By Moses Akaigwe
There was excitement at Terminal 1 of the modern Oshodi Transport Interchange on Monday when long-distance luxurious and mini buses commenced day and night passenger and cargo operations to destinations in the eastern part of the country.
This is coming about two years after the transportation hub was opened for actual transportation activities on May 2019, following official inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari a month earlier.
The allocation of the terminal to the transport companies followed long-drawn-out discussions between the Lagos State government, its partner on the Oshodi Transport Interchange, Planet Projects Limited, and the bus transporters’ umbrella body, Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON).
The negotiations paved the way for a memorandum of understanding, which outlined the terms for the use of the new terminal by ALBON members.
At the already busting Terminal 1 on Thursday, an official of Planet Projects informed The Sun that the approval for luxurious buses to use the terminal as a loading point was part of Lagos State Government’s plan to achieve a safe and efficient Integrated Multi-Modal Transportation System.
It was also learnt that loading and boarding of buses for inter-state trips, including those at Bolade and even Charity bus stops (both located in the outer parts of Oshodi) “will soon be prohibited.”
Inside the ultra-modern terminal, intending travellers in queues were seen purchasing tickets from the respective booths of their preferred transport companies that have been allocated places in the facility, while those waiting for boarding to be announced proceeded to the passenger waiting area.
Outside the terminal building was a line-up of buses, including those belonging to popular long distance passenger transport companies like Bonny Way Motors Nig. Ltd, ABC Transport, Izuchukwu Transport Nigeria Limited, and Young Shall Grow Motors Ltd.
Also positioned outside the terminal were buses belonging to ASM Transport & Logistics, Blessed Investment and Eddyson International Transport, among others.
Damian Ezema, a manager with one of the transport firms, Izuchukwu Transport, who was seen coordinating loading activities, said the operators’ vehicles had been operating at the terminal without hitches since Monday, disclosing that most of the morning departures were by mini buses, while the bigger buses depart at night.
Speaking to The Sun on phone on Saturday, the Vice President of ALBON, Chief Nonso Ubajaka, commended the Lagos State Government and its relevant agencies for approving the Interchange facility for the use of his association’s members.
Ubajaka disclosed that the luxury bus operators’ customers are excited about the very conducive, air-conditioned environment of the new terminal, especially the ticketing area and the lounge where they have to wait for bus departures to be announced.
“Some of the passengers are telling the staff of the various luxury bus companies that they want the Lagos State Government to construct similar ultra-modern terminals in other parts of the state, like Jibowu and Mazamaza/Amuwo-Odofin axis,” the ALBON Vice President disclosed.
Product of a tripartite arrangement involving the Lagos State Government, Planet Projects, and Ibile Holdings, Oshodi Bus Terminal with three terminals, was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on April, 2019.