2 February 2013

Nigeria: Abuja Mini-Bus Ban and Need for Route Delineations


The recent ban on mini buses on some routes in the Capital City by the FCT Administration was never intended to cause any hardship on the plethora of residents in the FCT that make use of this means of transportation/ply this routes. The true situation is that the FCT Minister intends for a realistic delineation for mini and high capacity buses in the FCT, just like it occurs in all modern cities of the world; it is a scope which necessitates a restriction of the mini-buses to certain routes and the high capacity buses to other routes in the city.

It is highly ridiculous and mischievous for some persons to claim that the decision of the FCT Administration to ban mini-buses from operating in the City Centre is borne out of conceit and personal embellishment, especially if this kind of assertions is coming from persons that are supposed to be educated and non-biased in their utterances on the issue.

The policy for the ban on mini-buses has been in the pipeline since 2010 and it arose as a result of the pestilence posed by the actions and operations of the mini-buses which had led to causing congestion in the city, persistent gridlock, chaos from the unruly nature of the mini-buses drivers; the policy is intended to reduce traffic accidents, improve security and safeguard traffic sanity on the major roads and interchanges in the nation's capital.

Basically, let's take our minds back prior to the imposition of the temporary ban on mini-buses; the situation was rather very chaotic as result of the manner in which the mini-buses had taken over most highways and roads in the Capital City in an unabated tactics, believing they owned the roads with the worst hit places being the Wuse market, Area 1 Junction/under the bridge, Area 3 junction and many other routes.

I was beginning to believe that the mini-buses had turned to a mini government that could not be tackled by the FCTA.

This policy on the restriction of the operation of mini-buses on some routes in the City is similar to the ban on motorcycles by the former FCT Administration which was greeted by a negative general public uproar but in the long run it is the same general public that is commending the efforts of government. When the high capacity buses commence unmitigated services in the City, I assure that resident will commend this policy by the FCT Minister in ensuring sanity on our streets. It will no longer be a situation of everything goes as there will be designated bus stops and the High capacity buses will be compelled by virtue of the agreement entered into with the Administration tostrictly adhere to picking and dropping of passengers at the designated bus stops ensuring they do not impede other road users, in similar manners that was the norm when the mini-buses were operating in the City.

Based on the foregoing no one has said that the mini-buses should not operate in the FCT, they have been given alternative routes to operate and still break even without causing the above enumerated problems of the past; their routes are restricted to Mombassa-Michael Okpara-Olusegun-Moshood Abiola Area 1, Area 1-Gudu Market-Apo Mechanic Village, Area 1-Gudu by Cemetery-Apo Mechanic Village, Jabi-Mbora-Kaura-Gudu Market, Jabi-Sun city-Apo Mechanic, Jabi-Mbora-Lugbe, Gwarinpa-Life Camp Entrance-1st Gate, Bwari Town-Dutsen Alhaji-Expressway (ONEX), Kubwa (2nd Gate)-Gado Nasko road-Kubwa 1st gate, Mpape-Murtala Mohammed Expressway Junction.

The general public should also be aware that from the 7th of February 2013 mini-buses will no longer be allowed to operate in the following routes; Wuse Market-Eagle Square-Asokoro-AYA-Nyanya; Area 3 Junction-Tafawa Balewa-Herbert Macaulay Way-Berger Junction-Jabi; Gudu Market-Apo Quarters-Ahmadu Bello Way-Federal Secretariat-Gwarinpa; AYA-Shehu Shagari-Federal Secretariat-Transcorp-Nicon Junction. These routes will henceforth be serviced by high capacity buses.

There is also this strange attitude by mini-buses operators and it has to do with their persistent attack and harassment of high capacity bus operators and users in their bid to prevent the operations of high capacity buses. This outright defiance and complete disregard for constituted authority is criminal and will not be tolerated any longer; as they will be made to face the full ire of the law. Senator Bala Mohammed is also calling on all illegal motor park operators, illegal car wash ports and unauthorized car dealerships to quit the city, as the ban on their illegitimate activities will be completely enforced from the 7th of February 2013.

Residents of the FCT must view the new policy on transportation as bringing order back to the very chaotic situation; as no responsible and well meaning society that sincerely wants development, strives on chaos.

Glaringly, the vision of Senator Bala Mohammed is to move the FCT to the next level of development and this includes the new policy for transport operation that is designed to provide an organised transport structure; which invariably is in the overriding interest of the plethora of residents of the Capital City.

Ibro, a media analyst, wrote in from Abuja.

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