Traffic goes from bad to worse in Lagos
Lagos, Africa’s most populated city, is in the midst of a traffic meltdown. The Economist reports that already lengthy backups are getting longer and that gridlock now forms well outside rush hours. “Often the queues can be unfathomable: a rainstorm, a breakdown or a public holiday can condemn a driver to hours in horn-honking hell,” the article says.
The situation has triggered safety concerns as armed robbers stake out immobilized drivers who make for easy prey. The state’s former governor, Babatunde Fashola, is credited with keeping traffic moving with policies that included restrictions on dangerous motorbike taxis, the article says. He also operated an aggressive (and bribe-accepting) state traffic agency.
His replacement, Akinwunmi Ambode, “is full of excuses, but few solutions, for the worsening gridlock,” according to the Economist. After Ambode barred traffic officers from impounding scofflaws’ cars, the officers refused to enforce certain rules in protest. Ambode argues that his laissez-faire approach is designed to promote civility, but critics see dysfunctional government.