You see, it’s somewhat funny and paradoxical to imagine that quite a huge number of Lagosians cringe and wail daily about the unfriendly nature of how the bad roads in the City are dealing with their health and professional lives.
That’s on one hand. On the other hand, these lots still are disinterested in knowing about the progress the state has made in developing other alternatives, one of which is the waterways.
And this exactly was what I tried doing when I engaged Mr Azeez, the facility manager at the Bariga waterfront jetty, which is one of the 59 jetties in Lagos state, to know what he thinks about water transportation and how he hopes to grow the influx of passengers and boat operators at the newly built Bariga waterfront Jetty.
Of course, not all of these 59 jetties are attractive, secure and active. In fact, emphasis is only laid on mega terminals like that of Mile 2, Ikorodu, Badore, etc. and this is largely due to the unavailability of boat operators and public awareness in the less popular stations like that of Bariga.
Knowing how easily a bunch of Lagosians might be caught up with the bustle of the city (which ideally is abusive but addictive at the same time), I felt the need to make a couple of findings with the intent of resharing them at a time when I know they will be free to consume them (like you’re currently doing).
Lagos state occupies 3,577 square kilometers with water bodies accounting for 23% of its geographical position.
Source: Lagos state government
To start with, the transportation network in Lagos is currently in a state of despair, and it hurts whenever I see posts on social media calling out the Government for the displeasing situation, where in actual fact, we as a people haven’t been at our best in lending towards a solution. From littering the streets to being deliberately disinterested in government, we are all somehow the architects of this misfortune currently toying with our genitals, but this is a tale for another day.
To give this piece a better context, it’d be interesting to know that
– MORE than 8 million People travel on Lagos road every day
– 200,000 of them use the BRT and
– 60,000 travel using the waterways
How Do I get to The Bariga waterfront jetty?
A lot of my friends and followers on social media have testified to seeing the giant “Love Lagos” signage whenever they are on the 3rd mainland bridge but have always wondered where the place is and how they can get there to take some dope pictures.
Well, the Bariga waterfront jetty is located at Ilaje which is a 2-3 minutes drive from Bariga main market. Busses going to Bariga can be gotten at popular parks such as Oshodi, Yaba, and Obalende.
Who can use it?
On getting to the jetty, I saw a couple of people who were patiently waiting on the boats to arrive so they can be taken to their various destinations.
Although a large percentage of the commuters on the ground were young Millenials who seemed to be working in some of the many financial institutions on Lagos Island, there were a few who wore the look of individual contractors and entrepreneurs.
The interesting thing about this particular jetty and every other one in the city is it’s one size fits all approach. Just like other means of transportation, it isn’t age or class restrictive, as every and anybody who can afford a ride will ride.
How does it work? How Much is it for a ride?
The jetty opens every ‘work day’ of the week. And I think this is so because a large fraction of the daily passengers is professional 9-5 workers.
- All you need to do as a passenger is get to the jetty between 6:30 and 8:00 am so you can put down your name.
- The earliest set of people will get to put their names on the first list, but you needn’t worry, there are about 2 to 3 boats available every morning (for now).
- Each passenger gets a clean and comfortable life jacket before getting on the boat
It costs N500 flat per trip and the major stops include Lekki, Sandfill, Law school, and Falomo
I spoke with a group of friends (Funmi, Dami, Victor, and Kunle) whom I met at the terminal and Dami made it clear that since being introduced to the jetty by Funmi, he’s become more efficient and has been able to constantly gain more sleep time- two factors that have been plaguing professionals working in Lagos.
On the challenges facing the jetty, Mr Azeez, the manager made me understand that, convincing boat operators to sign up to pick passengers at the Bariga waterfront jetty has been a major challenge, closely followed by the lack of public awareness about the Jetty by potential commuters.
In this interview, he spoke about a couple of things they are currently working on to ensuring these problems are reduced to the barest minimum if they can’t be totally eradicated.
It’s Relatively Expensive
As amazing as water transportation is, a part of me still thinks it’s relatively expensive but when we look at the implicit benefits, it’s worth the price tag. Somi was physically tired when I last saw her. I was worried, so I asked why she doesn’t use the ferry since it’s less stressful and even faster. she waved me off as soon as I landed, making me understand that it’s slightly expensive for her as the amount she would have spent on a round trip using the ferry will cover her transportation for 2 days if she opted for her regular bus.
Out of how much wey I dey collect? Abeg!
To this end, I think the pricing should be looked into, so as to accommodate and encourage more people from the lower-income brackets into considering water transportation. Strategies such as:
– price reduction during off-peak periods might help.
– selling discounted bulk tickets might also be an incentive.
– proper data analytics will help in identifying and rewarding the most consistent ones with perks like free tickets.
Whilst on the boat, which at the time was on top speed, it felt like war as I kept bouncing on my seat every time the boat’s chest hits the water surface. “What if I was pregnant?” I thought as we traveled.
In Conclusion, I must commend the efforts of the Lagos State Government through Laswa in ensuring the development of our waterways. Just like Mr Azeez, I’m very optimistic that water transportation will be so lucrative for both operators and investors alike, as it would contribute immensely towards tourism in Lagos and Nigeria at large.
If you’d be free on Monday (23rd December), I’m organizing a tour of the facility and a mini photoshoot session for about 5-10 travel enthusiasts. Just hit me up.
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