Some commuters in Lagos State have appealed to the state government to reconsider its plan to increase the bus fares of Bus Rapid Transport and Lagos Buses known as LAGBUS with effect from March 1.
They said that the increment, when implemented, would bring more hardships to them especially during this recession.
They added that it would further expand the gulf between the rich and the masses which BRT and LAGBUS buses had tried to bridge.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had approved between 20 per cent and 50 per cent fare increase for BRT, LAGBUS and other franchise buses, with effect from March 1, 2017.
The governor said that the increase was necessitated by the economic downturn in the country which had affected the transport sector drastically.
The fare increase differs in various routes. For a ride on BRT bus from Ikorodu to CMS, where a passenger currently pays N200, the passenger will pay N300 as fare from March 1, while a trip from Ikorodu to Mile 12, with a fare of N70 at present, will become N100.
Fare from Ikotun to Iyana Ipaja, now N50 will move up to N100 while Ikotun to Ikeja would be N200 from the present N100 per passenger.
Also, from Igando to Maryland would be N150 from its present N100, while every passenger travelling from Dopemu to Ikeja/Maryland would pay N200 as against the present N150 fare.
Mr Wale Adegboyega, a civil servant, said on Thursday that the proposed increase would further add to the existing sufferings of the commuters.
Adegboyega said that majority of commuters boarding those buses would face a lot of financial challenges as a result of the increments.
“We appeal to the government to reconsider its plan to increase the fares as it will bring more hardship to the residents.
“Currently, the country is in recession when many citizens are only leaving from hand to mouth, it will be unfair if the government should embark on such policy.
“For the past three years, there has not been an increment in salaries paid to workers whereas schools fees, house rents and prices of food stuff have increased significantly.
“Boarding BRT and LAGBUS buses have been the only avenue where we enjoy the dividends of democracy,” he said.
Also, Mrs Esther Jemilehin, a trader who resides in Ikorodu, said that the planned increment would bring more hardship to the residents.
Jemilehin said that she spent over N10,000 on monthly basis on transportation.
“We are just coming to market for the sake of coming; the sales nowadays have reduced compared to what they used to be before.
“There is recession everywhere and because of that, I have not sold goods worth N20,000 in the last two weeks despite spending N10,000 for transport monthly.
“We are appealing to the state government to continue to retain the present fares so as to make life conducive for Lagos residents,” she said.
Mr Richard Ekene, a teacher residing in Abule Egba areas, said that the proposed increments if implemented would affect him domestically.
Ekene said that his monthly income as a teacher in a private school, is N35,000, and N9,000 out of it goes for transportation.
He appealed to the government to drop the planned increase for the sake of the common people.
“BRT and LAGBUS buses are the avenues where the rich and masses meet on daily basis in Lagos State because it brings equality.
“But with the planned increment, the masses will be separated from the rich totally because the majority of the masses may not be able to afford the proposed fares,’’ Ekene said.