The Lagos Ferry Services Company (LAGFERRY) says it has a daily target of moving 480,000 people through the water transport when it reached its optimal operational level.
Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun, said this during ”Covinspiration,” an online show moderated by Dayo Israel, a UN Special Representative and British Council Global Change – maker.
Balogun said , “As at June 30, we had operated for 77 days on inland waterways and moved 60,000 passengers.”
He said that LAGFERRY had 14 boats of different capacities, adding that the company was making efforts to expand its operations with the provision of bigger ferries and the involvement of private investors.
Balogun commended Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s visionary leadership to transform water transportation in the state.
He said that the administration was tapping into the several abandoned potential in the sector aimed at decongesting the pressures on the road.
“Mr Governor is focusing his energy on ensuring a multi-modal transport system with the abundance of water bodies we have. We are moving people and goods on pleasant experience through the inland waterways.
“Mr Governor is committed to ensuring that we have a full-fledged water transport.
“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads everyday, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 per cent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways.
“That gives us about 480,000 passengers. So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State,”the managing director said.
According to him, LAGFERRY has the licence to operate in all the 40 routes in the inland waterways, it started on Feb. 4 with six strategic routes which include Ikorodo-Falomo, and Ikorodu-Ebute-Ero/CMS.
He said that other routes are, Badore-Ijede, Badore-Falomo, Mile 2-CMS through Liverpool, Apapa and Ojo-CMS through Ijegun Egba terminal in Ori-Ade Local Council Development Area.
Balogun added that the routes were approved because of their strategic plan to reduce traffic situation on the major roads in those areas.
The managing director said that traffic congestion on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway would be minimised with LAGFERRY operations in those six routes.
He said that LAGFERRY had the capacity to do more but the COVID-19 lockdown and safety guidelines limited them to 60 per cent capacity in each boat.
“We are just coming on board, we are still testing the water, passengers are just coming to know us and we are still creating awareness.
“We have not reached our peak and we are yet to get to optimum operational level. We want to expand the services of LAGFERRY to other routes and enhance productivity,”Balogun said.
On safety, he noted that the business of water transport thrives on safety of boats, the crew and passengers, saying all LAGFERRY boats had safety standards and comfortable seats.
Balogun, who noted that the LAGFERRY fares were affordable, said that the firm had intended to hike the fares in order for it to break even.
He said that Gov. Sanwo-Olu, however, rejected the plan saying such was likely to increase the plights of the commuters.
The managing director said that apart from its social obligation of transporting people and goods along waterways, the firm also offered services for tourists and social events through its ferries that had WiFi facility and USB ports for charging.