Commuters Stranded In Abuja


It was pain and anguish for hundreds of stranded commuters in Abuja Monday morning as the Federal Capital Territory Administration began the full implementation of the “phase-out the operations of mini-buses” in certain routes, a policy designed to restrict services of the popular green buses otherwise known as Araba to feeder routes in the area councils and satellite towns.

The FCT Administration had last week indicated that it has provided 350 high capacity buses to convey passengers from various interchange points in the satellite towns of the Territory like Nyanyan, Suleja, Kuje, Gwagwalada and other areas to the city centre at subsidized rates.

But P.M.NEWS observed long queues of commuters waiting to board the few high capacity buses at the Nyanyan axis of the town Monday morning, even as scores of others waited by the roadside begging for lift from private car owners.

Some of the commuters who spoke to P.M.NEWS lamented that they will get to their offices late as a result of the development.

“I have been here for about two hours now and I am not sure of when I will get to office today,” said a commuter who simply identified himself as John.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the situation is not different in other parts of the satellite towns. However, it was observed that some car owners are taking advantage of the situation by using their vehicles for commercial purposes.

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The Federal Capital Administration had first introduced the transportation policy late in 2012, but was forced to suspend it as a result of protest by the mini bus drivers and commuters. Another attempt to introduce the policy in January this year was similarly resisted.

FCT Administration however said it will begin the implementation of the policy today, assuring that it has made adequate arrangements to ensure that commuters will not be stranded.

It also assured that mini bus drivers who are also opposed to the policy have accepted its plans. In spite of this assurance, commuter bus drivers and operators of mini-vans staged a peaceful protest at the National Assembly, demanding that federal lawmakers stop the implementation of the transport policy by Tuesday.

Charles Ikwugbu, Secretary-General of the association of owners and drivers of mini-bus town service in the FCT told journalists during the protest that the policy will render 62,000 drivers, bus conductors and residents of the city jobless.

—Oluoku Ayorinde/Abuja

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