1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Man is a gregarious animal. Every individual right from an early age possesses his own built in ability to move though within a limited area. This implies that mobility is basic to human existence and therefore an essential part of man’s life and living. At the initial stage of man’s occupation of the earth surface, movement was restricted and was by foot. But with increasing population and greater demand for various resources, three major types of distances have emerged particularly in the urban areas. These are people to people; people to activity; and activity to activity movements (Sumaila and Adetunji, 2004). These distances have further increased the need for mobility and thus make its consideration crucial in urban development planning.
In the past few decades, African cities have been experiencing huge population increases due to galloping urbanization and rural exodus. It is estimated that by 2020, 55% of the African population will be living in urban areas (African Association of Public Transport, 2010). Such fast-growing cities face enormous challenges in terms of infrastructure provision and the need to cope with the increasing demand for transport. This is especially acute as much of the existing road infrastructure in African cities is far from being appropriate for the actual transport demand. Therefore, the public transport sector has suffered more than 15 years of neglect and this, combined with escalating urban populations, has resulted in chaotic, unsustainable, time and money-wasting transport systems in most African cities (African Association of Public Transport, 2010).
Transport is a key factor in development and it shall continue to play an important role in nation building. “There is no escape from transport” (Mumby, 1968). As a result, transport in the continent has become a burden rather than a relief (Badejo, 2009). Incidentally most of urban trips in Nigeria are made by road, rail and water based mode and these accounted for about 95%, and the remaining 5% were mainly by walking (Oyesiku, 2001). It is pertinent to note that of all the trips made by vehicles, 70% were by public transport, which is dominated by private sector operators.
It cannot be over emphasized that transportation is an integral part of human activity thus forms the basis for all socio economic interactions, indeed no two locations can interact effectively without a viable means of movement. An efficient, reliable and safe transport is pivotal to economic growth and development. Transportation is the main artery via which the economy of any nation flows and its development is one of the most indispensable enzymes necessary for the activation of economic, socio - political and strategic development of a nation (Ademiluyi, Afolabi Oluwaseyi, 2016). This goes on to say that the development of an efficient, safe and dynamic transport system is vital for a meaningful and sustainable social, economic growth and development of a nation. More so, since transport as an economic function enhances the productive use of human and material resources, it therefore creates the utility of place and time and thereby ensuring that goods and services are moved promptly seamlessly and safely.
Water transportation plays a vital role in urban growth and development, in clearer terms, water transport is pivotal to growing and development of all sectors in the economy (Ademiluyi et al, 2016). It has played a very significant role in bringing different parts of the world closer and is indispensable to foreign trade. Water transport helps to bridge the gap by the inabilities of land transport to cope with the unfolding trends and it plays a crucial role in the connection of the foreland to the hinter land. It involves the process of moving people, goods etc. by barge boat, ship or sail boat over a sea, ocean, lake, canal, and river. In its simplest form, it connotes transportation via water. It serves as a complementary and alternative mode to land and rail based transport. In addition, it is an essential tool for growing and developing all sectors of the economy. Indeed it can help in achieving greater functionalities in all activities in space especially when natural and human resources are not together in one location.
Water travel as all initiatives and activities put together to ensure the ease of movement of people from land to water and vice versa (Badejo, 2000). Intra city water transport is truly peoples' transport. Moreover the role and importance of water transportation in Lagos State cannot be over emphasized. Apart from the fact that it is a sustainable and the most environmentally friendly mode in terms of energy consumption, noise and gas emission and also that it remains the oldest means of transporting persons and goods from point to point (Fellinda, 2006). It has the ability to tackle traffic congestions challenges in Lagos Metropolis when used as a complement mode to road. Lagos roads and its furniture are saturated and over – stretched with the responsibility of moving millions of residents daily. Water travel is a realistic and potentially effective option given that Lagos state is blessed with abundant water bodies that could be harnessed to offer fast, safe, comfortable and cheap water transportation services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Transport is the backbone of any society as it is one of the factors which determines the form and socio-economic development of any nation. In Lagos, it is evident that an effective intermodal transportation system is absolutely essential to modern urban civilization leading to economic growth and development. However, intra city water travels in the state have gradually lost relevance. The potential of water transport in the state is yet to be fully appreciated and effectively utilized. In spite of the availability of large amount of water bodies around Lagos, the city remains very congested as traffic grid locks are experienced all around the metropolis daily. This is because of the over reliance of its habitants on roads for intra city commuting Road hauls accounts for over 90% of the daily traffic flow in Lagos are they characterized by delayed and unpredictable transit time, loss of energy and veritable man hour, etc. (LAMATA, 2009). It is therefore safe to say that for effective transportation in any given society, there must be involvement and active participation of the various modes to allow for the realization of full intermodal integration and only through this can seamless transportation is achievable. As a mega city, the center of excellence should not be entirely dependent on one mode of transport as it is been asserted that a single means of travel cannot adequately meet urban needs (Asenime, 2008). Major urban centers of the world which Lagos can be likened to have the presence of at least three transport modes which serve as complementary modes to each other to ensure an ever moving city. Lagos been the largest city in Nigeria and its commercial hub can be said to be uni- modal. The state rely mostly on the road mode to commute its teeming population daily which takes about 90% of the total traffic flow in the state. The presence of other modes such as rail and water are barely felt. Intra city water ridership in the state isn’t encouraging as passengers still prefer to move by use road despite its peculiarities’ than to ride via water for various reasons. This undoubtedly has hampered the demand for water transport service in the state. Consequent upon this, the need to analyze water transport demand in the state has become compelling as increased water ridership is viable option to rid Lagos roads of its heavy vehicular congestion and in turn keep the state moving. Also, the existing public transport operation suffers from high level of inadequate regulations. For instance, the rail transport system has few existing rail corridors and the existing corridors are grossly under-utilized. Similarly, in the water transport, there is no coherence amongst water transport regulatory agencies (LASWA, NIMASA, and NIWA).
The lack of maintenance of existing formal modes of the transport strategy by the regulator (LAMATA) all by its self as its major role implies. Therefore, the inability to implement all the main objectives of the transport master plan of Lagos is seen as a major problem, the inadequacy of necessary implementation of the existing government transport policies is a problem to the existing transport system thereby restraining the laws and policies to not function the way it should like the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan by LAMATA.
1.3 AIM OF THE STUDY
This study seeks to assess the service quality in the water transport system in the city. This is with a view to developing an efficient and sustainable water transport system in Lagos Metropolis.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objectives of the study are to:
- To examine existing water routes in the city that is currently in for commercial activities.
- To assess the efficiency of the water transport system to urban day-to-day activities.
- To appraise the concerns of the ordinary users of ferry transport and understand the role it plays in their life.
- To suggest possible solutions towards improving and thereby revitalizing the water transportation sector in the city.
- To make possible suggestions in making water-based travel more appealing to the average user of various modes of transportation in Lagos Metropolis.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the efficiency of the water operations for public use in selected terminals in Lagos Metropolis. It also focuses on the challenges it faces and to suggest possible measures/improvements in the transport system in the city.