Commuters resort to ferry, train as Apapa gridlock worsens
FOLLOWING the gridlock at Apapa area of Lagos, residents and people working in the place even company executives have abandoned their cars and resorted to traveling by ferry, train and in some cases use commercial motorcycle fondly referred to as “Okada.”
The development has also slowed down business activities in the area as key staff of agencies and companies report for duty several hours after resumption time on a regular basis.
Commuters, who complained to The Guardian onboard a train from Ikeja to Apapa on Monday, lamented the inability of the Federal and Lagos State Governments to address the worsening traffic situation in the area.
They called on the Buhammadu Buhari led administration to muster the political will to relocate all tank farms along the axis and encourage the use of other seaports outside Lagos as part of measures to save the commercial suburb from further deterioration.
A board member in one of the Maritime agencies in Apapa, said the degenerating traffic situation in Apapa is a threat to the nation’s economy. He said: “We are now used to the situation. It terrible.
The tragedy of it is that there is no solution in sight. Where else can this happen in the world? In Apapa, you have a large and busy port, tank farms, thousands of trucks and commercial vehicles struggling for the limited space in the place on a daily basis. It is terrible. This can only happen in a place where there is no government and nobody is in control.”
He blamed previous administrations at the Federal level for what he called “playing politics” with the problems in Apapa instead of finding a lasting solution over the years.
While declaring that the situation is almost getting out of hand, he said that the only effective solution for now is to relocate the tank farms in the area to somewhere to reduce the inflow of trucks. The journey by train to Apapa from Agege via Ikeja and Mushin cost N750 and last for about an hour or less.
From Ikeja to Apapa by train takes about 30 minutes. But from Ikeja to Apapa by road takes between three and five hours. Because of the remarkable increase in the number of people now using Ferry as a result of the horrible traffic situation in Apapa, The Guardian noticed an unusual long queue of passengers struggling to get seats onboard ferries from CMS to Apapa yesterday.
One of the passengers, who gave his name as Dayo said: “I have phobia for water transport. As it is now, I don’t have any choice. I don’t want to lose my job. I have been doing this (Traveling by ferry) since March this year. It is faster than road but not convenient for me.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the chaotic transport situation along the Apapa axis. Some of the commuters bemoaned the cost of traveling by trains with one of them saying that before now; she used to pay N400 by road to get to Apapa from Mushin.
“Now,” she disclosed, “If you board a train from Agege, you will N750. If at Ikeja, you will also pay the same N750 and even from Mushin, it is still the same amount. It’s not fair.
My salary remains the same while I spend more on transportation.” The worrisome traffic situation in Apapa has also extended to the nearby areas in that axis.
For example, The Guardian observed that the traffic jam is more along Costain-Breweries-Ijora-Apapa and Mile Two-Coconut route, towards the Port Complex. Many commuters and residents of Apapa have abandoned the Mile Two-Coconut-Apapa axis, as it has been completely taken over by trucks and petroleum tankers. In some cases, workers are unable to get to work due to the chaotic traffic situation there.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) General Manager, Western Ports, Michael Ajayi, in an interview with The Guardian said a meeting is being proposed with representatives of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) as part of measures to introduce what he termed “palliative measures.”
THE Managing Director of Apapa Bulk Terminal, Captain Mohammed Bashir, recently appealed to the General Manager (Mar. Ajayi) to use his good offices to address the deplorable state of the port access roads.
He said: “The bad condition of access roads need to be fixed because containers often fall off from trucks on the roads almost daily. However, Ajayi, while inspecting some bad spots on the access roads last week, disclosed that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to tackle the Apapa gridlock and problems associated with it.
The Managing Director, Greenview Development Limited (GDNL), Alhaji Abba Bukar, said no port could exist without trucks and that to address the peculiar challenge being experienced at Apapa, there is need to create a truck transit park for them to leave the roads and that the already loaded trucks seen parking on the roads is the responsibility of NPA to do something to halt such practice.