Containing Effects of Boko Haram Bombs

New buses

Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company Limited now operates with buses that are fully equipped with anti-explosive device to ensure the safety of passengers travelling in them

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

ABUJA, Nigeria’s capital city, which has been under the scourge of terrorism perpetuated by members of the Boko Haram insurgent group, is taking steps to protect passengers travelling in its urban mass transit buses. To this end, Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company Limited, AUMTCO, announced recently that it has procured 100 new high capacity buses with anti-explosive devices for this purpose. The buses will be deployed to Nyanya and other routes in the capital city.

Tunde Akintola, head, marketing and communications, AUMTCO, told journalists in Abuja that all the 100 buses recently launched had the anti-explosive device. Akintola said AUMTCO carried out the anti-explosive device installation in the buses in conjunction with the FCT Administration’s Security Department.Besides the 100 newly acquired buses, Akintola said some of the old functional buses also have anti-explosive device installed in them to detect explosives or metals.

According to him, the installations are being done in batches, adding that “the company will soon complete installation in all the 400 buses. We are doing the installations on both the old and the new ones”. He said arrangements had been concluded by the company to install the devices in all the major loading parks of AUMTCO, to avert further terror attacks in the territory. “We are also introducing electronic security devices in all our major loading points such as Nyanya, Zuba, Area 3, Gwagwalada, Kubwa, Lugbe among others.”

However, he said that out of the 100 high capacity buses launched recently, 50 had begun operation, while the remaining buses were awaiting registration. Akintola   said the company, which is operating on 25 routes, has spread the new buses according to the routes, adding that it would help to augment the existing ones.

“We have assigned 20 buses to Nyanya; 20 to Zuba; five to Bwari; five to Gwagwalada; 10 to Lugbe; 10 to Kubwa; 15 to Life-Camp and 15 for the city centre,” he said. Akintola said the company has zero tolerance for reckless driving and was ready to sanction any of its drivers found violating traffic rules or being drunk while driving.

He said the company would soon employ more drivers and that the 100 new buses would be assigned to the company’s old drivers for better management. He said, however, that the fares for the new buses would be different from the old ones because they are equipped with air conditioners.

“A little premium will be added on the new buses because the air-conditioners will be fully on at all times for commuters. During the peak period, the new buses are designed to carry 45 people on the seats and 45 standing.” He said funding had been the challenge of the company, adding that the fares being charged by AUMTCO were highly subsidised for commuters.

“What we are charging are highly subsidised fares; the lowest fare is N50 and the highest is N150; that is why people prefer to enter our buses. In many cases, the drivers make less than what is expected by the company; and from the money we fuel the buses, maintain them, coupled with other expenses and we are not on budget allocation.”

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