The Secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transportation Secretariat, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke, has cleared the air over insinuations that the administration has banned mini-buses from operating in the city, insisting that it is not true.
Ivoke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the FCT administration has not banned the use of mini-buses in the FCT completely, but was trying to implement the Abuja Master Plan on transportation.
Hundreds of commuters were seen stranded at various bus stops in the satellite towns on Monday because of the ban by the FCTA on mini-buses plying some parts of the city centre.
"There is no ban on mini-buses. What we have done is to study the traffic management of the FCT and the mixed traffic problem. The Abuja master plan provides that high-capacity buses should ply major areas in the FCT and that is what we are now implementing.
"The mini-buses can ply anywhere in the area councils, but not on the high-capacity bus routes,” he explained.
Speaking further, he said the transport secretariat has commenced operations on four routes out of the eight envisaged, warning the mini-bus operators not to encroach on high capacity bus routes.
Ivoke said the high-capacity buses had the capability to convey up to 100 passengers, unlike the mini-buses that carry 12 or 18 passengers.
According to him, the mini-buses could ply Mombassa-Micheal Okpara – Olusegun Obasanjo-Moshood Abiola Area 1 routes and also go from Area 1 to Gudu, Apo Mechanic village, as well as from Jabi to Mbora, Kaura and Gudu market and from Jabi to Mbora, Sun City and Apo mechanic and from Gwaripa to Life Camp entrance, first gate as well as from Bwari town to Dutse Alhaji and expressway and from Kubwa second gate to Gado Nasko road and to Kubwa first gate, from Mpape to Murtala Mohammed expressway junction.
He further explained that mini-buses are not allowed to ply Wuse market to Eagle Square, Asokoro, AYA and Nyanya, from Area Three junction to Tafawa Balewa, Herbert Macaulay way, Berger Junction to Jabi, and from Gudu market to Apo quarter to Ahmadu Bello way, Federal Secretariat and Gwaripa and from AYA to Shehu Shagari to Federal Secretariat to Transcorp and Nicon junctions.
"The services of tricycles 'Keke NAPEP' will now be restricted to the following areas which include Gwarinpa, Life Camp, Kado estate and inside all large estates and settlements. We have 191 high capacity buses involved in this operation. Nyanya to Berger Junction 40 buses, Area 1 to Gwagwalada and Berger junction to Gwagwalada, 16 buses, Gudu to Eagle Square and Banex to Gwaripa, 12 buses.
"Eagle Square to Kubwa and Berger junction to Kubwa 15 buses and from Berger junction to Lugbe and Eagle Square to Lugbe, 13 buses.
"We have shared flyers based on this new development in 2012 as efforts to sensitise people to the use of the routes in conjunction with license operators, bus drivers and their leaders," the secretary added.