Lagos is a sprawling city of 21 million people. This means that more than 10% of the 167 million Nigerians reside in Lagos. For a state that is the smallest in Nigeria, this makes for a very crowded metropolis; and oh how crowded it is!
The combination of an enormous amount of people number of people moving about daily like worker bees buzzing their way to the defend their colonies to the death, combined with the inadequacy of existing transport infrastructure to support its burgeoning population, spawns out the nightmare that is called traffic. Traffic in Lagos is a serious problem!
It’s such an issue that according to an estimate cited by the guardian, the average Lagosian spends a cumulative five years of his life in traffic. The existing transportation network doesn’t do much to ease the dire traffic situation. Most people commute in private cars, commercial buses and the public BRT buses. However, increasing the amount of these vehicles on the roads or even constructing more roads won’t solve the traffic situation. In fact, it would simply aggravate the problem.
Traffic is such an issue that the average worker workers has to be on the road as early as 5am in order to beat the rush-hour traffic and get to work on time. Getting home after work is another ordeal or as boxing enthusiasts would call it, “Round 2”. The surge of people leaving work (especially from the island axis to the mainland) is characteristically overwhelming and usually causes hour-long backlog of traffic on major roads. This causes people to spend as much as 4-5 hours trying to get back to their homes after a day’s work.
It is no doubt that this will affect economic growth. Lagos being the economic powerhouse of Nigeria, anything that adversely affects it will inevitably have a ripple effect on the economy of the nation. Where workers spend a huge amount of time trying to get to work which otherwise would have been spent at work, their productive capacity is stifled and eventually production will decline.
Not to mention the physiological effects of a long commute. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, being in traffic for long hours can increase stress levels and this could lead to a chain of adverse mental and physical conditions. Also spending hours in traffic slouched over in a cramped bus has negative effects on your posture.
This is where the movement called ridesharing comes in. When people rideshare, when they share their rides with others going along their route, less cars will be put on the roads and by implication, there will be less traffic hindering people from getting to work which will in turn prevent the muffling of their productive capacities. It is like a domino and ridesharing is the phenomenon that gets the cards falling.
Ridesharing companies like Jekalo are at the fore-front of this revolutionary movement. The core objective of Jekalo is to help reduce traffic congestion and get people to their destinations on time, in an affordable and secure manner. With companies like Jekalo actively involved in solving the traffic situation in Lagos, it is safe to say that economic growth hindered by traffic congestion will soon be a thing of the past. (too cheeky?)