Despite the Lagos State Government’s directive to cut transport charges by 25%, commercial bus drivers in the state have failed to comply, citing concerns over the viability of their business under reduced fares. Commuters have expressed frustration as they continue to pay the same fares, with fluctuations based on passenger availability and traffic conditions.
Passengers have reported little to no change in fare prices since the government’s announcement, with fares remaining constant and often varying between routes. Dele, a regular commuter, stated, “I have not noticed the 25 per cent reduction in transport prices… It only fluctuates between certain prices depending on the availability of passengers on the road and the traffic.”
Several bus drivers have defended their stance, asserting that slashing fares would negatively impact their livelihoods. Adewale, who operates a route from Berger to Oshodi, emphasized the ongoing financial challenges faced by drivers and the recent removal of the fuel subsidy. He expressed skepticism about the impact of fare reductions and hinted at potential consequences if forced to comply, stating, “Reduction in ticket prices cannot make me reduce my bus fare. If they make the reduction of transport fares compulsory, I will just park my vehicle.”
Other drivers echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the rising costs of essentials such as tires and engine oil. Pastor, a driver who chose to remain anonymous, emphasized the financial strain caused by increased fuel prices and the cost of living. He remarked, “We want the government to know that this is untold hardship on the people… It is not the bus park union that is maintaining my car. So, they cannot do much to help the situation.”
On the other hand, some drivers have voluntarily reduced fares due to a decrease in passenger numbers. Yaro, who operates from Berger to Ikosi, explained that he had taken this step prior to the government’s directive because of dwindling ridership.
The situation underscores the challenges faced by both commuters and drivers in navigating economic uncertainties, fuel price fluctuations, and government regulations in the bustling city of Lagos. As tensions persist, stakeholders continue to grapple with finding a balance between ensuring affordable transportation for citizens and maintaining a sustainable livelihood for drivers.