FILE PHOTO: Lagos public transport system

Most Lagos State Government public transport guidelines to curb further spread of coronavirus have been found to be unimplemented by transport operators.

The government through the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, had on Monday issued public transport guidelines to operators and passengers to curb the spread of coronavirus in buses, cabs, motor parks and garages.

According to him, henceforth it is compulsory for all transport operators to sanitise their parks and have at the entrance to their respective parks/garages, washing hand equipment with soap and running water.

He said that all operators were expected to have alcohol-based sanitisers in their vehicles for the use of drivers, conductors and passengers and should not overcrowd/overload their vehicles at this point in time.

Oladeinde said that passenger’s spacing must be fully observed and that all commercial buses should be at 60 per cent capacity and not 100 per cent capacity.

He said that all drivers and conductors should always wear hand gloves and nose guards while in transit and all passengers are also required to sanitise themselves before and after each trip.

A news correspondent who monitored commercial buses in Lagos on Monday and Tuesday observed that most parks and commercial buses did not have sanitising facilities and most drivers and conductors failed to wear hand gloves and nose guards.

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The guidelines against overloading were completely not observed as most commercial buses were loaded to the full without even leaving a seat for conductors to sit.

The operators did not only disregard the guideline that all commercial buses should load at 60 per cent capacity but also overloaded in some instances.

It was equally observed that few passengers standing in some state-owned public transport at Costain Area of the state on Monday after the directives were given.

Speaking, Mr Dipo Awojobi, a Media practitioner, frowned at overloading of commercial buses in spite of the directives.

Awojobi said that it was sad that people still took with levity the danger of coronavirus, saying that adequate care should be taken.

“How can a bus expected to carry 14 passengers including the driver be carrying 19 passengers including the driver at this time?

“Meanwhile, I don’t blame these operators but the law enforcement agents,” he said.

A Pastor, Titus Oyedeji, enroute Oshodi from Ota, in Ogun decried overloading of buses and disregard to other directives meant to curb the spread of the virus.

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Oyedeji said: “It seems many people do not still understand their vulnerability. People take things for granted.

“For instance, all our efforts to make conductor reserves a seat for himself proved abortive.

“Another question is why a passenger who understands the danger of COVID-19 still wants to board a bus already filled up.

“Even if the conductor says you should come in, you should refuse. So, all of us must fight this virus.”

According to him, except there is enforcement, most operators and passengers will not heed the warning of spacing in buses.

Also speaking, Mrs Mulikat Tijani-Olanrewaju enroute Oshodi from Iyana-Ipaja, said that commercial bus operators, whose goal was to make profit, would never load their buses at 60 per cent capacity.

Tijani-Olanrewaju, a businesswoman, said that the government should provide sanitisers for commercial bus operators and passengers to curb the spread, saying many could not afford the price of sanitisers.

A private Tutor, Mr Samuel Adeleye, said that he was abused by some passengers of not putting his car on the road when he moved to alight from a commercial vehicle over overloading at Alausa Secretariat.

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In spite of the guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus through public transport, most drivers and conductors, as well as commuters, are still carefree in Lagos.

Meanwhile, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Lagos State Chapter had directed all its members to comply with government directives and get sanitisers in their buses.

Alhaji Abdurahman Amusan, the Secretary of RTEAN in Lagos said that the association would support the government on any step to stop the spread of the virus.

Also speaking, Mr Fola Tinubu, the Managing Director of the Primero Transport Services Ltd., operator of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos said that the firm would only carry 42 passengers in each trip without anyone standing.