By Balogun Damilola
The Lagos State Government on Thursday issued fresh guidelines for public transport operations in the state as part of the controlled measures to ease the lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, released the guidelines at a news conference in Lagos.
According to him, public transport operations within the state shall be between the hours of 6.00a.m and 7.00p.m daily from May 4.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new guidelines bring a slight difference to the Federal Government directive that ordered 8.00p.m to 6.00a.m curfew in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja as from May 4.
Oladeinde told newsmen that the guidelines should be followed by commuters and transport operators in the state until further notice.
He reiterated that inter-state operation had been suspended until further notice, except for essential services.
According to him, the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as “Okada”, has been suspended indefinitely across the state.
The commissioner said that commuters were mandated to wear face mask at all times, sanitise their hands with alcohol base sanitisers or wash their hands with soap and running water before and after each trip.
”All transport operators/companies are expected to disinfect their vehicles, parks and garages regularly and continuously in collaboration/supervision of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to ensure standards and safety of the disinfectant being used.
“All transport operators/companies are expected to have at the entrance of their respective parks handwashing equipment with running water and alcohol-based sanitisers.
“Disinfectant companies are to be guided by the Environmental Health Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
“Operators are expected to have alcohol-based Sanitisers in their vehicles for both drivers, conductors and passengers,” Oladeinde said.
According to him, motor parks and garages must not be overcrowded with passengers and commercial activities at any point in time. He said that social distancing was required for passengers queuing to board buses.
“NCDC recommends that at least 2m (5feet) distance is required between people; operators are not allowed to overcrowd/overload their vehicles at this point in time.
“All public buses should be 60 per cent capacity (i.e for buses, one passenger with driver in front seat, two passengers on the back rows each and two passengers for tricycle),” he added.
Oladeinde said trucks and individual transporting foods and other raw materials into the state must comply with the guidelines.
He said that the driver and other individuals on such vehicle must always use face marks and an alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Oladeinde said that all vehicles carrying foods and other agricultural produce in and out of Lagos must not carry passengers more than seven on board.
According to him, vehicles used for the transportation of food items and other services must be disinfected before gaining access into the state’s border and when leaving, under strict monitoring by relevant government agencies.
On Mechanic Village operations, Oladeinde said the engineers shall work between the hours of 9.00a.m and 3.00p.m daily starting from May 4 till further notice.
He added that the engineers must make available at their respective entrances alcohol base sanitisers, soap and running water facility for visitors.
Oladeinde said water transport operations within the state shall be from 6.00a.m to 6.00p.m daily starting from May 4 till further notice.
“Boat operators and passengers are mandated in addition to life jackets, to wear face masks at all times, sanitise their hands or wash their hands with soap and running water before and after each trip. ”Operators and other stakeholders are mandated to comply with these guidelines as the Ministry of Transportation and her enforcement agencies/departments will be deployed for prompt enforcement with heavy consequences,” he said.
NAN reports that the President on April 27, announced a “gradual easing” of COVID-19 lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, from May 4, after a four-week lockdown of the areas to contain the spread of COVID-19.