Christmas: Travellers have to pay more on fares
• FRSC Promises Free Flow Of Traffic During Yuletide
Those travelling to their various hometowns or outside Lagos to celebrate Christmas and New Year with loved ones have to pay more money for transport, as bus fares have gone up.
A visit to some parks revealed that transport fares have been increased by as much as 50 per cent in some cases. Some people, who thought they could avoid the increase by travelling out early, were beaten to the game, as they discovered to their dismay that transport fares had already been raised.
At Agege Motor Park in Lagos, some commuters complained about the fare hike, saying the situation would likely get worse before Christmas celebration proper, as more people travel out of Lagos for the festive period.
Standing beside their luggage and looking upset, some commuters travelling from Lagos to Abuja, Kano and other places looked stranded, as they bemoaned their inability to get vehicles to their various destinations, due to fare hike.
Passengers travelling from Lagos to Kano were made to pay between N9, 000 and N10, 000 as against the old fare of N8, 000.
Aliyu Ahmed, a civil servant, said he decided to travel early to avoid the inevitable last minute rush and the accompanying raised fare. He was, however, disappointed to discover that his ‘clever’ move did not achieve desired result.
“The bus fare has been increased,” he said. “But I don’t have another option than to pay. I’m travelling to Kano to celebrate the season with my loved ones in the village. I haven’t been to my hometown for nearly one and a half years, so the increase will not stop me.”
Mr. Kayode Bakare, who is travelling from Lagos to Abuja, blamed the problem on insincerity on the part of transport operators. “The transporters are only interested in the monetary gain to the detriment of passengers. But they are not interested in rendering quality services to their helpless passengers. Must they increase transport fare every Christmas and New Year,” he queried.
Explaining the motive behind the increase, a transport operator at Agege Motor Park, Danjuma Garba, said when there in crease in the number of travellers, transporters also increase bus fare.
He said: “The problem is that our buses are usually empty, when coming from Kano to Lagos to load passengers. So, to make up for this loss, we have to increase the fare from Lagos to Kano. It is not that we are not concerned about our passengers; it is just the nature of the job at this time of the year.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has assured Nigerians of free flow of traffic on the busy Lagos/Ibadan, Lagos/Badagry and Lagos/Epe Expressways during the festive season.
The FRSC Lagos State Sector Commander, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, said no traveller would be stranded or sleep on the highway.
He said the corps would extend their services till 10 pm, while arrangement has been made for security back up on the three corridors.
To complement efforts of the Corp officials, however, Omeje advised motorists to maintain lane discipline and shun over-speeding to avoid crashes on the highways during the Christmas and New Year celebration.
He stressed that lane discipline, obedience to traffic rules and signs are crucial while driving on highways, especially during the festive period, which is usually busy.
He said: “Drivers should obey laid down traffic signs, maintain lane discipline and shun stopping at unauthorised places to pick passengers. We have started our enlightenment campaigns at various motor parks to ensure we do not record crashes.
“We focus more on avoiding driving under influence of alcohol or drugs. We advise drivers to avoid using phones while driving to ensure that road crashes are reduced to the barest minimum. We are partnering with Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure that we render quality services to travellers during the festive period.”