By Gboyega Akinsanmi
President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to inaugurate Africa’s first mega bus terminal, Oshodi Transport Interchange before May 29, officials of the Lagos State Government have confirmed.
Besides, the president will equally unveil the 10-lane Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport road, another iconic transport infrastructure project the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode executed under two years.
The state’s cabinet-ranking officials disclosed the plan to inaugurate the two strategic transport projects purposely developed to serve at least one million commuters in the metropolis daily.
One of the state officials, who spoke with THISDAY in confidence, described the transport interchange, as the first of its kind in Africa, which he said, was similar to Victoria Terminus in London, the United Kingdom.
At the time Ambode formally sealed the contract to construct the transport exchange at the height of economic meltdown in 2016, the project was then awarded at a whopping cost of $70 million
Constructed purely by an indigenous construction firm, Planet Project Limited under the leaders of Mr. Biodun Otunola, the official said the transport interchange was a people-oriented project that would help at least one million residents commute easily daily.
He, specifically, compared the socio-economic value of the transport interchange with the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, which according to him, was designed to serve about 40,000 people daily.
While the airport would only serve the elite, the official noted that the transport interchange was conceived “to reduce travel time on Lagos roads; unlock gridlocks associated with the megacity and help people commute without stress.
“That informed Ambode’s decision to construct other bus terminals – Ikeja Bus Terminal, Berger Bus Terminal, Yaba Bus Terminal, Oyigbo Bus Terminal and Race Cross Bus Terminal – to make Lagos function like other megacities in the developed world.
“This is the kind of project the governments at different level should invest in. The project will serve larger population and not just the elite. Ambode’s burden to relieve commuters’ pains of gridlocks informed the conception of the project.”
A statement from Planet Project Corporate Communication Office explained the rationale behind the transport interchange, which it said, was informed the peculiarity of Oshodi, West Africa’s busiest transport interchange in West Africa, with over 13 parks and 5,600 buses loading per day.
It said Oshodi “has over 100,000 passengers and 1 million pedestrians daily, with 76 percent of its land area dedicated to transport and related activities. This leads to serious traffic congestion and other environmental issues.
“Our concept seeks to transform Oshodi into a world-class Central Business District (CBD) with business, travel and leisure activities conducted in a serene, secure, clean, orderly and hygienic environment, comparable with other transport terminals around the world including Stratford and Victoria Bus Station in the United Kingdom.”
The statement, therefore, said the transport interchange would consolidate all the 13 city and interstate bus parks into 3 multi-storey terminals, providing standard facilities including waiting area, loading bays, ticketing stands, drivers lounge, parking areas, rest rooms, accessible walkways and pedestrian sky-walks linking all the 3 terminals.
According to the statement, other components of the terminal include 20 lifts and escalators, two sky-walks connecting the terminals to each other, Architectural LED Lights, passenger concourse, public address systems, bus depot, passenger drop-off areas, taxi and car parks, passenger lounge for intercity commuters, loading bays, passenger information systems, etc.
It, also, explained the benefits of the transport interchange, which it said, ensure the reduction of the traffic congestion and chaos traditionally experienced at Oshodi with a reduction in the scattered and unruly transport activities, leading to a world-class excellent transport experience for commuters and an improvement in the standard of life of Lagos residents.
With the consolidation of all transport activities, the statement said a lot of the informal economic activities “will be brought into the tax-net of the State government and Oshodi would thus be rebranded as the new and iconic face of Lagos.
“With the ongoing pace of works, the project is billed to be completed this month, and operations commencing soon after. Commuters around Lagos can therefore look forward to having a comfortable, accessible and world-class transport system.”