The state of water transportation in Lagos

30th May 2015

Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with four times more people in the city today than there were 15 years ago. At this rate the city will be among the most populous in the world in the coming decades.

One of the problems with Lagos’ sprawling population is transportation. People have to get around in the city and for most people it’s often a struggle doing so. This is because the main way to get around is by road. The railway and water systems are still very far behind in development. The roads are literally jammed all the time.

These jams can be really frustrating. People want to get around so they can get things done, but often they have to spend hours in multiple jams every day. It affects productivity too because people get to spend time in traffic that they could use to do something productive. There’s a huge loss of man hours in this city on a daily basis.

Often the problem is because the roads are bad or because the road network just isn’t flexibly developed enough. So many people want to pass the roads and bridges but there’s simply not enough room to take everyone at the same time.

Diversifying transportation would have been a great relief for road users. In Lagos, nearly everyone who wants to go somewhere does so by road. There’s only one train route in the city and most people don’t use it. The water system is also in a slowly developing state. Relatively few people commute in the city by water. Everyone’s on the road.

Lagos is situated on the coastline and water transportation is certainly viable here. A lot of people who commute by road could do so by water faster if the system was properly developed. The government has been working on this in order to reduce road traffic so that people can move more freely. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

Many people who commute by water or who would like to commute by water are concerned about their safety and security. Many routes mostly have boats driven with a paddle and the standard boats are poorly fitted. Also the boats are poorly managed and there’s not enough monitoring on routes to make sure the system runs efficiently. Most times it’s even costlier to go by water than by road. These things discourage water transport use.

Lagos needs to use its coastline advantage to solve its transportation problems. It’s going to take more government action and spending to develop the water system, but in the long run it will pay off for the people and make things better in the city.

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