Mini buses marked green-white-green are to be restricted to satellite towns.
Despite protests, from Monday, only 350 high capacity buses will convey passengers from various interchange points in the satellite towns of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to the city centre as the territory’s administration begins the implementation of the new transport policy, which bars mini buses adorning white green-white colours, from operating in the city centre.
The FCT Administration said the number of such buses will be increased to 600 by the end of this month in line with the policy, which it claimed is aimed at providing efficient transport operation in the territory.
Taxis are, however, exempted from the restriction as their services are still needed in the city centre and other parts of the territory.
The administration had attempted to implement the policy last October but was resisted by commercial bus owners, drivers, and the organized labour.
The policy was also resisted this year forcing the FCTA to suspend it in order to engage in wider consultations with those affected by the policy, before it is introduced.
A special committee involving the operators in the transportation sector was consequently set up to present a harmonious position on the fare and the operational routes.
Members of Owners and Drivers of Minis Buses Association had last month protested against the policy at the National Assembly, saying it would deny them means of livelihood.
FCTA Director of Mass Transit, Adewole Adeosho, told newsmen at the weekend while conducting road show to various parts of the city to sensitize residents on the policy that with the new policy transport, fare would drop by about 40 percent for commuters.
Mr. Adeosho said the mini-buses will be restricted to delineated routes outside the metropolis and would operate within the satellite towns.
According to him, the mini buses would terminate their operations at various interchanges on Kubwa axis, Yar’Adua Expressway and Nyanya, where they would feed the high capacity buses with passengers going to the city centre.
The Director noted that with the new policy, accidents would reduce because the drivers of the high capacity buses had been trained on road codes and speed limit observation.
Also speaking, FCTA Public Relations Officer, Stella Ojeme said that the number of the buses would be increased to 600 as another batch of about 300 buses would be deployed to the city by various licensed companies.
She explained that the high capacity buses would be running on schedule, stressing that this would make it easier for commuters patronizing them to meet up appointments and increase man-hour for public and private business operations.
Mrs. Ojeme also said that the lowest fare will be N50 while the highest will be N150 for the farthest distances of Gwagwalada, Kuje and Zuba.
“The 350 buses to ply the city have been distributed to meet the volume of commuters in the various axes. For Nyanya, we have 80 buses to ply that route alone, while we have 60 buses allocated to the Kubwa axis and the others are distributed to the other parts of town,” she said.
“The buses are going to run scheduled services where each bus must take off every three minutes on the Nyanya, Zuba and Kubwa axis while in the case of low traffic areas like Gudu District the buses will take off at every 10 minutes.
“We have some interchange points where the certified companies have already cleared to park their vehicles when they deploy them on Monday to pick passengers that the minibuses will drop-off for the high capacity buses to bring them into town.”
She warned that any tout found violating the new policy would be prosecuted.