President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday applauded the giant strides of the Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on infrastructure development, even as he assured that plans by his government to develop the nation’s railway infrastructure remain unshaken.
He said: “We are committed to strictly adhering to the rail reforms because it will lead to job creation, improve security and return our dear country to its position of respectability among the comity of nations in the world.”
Buhari said the Ikeja Bus Terminal, which projected to change the narrative of transportation in the state will boost job creation, enhance commercial activities and improve the condition of living of Lagosians.
His remarks came, just as the Governor said the Ikeja Bus Terminal, which is a product of the transportation summit organised by his government in November 2015, is one of the flagship projects meant to revamp transportation and ensure that the people now use public transportation.
He said under this first phase, 13 new bus terminals are simultaneously ongoing at Oshodi, Yaba, Ojota, Agege, Maryland, and TBS, with 5,000 brand new buses to be injected into the state’s economy in the next three years with 820 high capacity buses to be injected by September.
Ambode said construction is ongoing on 300 new bus stops across the state to further complement the efforts to bequeath a working, more friendly, safe and convenient transportation to the people of the state.
He thanked President Buhari for the import waiver on the first phase of the buses to be imported for the project.
He disclosed plans by the government to begin assemblying the buses within the next 20 months, even as he disclosed of plans to promote non-motorized modes of transportation such as walking by ensuring the creation of walkways on all road projects ongoing in the state.
He disclosed that the government will soon deliver the blue line light rail in its determination to deliver a functional and sustainable integrated system to enhance commerce and codition of living of the people.
The Ikeja Bus Terminal contractor and Managing Director of Planet Project Mr Biodun Otunola said the terminal will service 200,000 passengers daily and serve 23 different designated routes with about 100 buses.
He said the Ikeja Bus Terminal is a bold statement by the government to reinvent public transportation by ensuring that the 12 million Lagosians who uses the roads every day are assured of their safety, and given the benefit of a more convenient travel experience.
“It is completed with Intelligent transportation System (ITS) that ensured that buses can be planned and people can plan their journey time as it would give the arrival and departure time of all buses. It would be opened from 6am to 11 pm.
He said; “it is sad that while only 21,000 passengers use all Nigerian airports, the about 80 million Nigerians who uses public transportation have no adequate infrastructure and no standard structure to provide for their safety and protection by the government. That is what the Lagos State Government want to address with the ongoing transportation reform.
The idea, according to him is to capture a sizeable population of the 12 million Lagosians that commute daily in Lagos State alone.
He said the bus reform which would see the gradual reflecting of public transportation from the rickety and unsafe yellow buses to a more comfortable air conditioned buses will transform the narrative of transportation in the state.