Monday, July 14, 2008

The Lagos BRT Experience

The city of Lagos is the first to have a BRT system in Nigeria. Given Delhi's recent experience I was curious to investigate the Nigerian experiment. Lagosians, unlike Delhites, are absolutely happy about their BRT, the only complaint being that it runs only on a couple of routes and not across the whole city. There was even BRT: People's Parliament for feedback and discussion, unfortunately at the same time as my talk at the IPPA.

As you see in the photos, the first need for a good BRT is space, a lot of it. The Mile 12-CMS BRT route is actually more than 10 lanes wide! 4 lanes for the Expressway, 2 for BRT and 4 for the service lane. The BRT lane and the bus stop is in the middle of the expressway and service road. Passengers have to cross the service road to get to and get out of the bust stop. Since the service road has slower moving traffic, it is possible for passengers to cross it, though not without difficulty. The vehicles on the expressway can cross the BRT lane only in the designated spots and one has to drive long distance to be able to make a U-turn.

Mana swears by BRT and her life would have been lot more difficult without it. So the Lagos experience suggests that its possible to have a viable and working BRT system.

I had an experience of my own though which resonates with other local commuters as well. As I was getting off the rear door, the driver closed the automatic door on me leaving me half in and half out. It was quite a sight for the locals who kept shouting, "DON'T KILL THE OYIBO!".....The driver decides when to open/ close the door through the rear window and with lots of people in the bus, his view is less than perfect!

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