Delta State to introduce BRT in Warri

By The Rainbow

Delta State Government has concluded plans to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) model in  Warri..'

The project, which  is part of a radical transport development plan of the Uduaghan administration, when completed will Warri to be the third city in Africa to develop the BRT initiative, after Lagos and Johanesburg.

The State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan  unfurled this plan, which is expected to kick in in October next year,  at the on-going 60th Congress of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in Geneva, Switzerland.

UITP is the international network for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes as well as public transport supply, service industry and global advocates of sustainable mobility and promoter of innovations in the sector.

It is a platform for worldwide co-operation, business development and the sharing of know-how between its 3,400 members from 92 countries.

Dr. Uduaghan said the seven-month old idea from its conception, traffic surveys and feasibility studies, topographic surveys, detailed engineering designs to bill of engineering measurements and evaluation, would now be followed by award of contract, in July.

He  was represented by Transport Commissioner, Ben Igbakpa,

According to the governor,  'The Warri BRT scheme, which is personally driven by the governor, according to Igbakpa, is an expression of political will and recognition of the strategic importance of public transport on a large percentage of the populace, with its economic impact on the disposable income of the people.

'With increasing population and economic activities, Warri is set to join the community of global cities with sustainable, integrated and affordable transport system to meet its economic aspirations.

'The project, which is aimed at creating jobs numbering in tens of thousands, would also through multiplier effect, require personnel and business transactions in the areas of traffic management and enforcement, bus shelters and terminals, segregated lanes constructions, public information/enlightenment, traffic signs and signals.'

Also, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Planet Project Limited, a public transport development company, 'Biodun Otunola, observed that the urgency of the project was premised on the assessed vehicular movement, which put the current traffic demand at 80,000 passengers per day on the four major routes. High occupancy vehicles, mini-buses and taxis are already put at 40 per cent of the total vehicles, carrying 76 per cent of commuters.

He said that private cars have also increased from 25 per cent of total vehicles to over 50 per cent, carrying 30 per cent of the passengers due to the ban on commercial motorcycles and it is expected that the planned Warri BRT would capture a large part of this market.

Otunola noted that the project was expected to commute 42,000 passengers per day at inception in 2014 and increase to more than 80,000 passengers per day in five years.

Also at the UITP 60th Congress in Geneva, the President of Transport Development Initiative, Ani Ojuyah, lauded Warri BRT project, which he said, could boost the state's GDP by about 2.5 per cent yearly, create mass employment and enhance the on-going efforts at urban renewal.

According to the governor, the project will induce yearly growth rate of five per cent in the state, as increase in transport infrastructure will boost the population, demand for more routes, buses, as well as employment.

He said that the project would take off on the Warri-Sapele corridor and be extended to Jakpa, Udu and Airport Road in the subsequent phases.

Uduaghan explained that the project would be financed by a combination of accruals from fuel subsidy removal fund (SURE-P), bond issuance, statutory allocations and bridge financing.

'This would be the climax of our on-going transport reform programme, which includes the delivery of Asaba Airport, introduction of 60 high occupancy vehicles (HOV), the purchase of 705 mini-buses (for city and inter-city transport), ban on commercial motorcycles for public transport, construction of 30 jetties, 30 bus shelters, four-mini-terminals, two-mega bus terminals, 12-junction improvement works and setting up of Delta State Traffic Management Authority.'

'We are really looking into an integrated, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public transport solution for Warri, the state's economic capital,' he added.