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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Sanwo-Olu inaugurates 40-seater ferries, cautions operators against safety violations

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has inaugurated 15 high-capacity commercial ferries built locally, to expand and provide effective transport mode options for movement across the state.

Sanwo-Olu said that the 40 passengers capacity ferries will boost the fleet and enhance accessibility as well as provide convenience by decongesting road networks further.

He disclosed that the ferries were built locally to harness talent and boost “Lagos economy as well as ensures adherence to the highest safety and quality standards.”

According to him, these ferries remind us of what we can achieve together with a common goal. Let us embrace this new chapter in our transportation history with optimism and determination.

Sanwo-Olu, meanwhile, has directed the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to go after boat operators contravening safety standards during operations.

Addressing stakeholders during the inauguration on Wednesday, in Badore axis of Lagos, the governor noted that these ferries “symbolise our commitment to transforming Lagos into a city that thrives on efficient, clean, and sustainable transportation.”

The governor said that strategic investments has been made to ensure commuting on the inland waterways becomes a viable and preferred choice.

According to him, Lagos’s unique geography offers the state a tremendous opportunity for water transportation considering that 15 out of the 20 local government areas are accessible via these waterways, presenting a reliable and enjoyable alternative to road travel.

To assist connectivity and aid better operations for the high-capacity commercial ferries, the governor stated that 15 jetties have been constructed to give the facilities avenue to pick their passengers with ease.

“Aside from that, we have established the Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Center (LASWA Control Room), acquired two additional patrol boats, and set up a Search and Rescue Unit alongside a floating clinic for Emergencies,” Sanwo-Olu added.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, disclosed that ferry named ‘OmiBus, was initiated to transform commuting in the metropolis, with a special focus on rapid transiting and convenience.

“These modern ferries, with their advanced amenities and safety features, will not only ensure comfortability of passengers in secure journeys, they will also herald a new era of convenience and efficiency in Lagos. Mr. Governor’s visionary leadership and tireless effort in prioritising the development of our inland waterways has been nothing short of inspiring. This has laid the foundation for a transportation system that will serve future generations,” Osiyemi added.

The General Manager, LASWA, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said the new vessels were designed with simple maintenance but high efficiency.

Emmanuel reiterated the agency’s commitment to ensure safer, faster and accident-free journey on the Lagos waterways.

He said the local production of ferries would drive more local investments in waterways transportation, just as it would open more commercial routes and access to isolated communities.

“I am proud to say that LASWA is the go-to Agency when it comes to providing reliable data, research materials, and accurate time information on the Lagos Inland Waterways and ensuring that ferry transport is a sustainable means of transportation in the state.

“Therefore, the Omi-Bus ferry project is not just about adding more vessels; it’s about enhancing our capacity to serve the growing number of commuters who rely on water transport daily.

“These unique modern boats are equipped with revolutionary technology to ensure all commuters’ safety, comfort, and convenience.

“They represent our commitment to sustainability, resilience, and innovation, featuring eco-friendly designs that minimize environmental impact.

“Our goal is to provide a viable alternative mode of transportation, thereby contributing to the economic growth and ecological sustainability of Lagos State”.

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