Lagos State Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operators have complained about the high cost of running the service, citing the price of diesel and the value of the dollar as the main reasons.
According to The Guardian, bus operators and the country’s regulatory body told reporters that the steep increases in the price of maintenance, diesel, and other accessories imported into the country are to blame for the precipitous drop in the number of buses on the road.
Mutiu Yekeen, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for one of the companies running Primero, has stated that despite the difficulties that have arisen, the company remains dedicated to serving the public interest and the requirements of its clients.
“BRT operations in Lagos face a wide range of difficulties,” he stated. The issue of the currency rate is one example. When we opened for business in 2015, the official exchange rate was around N150 to one dollar; today, it’s over N750 to one dollar.
“A tyre we were buying then for N50,000 is now over N250,000; we use six tyres for one BRT bus; that’s over N1.5 million on one BRT; and given the state of our roads, the tyres might not survive more than three to four months.
“The cost of diesel is another factor to consider. Diesel cost us N120 a litre when we first started out, but now it costs us N1,000, yet our prices haven’t gone up.
It’s difficult, but we’re committed to serving the people and helping the government reach its goal of improving public transport. Without it, the company would have failed.
The expense of maintenance is really significant,” he remarked. Oil and, on occasion, gears must be changed. The price of a BRT bus has increased from the N45 million to N50 million it cost in 2015. We spent no less than N25 million in 2021 to repair the damage a driver caused to the engine of a BRT vehicle that had just been remodelled. We have over a hundred BRT buses operating at the moment, but we simply received a few extremely functional ones,” he stated of the fleet’s current status.
Every year, almost 200,000,000 people ride BRT. In addition, the regulator’s spokeswoman Kola Ojelabi added that numerous buses are currently inoperable because of a lack of spare parts, particularly for buses that have been in serious accidents, as these parts are not easily obtainable in the country and the currency rate for importing them is extremely pricey.
He claims this makes it difficult to budget for upkeep, and that increasing fares and securing government subsidies would help.