BRITISH manufacturer Griffon Hoverwork has conducted a trial run of one of its hovercrafts in Lagos State as part of the ongoing mass transit transportation plan to address the chronic problem of traffic jams in Lagos metropolis.
Lagos State has a population of 22m people with the metropolis accounting for 12m of this. However, Lagos has no metro or underground service, making it the largest city in the world without an urban railway network, resulting in unprecedented traffic jams, than can result in 10km journeys taking up to eight hours.
Of the 12m cars in Nigeria, 6m of them are in Lagos State, making it the world’s largest car park during the rush hour. As a result, primary school children have to leave home as early as 5am in the morning to get to school if they want to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Keen to address the problem, the Lagos State government is hoping to commission the Lagos Rail Mass Transit urban railway network later this year. Given that about a third of Lagos State is water, the government is also stepping up the use of marine transport and the use of hovercrafts is central to this.
Last week, Griffon Hoverwork, carried out the demonstration of one of its crafts, which it claims will reduce travel time, improve connectivity between communities and provide access to critical services such as healthcare, education and employment. Britain’s government through its Future Cities Nigeria Programme, has been providing technical assistance to the Lagos State government.
Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the British deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, said the UK government is keen to assist Lagos State in the area of water transportation and urban development. He noted that Griffon Hoverwork, a leading manufacturer of hovercrafts has displayed the capabilities of a hovercraft as a means of reducing carbon emissions and road congestion and supporting growth in the water transport sector.
Mr Llewellyn-Jones said: “Lagos is Africa’s largest city with lots of capacity but relies excessively on road vehicles for transport, leading to long and expensive commutes and traffic delays. Through our Future Cities Nigeria programme, we are working with the Lagos State Waterways Authority (Laswa) to develop water transport routes that reduce road traffic congestion, provide safer, cleaner, reduced cost transport and reduce CO2 emissions
“It’s great to see these plans start to become reality through this trial of a hovercraft on the Lagos waterways. This demonstrates the range of opportunities and potential for UK and other international businesses in this sector to benefit from the new transport routes.”
Laswa general manager, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said the UK’s Global Future Cities Programme with the Lagos State government is helping to expand the state’s waterways transport and improve the environment. He added: “Lagos waterways is a key resource to the state and we will continue to work with the UK government to make water transportation a viable, reliable and alternative means of transport for the people of Lagos.”