The Lagos State government yesterday formally kicked off commercial waterways transportation with the official launch of eight newly acquired speed boats.
The governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, unveiled the speed boats, which will be operated by the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY), at a ceremony held at the Badore Ferry Terminal, Eti-Osa local government area.
The event marked the commencement of commercial operations in waterways transportation by LAGFERRY.
The governor also launched a mobile application designed to facilitate easy access to the water transportation services.
Sanwo-Olu said the intervention represented a “great leap” in his administration’s strategy to deliver an effective and integrated inter-modal transportation system in addressing the perennial issue of traffic congestion on the roads.
He said, “The narrative of transportation 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 substantially reduce travel time for commuters.
“Today, we are launching eight units of additional ferries to complement the existing six ferries in the fleet of the Lagos Ferry Service. It is glaring that for Lagos to be a functional smart city that we desire, there must be diversification of the mode of transportation. There must be interconnectivity of the rail, road and water transportation systems.”
A statement by Mr Gboyega Akosile, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sanwo-Olu, said the design and fabrication of the new boats were “totally worked out by two local boats manufacturers, in line with Sanwo-Olu’s promise to explore local capacity in providing solutions to various challenges.”
The governor charged private investors to harness opportunities in the value chain, assuring that the state government had solved the teething problems associated with the mode of transportation and infrastructure.
“We are fully committed to increasing investment in the development of more routes on the waterways. To consolidate on infrastructure, we will embark on the construction of more jetties and provision of more modern ferry boats to create opportunities for more private sector participation in water transportation,” he said.
The governor promised that the state would drive full compliance on measures put in place to ensure the safety of commuters using the waterways, adding that the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) was being strengthened to effectively discharge its monitoring and regulatory duties in line with best practice.
He added, “Before the end of the year, we will double the capacity in the LAGFERRY fleet from 14 to 30 boats. This is to enable the agency discharge its mandate to ease the movement of Lagosians from various parts of the city to another through the waterways.”
Sanwo-Olu promised that modern jetties would also be built in Badagry, Lekki and Ajegunle, pledging that the one being built in Ijegun would soon be completed.
The Chief Executive Officer of LAGFERRY, Abdulbaq Balogun, also noted, “With our global water transportation licence, LAGFERRY will operate on all the waterways routes in Lagos, starting gradually, according to the available capacity. We will be deploying all our 14 available ferries to cover the three senatorial zones immediately.
“Our well developed and properly coordinated water transportation is also helping in haulage across the state, moving trucks, containers and goods and thereby relieving the roads of heavy duty trucks which contribute in no small measure to failure of roads.”
Three of the boats deployed for operations by LAGFERRY have the capacity to carry 60 passengers. Two were built to carry 50 passengers each, while another two have the capacity to carry 40 passengers each. Also, three of the boats will carry 30 passengers each and six will carry 25 passengers each. Akosile stated that all the boats were built with comfortable seats, in-built Wi-Fi and modern technological devices to aid smooth operation and safety.