Lagos Commuters Reject Planned Increase of BRT fares
By Babatunde Pratt & Anjolaoluwa Abiosun
Primero Transport Services Limited, operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the state says it has not announced an increase in the fares collected from commuters. Primero also clarified that it has not fixed a date for the commencement of a new fare.
The Managing Director, Fola Tinubu, disclosed in an interview that Primero intends to approach LAMATA, the regulating body, to seek an increase first, while asking commuters to wait for the outcome of the meeting.
Tinubu, however, explained that the reason for the proposed increase was to make the operation of the BRT sustainable and not in regards to the new minimum wage as claimed in some quarters.
He said “this does not have anything to do with the minimum wage. I have been saying the same thing for the last three years, it is not sustainable.”
The BRT boss reiterated that “Primero is a private company and you cannot pass the social responsibility of a government to a private company.” He also implored commuters to deter from comparing the BRT and yellow Danfo’s saying their cost structures are different from each other.
He added: “Do we want a world-class service or not?” and that “the reason why people don’t invest in transportation in Nigeria is because it’s not profitable.”
Tinubu said that Primero cannot sustain buying of diesels, good conditioning of buses and smooth running of the operation without the increase. He mentioned that 1.5 million dollars was spent on spare parts recently adding that “commuters pay less than a dollar” for fares.
He however said that “it’s in the best interest of the commuters that the increase is approved because the Danfo drivers would hike the price of transport if the operation is shut down.”
“If it collapses, it’s going to be worst for everybody because the danfo’s are going to jack up all their prices by almost 3-4 times of what everybody is paying right now’’ he said.
Tinubu stated that “he was not advocating for subsidy and if there was financial assistance from the government which would cover the cost and sustainability of the system, then there would not be a consideration for increase.”
Meanwhile, some commuters in Lagos State have rejected the proposed increase of fares by the Primero Transport Services Limited, operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the state.
Some of them who spoke with 99.3 Nigeria Info described the move as the height of insensitivity on the part of the government.
Ajayi Shade, an entrepreneur said: "How can they do this at this time when the economy is not stable? People who do not have much in their pocket to take them to their destination also wait for several hours on the queue to use these buses."
Kenneth Richard, a student believes with the increase, the prices will not be different from with what commercial buses charge adding that "in that case, we would rather join the yellow danfo’s than wait endlessly on the queue for the BRT busses."
Another commuter who identified herself as Kemi called for support from the state government, stating that the operators of the BRT would be able to sustain the scene if the state government comes in and invest adequately."