A Lagos resident, Mr. Rasak Adewale, grew up in Festac Town, Lagos, where he enjoyed the services of the Lagos State Transport Corporation in the 1980s and up till the 90s. However, Adewale said the fun only lasted till the late 90s by which time, the fleet of red and white Mercedes Benz buses of the LSTC had disappeared from the roads.
Adewale said he sees a similar scenario playing out in the modern mass transit services of the Bus Rapid Transit and LAGBUS in the state and fears for their fate.
Adewale said, “LSTC also started brightly like the present-day BRT and LAGBUS and even had air-conditioned buses, before they started disappearing from the roads. Recently, BRT and LAGBUS have started showing signs of poor maintenance too, just like it happened with the LSTC. People stand in long queues now for BRT and LAGBUS buses, while their garages are parked with grounded buses.”
But prior to the introduction of the LSTC, investigation shows that there have been a run of public mass transit schemes in Lagos, which all disappeared after some years of operation.
For instance, in the 1960s, there was the Lagos Municipal Transport Service, which competed with the 911 Mercedes Benz trucks, popularly called ‘Molue’ (a large commercial passenger bus).
The scheme failed and was replaced by the LSTC which was introduced by the state government in 1977. Similarly, the LSTC, which reportedly started with about 600 luxury buses within the metropolis, also disappeared from the roads.
Shortly after, there was the Jubilee Transport Service, but sadly, its stay was also brief. This led to the introduction of Eko Transport, which also had a brief stay.
Other commuters, like Adewale, have expressed disappointment with the recent services of BRT and LAGBUS. They claim to see a trend between the bus services and other past public transport schemes which are no more in Lagos.
A resident, who recalled part of the JTS era, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ajayi, likened the pace of deterioration of the LAGBUS and the BRT to some of the old bus services.
According to Ajayi, poor maintenance is a key characteristic that the past schemes in the state had in common. In his opinion, the BRT and LAGBUS appear to be nearing the deep fall that consumed other bus services in the past.