic means, saying that the physical monitoring will be carried out through the deployment of monitoring officers to the zones of the FLM corridors.
“A Monitoring Mobile Application has been designed for real time data collection as well as vehicle tracking devices. In addition, buses shall be color-coded according to zones for ease of identification and monitoring.
“As part of operation, we shall ensure proper maintenance of the buses to guarantee their service longevity. Maintenance of the buses shall be outsourced to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and they shall be responsible for executing all preventive and corrective maintenance needs.
“Operators will ensure that buses are maintained following the best engineering standard. The OEM will provide full maintenance support which includes curative and preventive maintenance. A central maintenance workshop shall be provided by the bus supplier where local technicians shall be trained from time to time and they shall receive certification to be the OEM certified technicians,” she added.