When the Federal Government lifted the ban on inter-state transport services, it was a welcome decision. With Covid-19 pandemic far from over, transportation prices have doubled while in some other areas it has tripled. Part of the Covid-19 guidelines on the number of passengers in a vehicle. For longer journeys such as Lagos to Onitsha, it was three passengers per roll of seats inside a bus such as a 14-seater bus but because of the new guidelines it has been reduced to two passengers. To make up for the third passenger, the passengers are made to bear the cost.
It has not been easy for so many people as some businesses are yet to get back on their feet while some have to endure pay cut especially in some private companies and other businesses like night clubs remain closed. The hike in transport prices is more of a reap off than just marking up. For example, BEFORE Covid-19 pandemic the transportation to Awka in Anambra state was between N5, 000 and N5, 500. For the three passengers in a roll for a 14 seater bus, the total price will be N15, 000(@N5000). What one would expect is N7, 500 per passenger if the two passengers are to bear the cost. Today, passengers are being made to pay N15, 000(Fifteen thousand naira) per trip.
It is the same number of hours that one would spend making such a trip as the Covid-19 pandemic did not affect the duration and distance to any place. From Kaduna to Lagos, the number of passengers per roll is four before the Covid -19 pandemic and the price was N7, 000 –N7500 depending on the transport company. It is the same price for Kano- Lagos. And it is almost a two days journey. With Covid-19 guidelines, passengers have been reduced to two and the fare is N15, 000 per trip.
The question one should be asking now is why the more than 200% hike by the transport companies who ply the eastern roads? Is there something special on the eastern routes that is not been experienced by those going to the North? Or it is an avenue to make up for the months they were not in operations? So many questions to ask.
The only time, such hikes do occur is during festive periods especially in December when those from the east are travelling. According to one of the drivers of a transport companies, he said the reason for such a hike is that the volume of people leaving Lagos for the east is three times those coming to Lagos. So in most cases coming back to Lagos after a trip means half the number of passengers. In most cases, you find it more as greed rather than the lame excuses given by these transport companies. December is a few months from now; I wonder what will be prices if this Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t come to an end before then.
What are your comments on this exploitation by transport companies?
Photo credit: Nairametrics