By John Egbokhan & Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos—A large number of commuters in Lagos yesterday, abandoned the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, service as operators, Primero Transport Services Limited and LAGBUS Asset Management, commenced the implementation of the newly introduced bus fares across their operational corridors in the state.
The Lagos state government, through Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, had announced an upward review of bus fares for its BRT and LAGBUS services from yesterday, Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
Managing Director of LAMATA, Mr Abiodun Dabiri, an engineer, said the new fares became necessary following the high cost of operation caused by the current economic hardship.
Investigations by Vanguard yesterday, showed commuters raising concerns over the new hike, lamenting that the government had shut the only means through which it used to cushion the crushing effect of recession in the state.
Under the new price regime, the BRT (Blue-bus), operated by Primero Transport Services, increased the fare from Ikorodu – Mile 12 route, from N75 to N100.
Also, Ikorodu to Fadeyi is now N200 from N120, while Ikorodu to CMS is now N300 from N200.
The LAGBUS, commuters in Ikorodu en-route Oshodi were forced to part with additional N50, after the price was increased from N150 to N200.
Commuters were shocked, when they got to the Ikorodu bus terminus to discover that the fares were increased by more than 50 percent in some cases.
These unprecedented increments led majority of the commuters to abandon the blue buses for danfo and white buses.
When Vanguard visited Ojota bus terminal, many of commuters were sighted complaining over the new hike.
For commuters’ en-route Ikorodu, Vanguard gathered also abandoned BRT and LAGBUS to board the Private operators, which many regarded as replica of old Molue along the axis.
One commuter, Akinloye Ayodele, who angrily left the BRT terminus to join a red bus going to Ketu, said it was the height of insensitivity on the part of government to think of profit maximization from poor masses, who he added were choking under bad leadership.
Another infuriated passenger, Tope Adefioye, condemned the decision to increase the fares, adding that since government has failed to alleviate the poverty of the people, it should not compound their woes with the astronomical hike.
A commuter at Ikorodu garage, Mr. Olawale Adegbola, narrated that previously, he often patronized the BRT service, but with the increment he had resorted to boarding the molue.