President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday began his two-day official visit to Lagos State with the unveiling of ultra-modern Ikeja Bus Terminal, designed to re-define public transportation, in line with the Bus Reform Initiative of the State Government.
The President, accompanied to the facility by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, and other government functionaries, lauded the State Government for various initiatives, aimed at catering for movement of the growing population of the State and making modern buses available to the people. He particularly commended Governor Ambode for his developmental strides in the last three years, saying the projects were indeed laudable.
“I commend the Governor for development and strides he recorded within the first three years of governance. I recognize the push of the State Government in reforming public transportation especially the Bus Reform Project which will make modern transport buses that are air-conditioned available to the people. I acknowledge the vision of Lagos State Government to revamping the railway transportation system. Presently, we have outlined in new-year message of the plan for a-Pan African Railway Transportation. I commend Lagos State for also developing rail infrastructure to cater for movement of its growing population,” President Buhari said.
While assuring that the Federal Government’s plan for transport infrastructure, especially the ports, would be strictly adhered to, the President said his administration remained committed to order the development of the country, and as well further stabilize the economy, create an enabling environment for job creation, tackle security and draw Nigeria to acceptability. Earlier, Governor Ambode said the Ikeja Bus Terminal signposts the commitment of his administration to reform public transportation infrastructure and management in the State, adding that the vision remained the provision of a functional, efficient and integrated transport system to support the populace and facilitate commerce.
He said, “In the last three years, we have committed to revamping and providing a new integrated transport system to support our growing population. We have initiated and completed the provision of infrastructure that are scalable and would support the daily needs of our people to meet their connectivity and mobility needs. The Ikeja Bus Terminal is one of our flagship transport infrastructure under the State Bus Reform Initiative. The first phase of this programme will see 13 new Bus terminals introduced including major terminals at Oshodi, Yaba, Ojota, Agege and the already completed Tafawa Balewa Bus Terminal. We have commenced the introduction of 5,000 new buses into the Lagos economy in the next 3 years. We will inject 820 environmentally-friendly high capacity buses in the first phase of this reform by September 2018, 300 New Bus Stops, 3 Bus Depots, and Intelligent Transport System which will aid Lagosians to plan their journeys on our public transport system.” Governor Ambode specifically thanked President Buhari for approving import-duty waiver received on the buses in the Phase One of the scheme, saying that arrangement was now in place for the buses to be assembled in Lagos within the next 20 months, which would in turn create jobs for the people.
He said, aside bus and road transportation reform, the State Government was also promoting Non-Motorized Transport such as walking and cycling paths to give the people modal choices while promoting healthy living, just as he said that the rail transport infrastructure was being put in place. “Work is ongoing on the 27-kilometre Blue Line Rail project from Okokomaiko West of Lagos to Marina in Central Lagos. We are in discussions with various investors and stakeholders on our urban rail project, the Red Line from Alagbada to Marina. Mr. President, the success of a highly populated, cosmopolitan smart city-State like Lagos is strongly dependent on the efficiency of its transportation system. We are committed to a functional, efficient and integrated transport system which will support our population and facilitate our commerce and we will continually work till we achieve this objective, Governor Ambode said.
The Ikeja Bus Terminal, which is estimated to convey about 200,000 passengers daily across 23 destinations, has been fitted with all aspects of public transport operations such as buses, passengers’ insurance, 13 ticketing boots, route licensing, terminal bus attendants and operating companies. Apart from eliminating all the previous chaos and difficulties associated with boarding bus to different locations, the facility which is sitting on 10,000 square metres land space, is equipped with Intelligent Transport System (ITS), food court, shops, rest rooms, ATM Gallery, free Wi-Fi, electronically controlled shades, fully air-conditioned terminal, among others. The ITS enables would-be passengers to know the arrival and departure time of buses from the comfort of their homes, offices or anywhere and properly plan their journey. Statistics show that over 12million Lagosians and 80million Nigerians use public transportation daily without standard facilities and the Ikeja terminal is one of the 13 designed to change the narrative in Lagos by exposing the people to befitting and comfortable environment to commute across the State.