Barring any unforeseen circumstances residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja would very soon be enjoying the services of Bus Rapid Transit as the FCT administration as part of efforts to ease transport gridlock that has characterised the city has unveiled plan to introduce BRT to the nation’s capital.
FCT Secretary for Transportation, Engineer Jonathan Ivoke Achara who disclosed this yesterday at an interactive session with journalists said that 150 units of the buses would be imported for the purpose.
The Secretary also hinted that about 500 mini-buses that would be imported to complement the BRT but will not operate on the BRT route saying “in totality we are looking at buses that will not be on the BRT scheme, may be 500 buses but for BRT buses we are looking at something not less than 150 buses”.
He said that a delegate was sent to Lagos to understudy the BRT scheme which is the first of its kind in the country adding that a committee has already been put in place to mark out routes for the BRT buses.
The BRT, the Secretary explained is part of the short time measures being employed to solve the traffic problem in the FCT adding that they would be available for the residents’ use in the next four months.
He also stated that the scheme is being supported by the World Bank and African Development Bank (ADB) but he allayed fears on whether the FCT administration was going to take loans for the scheme from the World Bank and ADP stressing that the two financial institutions would only be assisting the concessionaires of the BRT scheme.
His words: “We normally have peak periods in the morning and evening. What we want to do is the management of the usage of these buses so that these concessionaires would not have problem recouping their investments. So the ones that are involved in the BRT in the morning immediately the peak drops we encourage them to reduce the numbers on the road. The same is applicable to other vehicles not in the BRT.
On the issue of World Bank, we are not really expecting financial assistance because we are going to concession the provision of these buses and their management. We are not expecting direct funding to the FCT from the World Bank. What we are going to do is that the PPP procurement is what we are supposed to procure using consultants of international standard.
The World Bank and the ADB have said that with proper documentation and of course we are liaising with the Federal Ministry of Finance, they are ready to provide one third of the finance to the concessionaires. The legal and financial documents must be prepared to the international procedure”
Engineer Achara said that a committee has been set up to mark out BRT lanes noting that all the high ways in the city are being examined to see what portion would be earmarked for the BRT buses without affecting normal traffic flow.
“All we want to do is to remove traffic congestion from the routes we already have, redirecting movements and effect a better access to collector points in the city to ensure that economic activities are not hampered” he said.