Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, expanded the capacity of the Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) with the delivery of seven additional high-capacity speed boats to shore up the agency’s fleet for rapid transit on the waterways.
Also at the event, Sanwo-Olu launched the use of Cowry Card for passengers using water transportation to create a seamless payment scheme in line with the State’s multi-modal transportation system that integrates the LAGFERRY services to an automated payment solution already created for the BRT services and the State-owned rail lines, which are coming on board.
Sanwo-Olu, represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the procurement of the new boats was in fulfillment of his Government’s pledge to boost the fleet of LAGFERRY and increase its capacity to transport more people daily in order to reduce traffic congestion on the roads.
He said: “The impressive performance of LAGFERRY in the last one year is an indication of the growing confidence of the residents in water transportation. This justifies our decision to procure additional boats to enhance LAGFERRY’s operations and capacity to meet the transportation demands of its teeming passengers.
“We are also launching the Cowry Card for water transportation to create a seamless payment scheme for our Multimodal Transportation System, which is gradually taking shape as we have commenced the integration of our rail lines, bus terminals and waterways.
“I am pleased to inform you that we are already witnessing positive outcomes from our investment in the safety and viability of our waterways as a safe alternative to road transportation.”
The Governor said the Government was currently undertaking the construction and rehabilitation of 15 jetties across the State, as well as embarking on the dredging of the Lagos lagoon to open up more routes in waterway transportation.
An enhanced LAGFERRY’s operations, Sanwo-Olu said, would help the State Government to promote tourism and boost commerce by providing logistics solutions to business owners seeking to move their trucks and cargoes through the waterways within Apapa and also through regular charter services.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the Government’s approach to solving the State’s transportation gap was to adopt an all-round approach which took cognizance of the development of all modes of transportation.
“The ongoing Transport Sector reform is aimed at boosting the water transportation as a genuine modal option which allows the people to drop their cars and commute by ferries,” the Commissioner said.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of LAGFERRY, Hon. Abdoulbaq Balogun, said the State-owned operator, which commenced its operations in February 2020, had a mandate to move 30 per cent of commuters through the waterways. With the addition to the fleet, he said the agency had scaled up its carrying capacity to 710 passengers per trip.
The new boats launched include two units of 50-seater and five units of 30-seater, with one utility boat for operational purposes. They will operate on all approved routes for LAGFERRY, and passengers are to use the Cowry Card for payment for the ferry services.