#ConciseMetro: Lagosians React To Danfo Buses Ban, BRT Fares Increment

By Victor Ernest

The Lagos State government, on the 6th of Feb, 2017, announced its plan to ban ‘yellow buses’ popularly known as ‘danfo’ buses from plying Lagos roads.

This was made known by Gov Akinwunmi Ambode during the 14th Annual Lecture of the Centre for Value and Leadership themed Living Well Together, Tomorrow: The Challenge of Africa’s Future Cities held in Lagos.

Ambode insisted that the ban was to give room to a more efficient, well-structured and world class mass transportation system that would facilitate ease of movement within the city.

In a related development a week later, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) announced new fare price for the three operators under the public transport scheme of the state government.

According to the announcement, the average increment approved would range from 20 percent to 50 percent.

Concise Metro once again hit the streets of Lagos to test Lagosian’s pulse on these two burning issues. Below is is our findings:

Olushola Abiola:

Concise Metro: What’s your view on Lagos State govt’s plan to ban danfo buses?

Olushola Abiola: Well, I think this is a very good development for Lagosians. As you know, Lagos state is a large state and a mega city. So, we need to build ourselves and develop ourselves as mega cities like London, Paris and other European cities. The ban will make Lagos cleaner and safer. I think the proposed ban is a good development.

My reasons for supporting the proposed ban are: (i) when the government ban the buses, the government will give us a better alternatives, larger buses that will contain more people (ii) traffic jam will reduce on Lagos roads because the ban will reduce the umber of vehicles plying on the road.

However, the government should provide more social amenities for the people so that they can live comfortably.

Concise Metro: What do you think about the planned increment of BRT bus fares?

Olushola Abiola: I heard this will commence in March, but I don’t think the government will carry out that plan because of the current economic situation in the country. If they should go ahead and increase it, it will really adversely affect the people because the people are already crying about so many things.

Aside the commuters that will be directly affected, this increment will also indirectly result in increase in the prices of goods in the market again. Government is claiming that the planned increment is because of the cost of fuel and maintenance of the buses, but they should not pass the whole burden to the poor masses.

If the government, however, insist on going ahead with the plan, then it must be prepared to, first of all, increase the minimum wage.

Babalola Olalekun:

Concise Metro: What’s your view on Lagos State govt’s plan to ban danfo buses?

Babalola Olalekun: It is a good development. We welcome it. This is because if you look at critically, you will see that Ambode is trying to meet up the target of a Mega city. And when you are trying to meet up the target of being referred to as a Mega city, you won’t really care about the pain. This is because on the long, you will see that the short time pain will give birth to a long lasting enjoyment. So, we should welcome it.

At the same time, being a law enforcement agent, I’ll say the attitude of some danfo drivers is so terrible that the planned eradication of their service is justifiable.

For instance, this morning, a lady that boarded a danfo bus from Obanikoro to CMS was robbed inside the danfo bus. They collected her ATM card and used it to withdraw up to N300, 000 from her account through their POS machine. You can see the trauma somebody has to pass through because of patronising danfo bus. Other passengers are also at risk.

Moreso, many danfo drivers are very reckless and useless. If you want to die, just buy a danfo bus and give it to somebody to drive for you. I have many of their cases on my table.

What I will advise the govt to do is to incorporate the few good danfo bus drivers and conductors into its transportation scheme. Call them, screen them and introduce those that pass the screening to the new transport scheme.

Just like the ban of Okada, I know danfo buses cannot be completely eradicated but their activities can be reduced to the barest minimum.

Concise Metro: What do you think about the planned increment of BRT bus fares?

Babalola Olalekun: Well, when you experience the comfortability of the BRT buses, you will see that the fare is just a token. However, if the increment must stand, it should not be more than 15 to 20 percent.

I will support the increment if it will increase the efficiency and the productivity of the system, but it should not be too much.

Prince Obayemi:

Concise Metro: What’s your view on Lagos State govt’s plan to ban danfo buses?

Prince Obayemi: What I can say is that they should limit their operations, not ban them completely.

If they should ban them like that, there won’t be jobs for the drivers, the conductors and even the road worker union members. Just imagine the kind of crime rate this will create.

I won’t encourage the ban because, there are so many people who get their daily bread through the yellow buses. The best thing to do is for the government to invite the operators of the yellow buses, give them rules and regulations to follow. If the rules are enforced, there won’t be danfo problems again.

Concise Metro: What do you think about the planned increment of BRT bus fares?

Prince Obayemi: We have a lot of BRT buses plying the road, so I don’t see any need for increment of fares. Govt should not increase BRT bus fares just because the buses have AC, they should continue with the normal bus fares.


Concise Metro: What’s your view on Lagos State govt’s plan to ban danfo buses?

Mrs. Esther: The should not ban it o!!!

Concise Metro: Why do you say so?

Mrs. Esther:  Commuters will suffer if they ban it because the BRT buses are not enough. We need enough BRT buses first.

Maybe the government should first of all introduce smaller LAGBUSes. They should introduce plenty that will be enough for all commuters in Lagos State. If they should just ban the yellow buses like that, it won’t be easy at all.

Concise Metro: What do you think about the proposed increment of BRT fares?

Mrs. Esther: I have not heard of that one. They should not increase it o! This period that there is no food outside? Everybody is complaining of biting economy. Increasing BRT fares now is like adding more problems to our problems. The price is okay like that, they should not add anything to it.

Mr. Daniel

Concise Metro:  What’s your view on Lagos State govt’s plan to ban danfo buses?

Mr. Daniel: If they should ban danfo buses, then they must ensure the availability of BRT buses and LAGBUSes, and it should be steady.

The banning of danfo buses is not a problem, but they should ensure that the alternative is sufficient and efficient for every commuter.

I’m in support of the ban because it will create room for consistency in control of transport fare. Lagos State govt will be able to checkmate so many ills in the transport sector of the state.

There are instances where the use of danfo has caused robbery and even loss of lives. Men of the underworld make use of danfo buses to carry out their operations. Those who go to work very early in the morning or late at night are usually the victims.

The ban will really help the government in stabilizing the transport system and regulate the economy.

Concise Metro: What is your say on the proposed increment on BRT fares?

Mr. Daniel: This is one of those factors I was talking about. Prices need to be controlled totally.

Lagos State has the rich, average and low classes. We have the workforce, the students and the jobless. If a government is really serious about its people, it will base all its plans on these statistics.

If the government should increase the fares now, it means the government is still learning the art of governance. The current economy doesn’t warrant this at all. If the government is planning to do this, then, there is no need to ban the yellow buses.

Many more respondents spoke to Concise Metro off-record. One thing all the respondents, however, have in common is that they in agreement with Lagos State govt on ban of danfo buses.

Most of the respondents also want the government to make all the provisions needed for the govt transport scheme to function efficiently so that nobody will miss the danfo buses.

On the other hand, most respondents believe that the planned increment of BRT bus fare is coming at a wrong time. They believe that the people are already faced with too much economic hardship, and that this increment will be an additional burden for them. One that is almost unbearable.

A few argue that the increment would have been fair if it wasn’t up to 50 percent.

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