Users of the BRT transport say their mind on the increase in fares.
The Lagos State Government announced an increment in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) transport fares on June 30, 2022 for all routes in Lagos. This was contained in a statement issued by the BRT operators, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and signed by its spokesperson, Kolawole Ojelabi. According to the statement, the new fares become effective on July 13, 2022. LAMATA had explained that the decision to increase the bus fares is due to the increase in the cost of fuel (diesel) and lack of spare parts to replace damaged components of the buses.
About a week after the increase in fares, some users of the BRT transport system in Lagos have expressed their view on the N100 increase. A printer, Mr. Saka Lawal, who resides in Ikorodu and works at Fadeyi area of Lagos, told the press that the state government should have listened to the opinion of the people before the final implementation. The regular BRT passenger revealed that they (the commuters) had been discussing with the government via their WhatsApp platform for more than a month before the final outcome.
“We increase the fares because of the harsh economic realities”.
Effective 13 July, BRT fares from Ikorodu to TBS now costs N600 from the previous N500, from Berger to Ajah now costs N700 from N600, from Oshodi to Abule-Egba now costs N450 from N350, and from Abule-Egba, CMS-Obalende now costs N600. LAMATA explained that they increased the fares because the economic realities have not been favorable to their operations. Their spokesperson laments the exorbitant price of pump fuel and its continued rise as well as the lack of spare parts for the long buses.
“Operations of the transport scheme, of late, had been hampered due to rising cost of input required for sustainable service offering and the attendant high number of buses out of operation as a result of the lack of spare parts,” the transport agency’s spokesperson said. “For instance, the exponential increase in the pump price of diesel from N187 to N830 per liter between August 2020 and June 2022 had greatly affected the optimal performance of the bus operating companies, leading to the withdrawal of buses from operation and longer waiting time at bus stations.”
More commuters complain about the increase in fares.
Mr. Lawal further told the press that the fare was too much to some and people fear that other commercial buses would follow suit and increase their prices. He urged the state government to provide additional buses, especially at Ikorodu, to solve the problem of long queues which make many to arrive late at their office every day. “We understand that diesel is costly and not available at some filling stations, but the government should upgrade their standard and reduce queues at various bus stops of BRT,” he said.
Another commuter, Mr. Johnson Adewale, who is a banker on Lagos Island, opined that the N100 increment was reasonable. However, he noted that there should be more buses to reduce crowd at the bus stops to the bare minimum. Yet another commuter, Miss Toyin Ayilara, a trader who plies the Abule-Egba-Oshodi route, said that the increase in fares would affect her daily transport budget. She also urged the government to procure more buses to ease the crowd.
“I waited on the queue for three hours,” BRT commuter.
A rug seller at Itire area of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos, Mr. Yekini Sanusi said that he had purchased a N600 BRT top-up on the Cowry card but ended up boarding other commercial buses after waiting on the queue for three hours. “We are not satisfied with the increment. It used to be N300 from Ikorodu to CMS or Costain during the heat of COVID-19 [pandemic], but it was increased to N500 while observing social distancing. After the period, the government refused to reduce the fare and increase the numbers of the buses, and now they increased fare by N100,” he said.
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