Over 43,000 people are now using the waterways to commute in Lagos State, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,has said.
He attributed the rise in waterways passengers in the state to the state investment in water transportation.
Sanwo-Olu stated this at the weekend while inaugurating the state’s Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Centre (WMDMC) at the Five Cowrie Terminal – headquarters of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) – in Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The Data Management Centre, which is a centralised monitoring base for all activities on the Lagos waterways, is expected to enhance security and improve inland waterways transportation network in the state.
Traffic gridlock is a common phenomenon in Lagos and according to the governor, traffic management/ transportation remains core of his administration’s economic development plan.
He added that in the last three years, waterways transport had been given special attention as part of the efforts to create multimodal transportation system in the state.
“We have invested so much in LASWA that today, we are beginning to see the effects.
Over the past three years, daily commuter ridership has increased to 43,000 passengers and over 1.4 million passengers yearly.
There has also been a visible reduction in boat mishaps achieved through our massive intervention in safety equipment and donations of free lifejackets across the 15 local government areas accessible by water,” Sanwo-olu said.
The governor also inaugurated LASWA Search and Rescue Unit (SAR), which will be responsible for patrolling and enforcing the State’s waterways rules and regulation.
The governor stressed that activation of the monitoring gadgets and infrastructure will consolidate the government efforts in making the state waterways safer for its users.
“In the last three and half years, our administration has invested massively in waterways infrastructure and assets to deliberately encourage and promote water transportation in Lagos.
“Our gathering today is to further deepen our commitment to have a safe and secure ferry operation on our waterways.
“We are commissioning a big command and control centre specifically established to monitor and protect our waterways.
“We are inaugurating the newly created Search and Rescue Unit that will be patrolling and enforcing our waterways rules and regulation.
“We are handing over two additional patrol boats and safety enhancements.
“We are also launching advanced D.J.I. Aerial Drone, BlueEye Pro drone for underwater searches, and U-SAFE rescuing gadgets.
“These gadgets are acquired and installed to consolidate our efforts in making our waterways safer for its users and making monitoring activities seamless.
“It also demonstrates our unparalleled commitment to providing a viable alternative transport solution that will complement other modes.
“This is the investment we will continue to make, in addition to building additional jetties.
“In the coming weeks, we will be commissioning eight newly built jetties out of the 15 we are currently building,” he said.