The Lagos State Government at the weekend issued a final ultimatum to commercial bus operators, which it said, had not complied with its public transport management system.
It added that it would begin total enforcement of the Lagos Road Traffic Law, asking the business operators to register their business with the government or stop doing business in the state with effect from July 1.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, gave the deadline at a news conference he addressed in Alausa, putting the deadline for registration for all commercial bus drivers and conductors at June 30.
According to him, total enforcement would begin in earnest from the first day of July, directing that any commercial vehicle not registered after the deadline should be impounded.
Opeifa lamented that since the commercial bus operators were asked to document their business since November 2013, many of them had not complied despite series of extension granted to enable them register their business free of charge.
“Even though we recorded achievement by documenting the owners, drivers and conductors of commercial passenger vehicles, the compliance level from the stakeholders is still low. This is not out of ignorance but out of disrespect for the rule of law and regulations.
“This is evident in the number of owners of commercial passenger vehicles, drivers and conductors that have complied with the policy and registered with either the Vehicle Inspection Service or the Lagos State Drivers’ Institute,” he said.
The commissioner disclosed that out of the estimated 80,000 commercial passenger vehicles and drivers in the state, only 24,257 vehicles and 28,902 drivers had registered with the government, while 7,637 taxis had also complied with the documentation of commercial passenger vehicles.
Opeifa said in spite of the extension granted, the government was unimpressed and disappointed with the low level of compliance which had slowed down the needed reform in the public transport sector which is intended to create jobs, wealth for existing operators and enhanced sustainability to improve service delivery.
“The state government is committed and ready to implement this policy to the letter having waited for another six months to ensure strict compliance. The full enforcement must commence immediately as transport unions with their documentation had made us believe that there are only 24,257 vehicles, 28,902 drivers, 591 conductors and 7,637 taxis in the state.
“To this end, with effect from July 1, only the registered drivers and conductors on our database are permitted to operate commercial passenger vehicles in the state and all others found on our road ways will be apprehended.
“All law enforcement agents, such as the VIS, LASTMA, the police and the FRSC have been directed to ensure strict compliance with the law. While the documentation exercise is supposed to be at a cost to the operators, we have for the last eight months provided the services free of charge,” he stated.
Opeifa added that with effect from 1 July 1, operators who were yet to be documented would do so at the stipulated cost of N20, 000 for the commercial vehicle owners, leaving N5, 000 for drivers and N2, 000 for conductors accreditation.
“In addition, apprehended offenders will be fined the minimum of N20, 000 as stipulated in the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012. I implore those who have complied with the documentation to feel free to go about their normal business activities at the commencement of the full enforcement,” he said.