Commercial drivers in Ogun and Lagos states are raising concerns about what they claim is a significant rise in the daily levies they are required to pay through the purchase of tickets at various motor parks across the states. An investigation by PUNCH Metro unveiled a troubling situation where drivers are compelled to pay for a range of tickets with costs varying from N100 to N500.
PUNCH Metro reporters visited key motor parks, including Mowe Motor Park in Ogun State, as well as Berger, Ketu, and Ojota Motor Parks in Lagos State, where drivers shared their experiences. The tickets seen by the correspondents bore different inscriptions indicating the issuing organizations and the intended purpose of each ticket. These included the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria, State Park and Garage Cleaners Commercial Bus Ticket, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Lagos State Consolidated Daily Ticket, as well as loading, booking, and marker tickets, among others.
It was observed that enforcement of these payments was often carried out through diverse, and at times coercive, methods employed by union officials. Oluwaseun Akinbamire, a driver, recounted a distressing incident where a ticket collector ran after him and even removed his bus seat, demanding a payment of N1,000 for not picking up passengers from their designated park. He shared, “He asked me to pay N1,000, just because I didn’t pick up passengers from their park. He beat me up, but since there is nothing I can do, I left the seat for them and got another one.”
Similarly, another driver at Mowe Park, Ajelo Jebo, expressed frustration over the mounting expenses drivers face, including fuel costs, payments to conductors, vehicle maintenance, and the added burden of ticket fees. “We buy fuel of N5,000 for each of our trips. We pay the conductors. We buy engine oil and repair our bus, and if we refuse to pay the ticket collectors, they will be removing our seats, break our glasses and also fight us. How much will the driver gain at the end of the day?” lamented Jebo.
While it was noted that some unions had reduced ticket fees by 25 percent due to the rise in fuel prices, drivers still found it challenging to operate profitably. Even after the reduction, drivers expressed discontent with the existing system. A female driver, who identified herself as Iya Segun, remarked, “As soon as Agberos see you, they bring the ticket; at times we go home with N5,000 which is not supposed to be so. The money I realised yesterday was what I used to fuel my vehicle today. It’s too much.”
In response, a union official at Ketu Motor Park, Lagos, named Olatunbosun Adeleke, shared, “Our leaders came and said we should find something to do and bring down the ticket prices, then the tickets issued by Lagos State as well as our dues have been reduced. We spoke with the drivers to collect N500 and it is not even profitable, but then there’s nothing we can do. We also have to help the people too as humans that we all are.”
As commercial drivers continue to grapple with the financial burden of these levies, the issue highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the transportation industry and the need for comprehensive solutions to address the concerns of both drivers and regulatory bodies.