By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Government, through the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), has reassured citizens that the state would have an operational railway line by 2022.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, while speaking at a milestone meeting on the implementation of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red and Blue Line projects with the contractors and consultants.
Mrs Akinajo said the meeting was to reiterate the already established positions on the timeline for the delivery of the rail lines to passenger operation.
The Red Line is one of seven rail lines identified in the state’s strategic transport masterplan for the mass movement of commuters and reduction of congestion for which the state is popular for.
The LAMATA MD underscored the importance of the 24-kilometre stretch between Oyingbo and Agbado, representing the first phase of the 37-kilometre railroad project, to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the people of the state, saying that railway was one of the ways cities deal with traffic congestion.
“The Red Line is supposed to be a quick win because it will share tracks with the Nigerian Railway Corporation on its Lagos – Ibadan rail corridor. There will be no delays, no budget or cost overrun and there will not be any shift in the delivery date.
“Our meeting is just to take stock of what we have done so far since this project started and to re-emphasise that there is no room for slippage in the delivery of the Red Line,” she added.
In order to ensure train movement is not obstructed, Mrs Akinajo stated that four overpasses and three pedestrian bridges will be constructed to eliminate level crosses and pedestrian access on the rail tracks and guarantee the unhindered movement of the train which would have eight minutes headway, whilst ensuring safety by eliminating vehicular and pedestrian interactions along the rail line.
“Our projection is that the first phase of the Red Line will carry between 350,000 and 400,000 passengers daily. So, we would not compromise on the agreed timelines. Funding for the project is ready and secured, so there will not be any funding issue,” she stated.
Also speaking, Director of Rail Transportation at LAMATA, Mr Olasunkanmi Okusaga, reiterated that the contractors and consultants on the projects must work together saying challenges must be quickly reported and resolved in a way that would be beneficial to timely delivery of the projects.
Bolt Introduces Interest-Free Vehicle Financing Scheme
By Dipo Olowookere
A vehicle financing scheme that will enable drivers in Nigeria to own a car with low equity repayment for about four years with no interest has been introduced by Africa’s leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt.
The vehicle financing programme was made possible through Bolt’s operative verification of driver identities and extensive data on driver activities in partnership with Sterling Bank’s Alternative Finance.
The initiative will provide a better alternative for drivers who currently lease a car via the hire-purchase or rental model to drive on the Bolt platform.
A statement from the firm described this first-of-its-kind offering in Nigeria as part of its commitment to improving earnings for drivers while allowing them to maintain flexibility as vehicle owners.
“This initiative reiterates our continued commitment to helping our drivers earn more as our partners in moving Nigeria,” Bolt Country Manager, Mr Femi Akin-Laguda, was quoted as saying.
Business Post reports that in the pilot phase, existing Bolt drivers who meet specific performance benchmarks while driving with Bolt will be prioritised for vehicle financing.
These drivers will be able to enjoy upfront equity contributions as low as a 15 per cent mark-up and minimum weekly-instalment payments.
Other benefits from the plan may include a monthly fuel card, comprehensive insurance and vehicle tracking for new and pre-owned cars with a three to a four-year repayment plan.
“Our drivers are vital to our business operations, and improving the earnings of every driver is fundamental to keeping the trust and loyalty that we have earned over the last couple of years,” Mr Akin-Laguda stated.
“As we expand our presence into more cities across the country, it is important to provide solutions that ensure working with Bolt is more flexible and profitable for drivers, which inherently improves the overall experience for our riders as well.
“More importantly, the vehicle financing programme will enable drivers to earn at their own pace either driving full time or part-time,” he added.
On her part, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Sterling Bank, Ms Temiloluwa Desalu, said, “We are very excited to be partnering with Africa’s leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt, to bring this service to their drivers, and we are confident of a long-lasting and truly rewarding alliance.”
“At Sterling Alternative Finance, we understand that Nigeria is a predominantly cash-centric society; this sometimes cripples the purchasing power of the average Nigerian and in effect can have a negative impact on our economy.
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life of Nigerians by providing a more sustainable, flexible, and convenient way to own vehicles.
“Through the Alt drive platform, Nigerians can now purchase new or pre-owned vehicles and pay steadily over a convenient number of years at no interest,” she added.
PlentyWaka Partners GUO to Expand Travel Offerings
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s leading transportation technology company, Plentywaka, has partnered with a leading interstate transport company, GUO to expand both companies’ travel offerings.
The partnership will see GUO enable its ticket booking on the Plentywaka app, therefore, joining its interstate travel network, Travelwaka and will also onboard 600 new buses from GUO onto its platform, leading to the opening up of new routes on the Travelwaka platform.
Major routes expected to debut on the platform include Lagos-Abuja along with about 200 others.
The recently-launched Travelwaka is majorly a booking platform for a network of interstate transport companies now including GUO Transports. It provides affordable tickets for major bus travel companies, offering as much as a 10 per cent discount.
It will also give users an easy and seamless way to compare options from a wide range of travel companies all in a single search, and on one single app as both companies combine technology, and marketing, to bring transport into one simple product, the Plentywaka mobile app.
Speaking on the partnership, co-founder and CEO of Plentywaka, Ms Onyeka Akumah, said: “The partnership with GUO Transport Services Limited is great for our users especially because we know a lot of them have been looking for routes that GUO operates on.”
“We are very excited to have developed the technology behind an easy-to-use mobile app that will make the travel experience seamless for Nigerians,” she added.
The partnership will capitalise on GUO Transport’s experience, which has one of the largest range of routes among interstate operators on the Nigerian transport scene. Founded in 1980 as a division of G. U. Okeke & Sons Ltd, the company presently services more than 200 routes spanning the length and breadth of Nigeria and spilling into the West African sub-region.
With its modern, environmentally-friendly fleet and professional service, the company has become an icon in the transportation industry, providing safe, enjoyable and affordable travel to millions of passengers annually.
On the part of the company, its Director of Operations, Mr Kene Okeke, said it will enable GUO to deliver its remarkable services to more people.
“We are excited about this partnership with PlentyWaka because their values and offerings align closely with ours. We can now move more people from across Nigeria conveniently and without hassle.”
With this new partnership and additional 600 buses, Plentywaka brings the total amount of buses on its Travelwaka network to 850. And the transport technology company which has completed over 350,000 rides in the last 20 months isn’t slowing down.
“We will continue to sign leading bus operators in Nigeria as we aim to become the largest aggregator of bus operators in the country providing a better way to manage and monitor their bookings and customers,” the company said.
Bolt Introduces Free in-App Calling Feature
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A feature that allows easy communication flow without extra charges to users has been introduced by Africa’s leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt.
The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) feature simplifies communication between riders and drivers and it is part of Bolt’s commitment to the safety of its users.
It was explained that the new feature enables riders and drivers to utilise phone services over the internet, eliminating the cost of regular phone calls. In addition, the VoIP feature adds an extra layer of safety and assurance when riders engage with drivers.
Bolt pairs thousands of riders and drivers daily, with the in-app calling feature as an added security measure designed to protect user data.
Additionally, the Bolt platform includes other safety features such as GPS tracking, ride-hailing insurance available for all trips, amongst others.
For riders to activate and use the new VoIP feature, they are required to update their Bolt App and tap on the Call in-app button on the Contact driver options menu.
Once the feature is enabled, a call can be connected through the App to access the phone’s microphone. The App will also notify a rider when a driver is trying to call them.
“We are constantly innovating and identifying ways to ensure our services remain safe and convenient for both riders and drivers,” the Country Manager at Bolt, Mr Femi Akin-Laguda, stated.
Mr Akin-Laguda added that, “This new feature ensures extra security that secures our riders and drivers’ information and provides cost savings on airtime use.”
“VoIP is similar to voice calls on other social media applications – users can place a call via the platform without necessarily dialling a phone number,” he added.
Bolt has more than 10,000 drivers on its platform and provides an affordable, convenient and responsible service for riders. The VoIP feature will further improve user experience and enhance communication.
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