The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has finally spoken against the announcement of a hike in BRT and LAGBUS fares on the basis that operators are already making enough profits out of the monopoly. In a statement by the TUC, the chairman of its Lagos state chapter, Comrade Francis Ogunremi, condemned the increment in transport fare of the BRT and LAGBUS buses approved by the Lagos state government and announced on Monday by the Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) Mr. Abiodun Dabiri.
“The Lagos state council feels pained that such bus fare increment, which translates into hardship in all sphere of life, could be undertaken at this critical point that there is economic hardship occasioned by failure of governance.” “We, therefore, insist that this fare hike is insensitive, wicked, ungodly and draconian, to say the least. The move further exposes the state government as being completely out of touch with the realities of the suffering of the masses of the state.”
It will be recalled that the TUC, its counterpart, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the civil society bodies were forced to stage a protest rally last week because of the pains Nigerians are going through; unfortunately, the state government appears indifferent of our plight. According to Ogunremi, “it has become instructive to state that the BRT and LAGBUS are monopolistic undertakings of some private individuals and moneybags; who contrary to fair practice are unduly allocated a section of the public road to the detriment of other people in transport business.
We submit that the business is viable at the prevailing fares due to the untenable principle of monopoly, as the single largest transport system at the heart of Lagos. And that approval of 20-50% fare hike as an error must be corrected through the withdrawal of the increment. “The unilateral nature of the increment without due consultation with other stakeholders including the TUC to examine all the issues related to the increment is condemnable.
Hence the Lagos State Council of TUC hereby calls on Governor Ambode to correct his mistake by withdrawing the approval immediately.” On Monday, the Lagos state government approved an increment of between 20 and 50 per cent in fares on different routes along the operational corridors in the state. According to the Managing Director/CEO LAMATA, Engineer Abiodun Dabiri, the increment became necessary due to the economic downturn, which has affected financial projections of the operators. “The increment in fares will affect the three major operators in the state such as Primero Bus Service, managers of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS), and LAGBUS.
“The increment in fares will affect the three major operators in the state such as Primero Bus Service, managers of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS), and LAGBUS. Dabiri, stressed that “Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has approved a fare increase for the three operators effective from Wednesday March 1, 2017. The average increases approved range from 20 per cent to 50 per cent on different routes. “In approving the fare increase, government weighed the justification of the operators for the increase vis-à-vis the effect on the commuters.”“The current financial crunch, however, has seen an average cost of operations increase to up to about 110
“The current financial crunch, however, has seen an average cost of operations increase to up to about 110 percent. With cost of fueling going up by 71 percent, oil prices up by 64 percent, tyre costs up by 90 percent, continued operations is thereby threatened,” he said. He said the government recognised the current financial difficulty being experienced by Lagosians and assured public transport users of government’s protection from arbitrary increase.