By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – Some commuters travelling from Lagos to other parts of the country for the Yuletide by road, on Monday said the hike in fares in some cases had reached almost 100 per cent.
The travellers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at various motor parks in Jibowu area, Lagos, said that the development was compounding the hardship in the land.
A Benin-bound traveller, Mr James Uche, told NAN that the hike was abnormal, as he was not prepared for up to 100 per cent hike.
Uche, who spoke to NAN at Edegbe Motors at Jibowu, said: “I boarded this bus at Ajah and paid N9,600 for a trip to Benin, and I also paid another N9,600 for a seat for my luggage.
“Meanwhile, because passengers were not forthcoming, the bus carried us to Jibowu here to fill all seats. I never bargained for this, it is painful.”
Rev. Tony O. Tony of Redeeming the Lost Int’l Church, who brought his brother that was travelling to Owerri, told NAN at Chisco park that the fare had jumped from about N7,000 to N13, 000.
“To us in Nigeria, it has been a normal trend because of the season, but it should not be so because there is no hike in fuel price, gridlock has been there, road condition has been there also.
” So, there is no justification for this pain being inflicted on people, especially the masses,” Tony said.
A Port Harcourt-bound traveller at Veno Tours, Mr Joseph Eleyi, told NAN that the fares were unfriendly, as he had to pay N12,000 as against N6,500.
Eleyi said that the season, bad road and multiple checkpoints must have necessitated the near 100 per cent increase.
Mr Monday Ani, a businessman travelling to Enugu from Ifesinachi Express park, said that the fare, which rose from N6000 to N10,200, was unfair, considering the harsh economy.
At Chibest Park, an Abuja-bound lady, Miss Titilayo Aina, told NAN that the fare jumped from 5,000 to N8,000 because of the season.
NAN reports that fare for Lagos to Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu and other Eastern parts was going for N13, 000 in many of the parks.
An official at Chisco Transport, who would not have his name mentioned, told NAN that the increase was usual during the season.
He said: ” 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 of 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.