By Chimezie Ibedu
As part of efforts to sanitize and harmonize commercial transportation in Anambra, the state government has directed that with effect from August 1, 2019, all township buses, shuttle service buses and tricycles will don a new colour, comprising a combination of yellow and black in special design consistent with the Anambra brand identity. This follows months of consultation, sensitization and awareness creation, undertaken by the Ministry of Transport to bring transport operators, regulatory agencies, the general public and all relevant stakeholders up to speed on government's strategy to bring orderliness into this sector and beef up security ion the state.
These were the issues on the front burner during last Thursday's periodic review meeting which the Commissioner for Transport Hon. Uchenna Okafor, had in his office at Jerome Udorji Secretariat, Awka, with heads of traffic regulatory agencies, including the Anambra Traffic Management Agency (ATMA); Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO); Willie Workforce; Onitsha North Traffic Agency (ONTA) and Idemili North Traffic Decongestion Agency (INTDA).
Shortly before the meeting, the Commissioner, in the company of heads of those agencies, inspected a convoy of town service buses already painted in the approved colours and pattern. The buses which will serve as models after which all intra-state buses and tricycles will be painted, later moved in a convoy from the State Secretariat to Government House, Awka, and through Arroma Junction to Eke Awka Main Market and other major routes in Awka.
Explaining the reason behind the new initiative, Hon Uchenna Okafor said the ministry took a proactive approach to issues and saw the need for uniformity and proper identification of vehicles and drivers to enhance the overall security of the state. According to him, after the uniform colour branding of commercial buses and tricycles, the next phase would be allotment of unique security numbers to each vehicle.
This arrangement, he said, would affect only commercial buses and tricycles plying intra-state routes in Anambra, excluding inter-state operators.
'The fact that Anambra is a gateway to the South East and South South geopolitical zones poses a lot of traffic challenges,' he said, noting that such had necessitated a combined effort between his ministry, the regulatory bodies and Driver's Union.
Patrick Obiefuna, managing director of ATMA, said security was a top priority of the Governor Willie Obiano Administration in the state. He said his agency was prepared to collaborate with other stakeholders for the enforcement of the new regulation.
Also speaking with newsmen, Nnamdi Okafor, president-general and Kingsley Adiele, public relations officer, of Urban Drivers Welfare Association, Anambra State, both welcomed the new initiative which they said, would enhance easy identification of genuine drivers and vehicles, as is obtainable in neighbouring states, including Delta.
Mr Okafor said the compliance level by bus drivers had reached 40% and would eventually be completed in a few months. He pledged the support and co-operation of the Drivers' Union to the government of Governor Willie Obiano for the welfare of commuters and transporters in the state.