Stakeholders kick against plans to reduce commercial buses, others in Abuja
Stakeholders in Abuja have condemned plans to cut the number of commercial buses operating in the area.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transport Secretariat had announced that commercial vehicles plying the city would be reduced from the current 40, 000 to 20, 000.
The new guideline has created anxiety among commercial drivers and residents.
The proposal is expected to take effect from October 1, 2018.
According to the FCT Transport Secretariat, all commercial vehicles such as high capacity buses, mini/mid buses, taxis, tricycles and motorcycles must carry red number plates.
They must also be registered in Abuja and bear FCT number plates, as well as being fully air-conditioned.
In addition, the vehicles must carry two valid certificates of roadworthiness from the FCT Computerised Roadworthy Test Centres issued in the last nine months.
The drivers of such vehicles must have valid driver’s licence and be certified by the transport secretariat, in line with the relevant FCT regulations.
Others guidelines include that owners of such commercial vehicles must show evidence of tax payment in the FCT.
It further stated that tricycles are to operate only at designated routes, as approved and assigned to the particular operator by the transport secretariat.
But, the residents have expressed fears that the proposed guidelines would not only lead to job losses, but also increase transport fares in the city.
Some of the commercial drivers told The Guardian that the people would protest against it at a date to be announced.
They lamented that the plan would render thousands of residents jobless, while their families would also suffer untold hardship.
They urged the government to reverse the plan, because the hike in transport fares that it would create would be too much for the people to bear.
One of the complainants, David Ogidan, expressed concern that passengers would pay as much as N400 from Suleja to the city centre, which presently costs between N200 to N250.
He added that the Nyaya-Maraba residents, who currently pay between N100 to N150, would be forced to pay as much as N350-N400.
Reacting, the FCT Transport Secretary, Kayode Opeifa, debunked the claims that the plan would lead to increase in fares.
He told The Guardian that his secretariat would help to regulate the fares that would follow.
According to him, the new move is to identify all commercial drivers and eliminate criminal elements, and save road users from kidnapping and other vices.
Opeifa added that the commercial buses might be further increased, if the approved number is found to be insufficient.
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