Fare hike compounding hardship, travellers lament
The scene at Mazamaza, Lagos-Badagry expressway, yesterday morning was unusually busy, 48 hours to Christmas. But as against the norm where the park should be buzzing with excited passengers and energetic transporters, it was a rowdy scene populated with lot of dissatisfied transporters and travelers, heckling and arguing over best bargain for passengers and luggage.
One of the travelers, Chinedu Chukwudi, who was travelling to Owerri, lamented the hike in transport fare. He said: “There is no fuel scarcity, I don’t know why we should be subjected to these unnecessary hike by the shylocks calling themselves transporters. They are complaining that the road is bad and endless gridlock in many parts due to the construction of major roads”.
Chibuzor Festus, another traveller, said the development was compounding the hardship in the land. “The hike was abnormal. Am sure, most travellers are not prepared for up to 100 per cent hike.
I boarded this bus and paid N9,600 for a trip to Benin, and I also paid another N9,600 for a seat for my luggage when there was another argument over no allowance for luggage. Are they expecting yuletide travellers to come with a slim bag or no luggage at all?”
Francis Nnagwueze, manager of God’s Own Transit said: “It is not like last year because of the economy and people are suffering. The increment in fare is due to the fact that we are running empty back to Lagos, after running full to the east. It is also due to bad roads.”
One of them who help Transport Companies simply known as Odochike Ebube said “ it is believed that after 25th of this month more customers would come in. the increase in transport fare is not because of bad road, it increases everyday during festive period.
“That is how it has always been, even since the days of our parents. Fares are increased during festive seasons, so nothing is abnormal here. People are shouting too much now maybe because there is no money in town.”
On what government can do to alleviate hardship on the roads, the travellers called for speedy road rehabilitation and checkmating extortion at numerous checkpoints.
According to them, most transport operators consider the challenges and factor them into the fare, which is usually passed down to the poor masses.