Commuters in the capital city of Abuja have expressed displeasure over the ban on tricycles as they were forced to trek long distances to get to their destinations or wait for hours to catch a cab.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration has placed a ban on operations of the tricycle taxis, popularly called keke, in the city centre, saying they are only allowed to operate in estates and the satellite towns.
A joint security operation, led by the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS) of the FCTA, yesterday chased away the tricycle operators from all their parks in the city centre, while they also sensitized them to understand the policy.
However, commuters who rely on the keke to move around the city with ease told our reporters that the ban was too sudden, alleging that they were not given prior notice and were not provided alternative means of transportation.
“The ban has really affected my movement. I have been standing here for over 20 minutes now and have not seen a taxi that will convey me to my destination, Even when there are cars, they are limited, and expensive compared to fares charged by keke operators” Mr. Richard Jegede, said.
Another commuter, Mr Lancelot Onyeka said: “Despite the fact that tricycle drivers cause havoc on roads, instant ban isn’t the solution, at least there should have been prior notice.
“My office is not far from here and keke would have been the easiest and cheapest means for me to get there but since it has been banned, I have to stand here for over 15 minutes waiting for taxi that will convey me. Even when the taxi fare is double the amount they are still limited and can’t get to everywhere,” he said.
“I went to school late today because there was no tricycle to convey me and no taxi was willing to go to my destination, I had to trek to some point before I finally saw taxi,” Esther Moshima, a student of GSS Mabushi said.
A tricycle rider at Jabi Park, Mr.Sada Ali, said “ I came here this morning with my tricycle only to be chased away. Over 30 cars of VIO and police officers came and chased us away without any explanation.
“Since morning I have been loading passengers to one vehicle or the other but have just made 200 naira. Before the ban I was making more. The ban has rendered us jobless because we have needs and family to cater for,” he added.
He appealed to the government and relevant bodies to look into the matter and at least provide alternative means of transportation for commuters.
The Public Relation Officer of the DRTS, Emetu N. Kalu, said the ban on operations of both tricycles and motorcycles within the city was the decision of the FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello during a meeting with members of the taskforce team that comprised VIO, police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
He said DRTS has the mandate to enforce the ban because the tricycle operators have become a menace to other road users in the city.
He said despite that the tricycle operators were earlier given particular to areas to operate, they have flouted the directive and have gone ahead to operate on highways where they even overtake articulated vehicles.
According to him, the tricycle and commercial motorcycle operators were ordered to operate only in estates and satellite towns of the area councils.
“Now you can imagine the lives of commuters being toyed with along the highways. As you will see them overtaking trailers and other vehicles recklessly,” adding that the DRTS has the responsibility of safeguarding the lives of Abuja residents.
“And if you check you will see high capacity buses which are among the palliatives provided by the FCTA so that Abuja residents will not suffer,” he added.