Travellers object to the Lagos government’s “outrageous” hike at the Oshodi bus terminal.


A portion of the Oshodi Terminal Interchange (OTI) occupied by long-distance luxury bus transporters is peaceful but uneasy.

This came after the facility’s management increased the service charge that patrons had to pay, according to The Guardian.

On a single trip, the fee was increased from N600 to N2,000 per passenger, or 333% more.

It was operative as of Thursday, February 1.

The operators of the luxury buses at Terminal 1, which our correspondent visited, urged the Lagos State government to rescind the upward review, citing the challenging economic conditions. This occurred as frequent travellers adamantly refused to pay the increased fee.

Additional inspections at the crowded interstate Terminal 1 showed that drivers had not loaded their buses since Thursday

the order was made by Planet Projects Limited, the firm managing the terminal.

One of the managers said the operators were waiting for further directives from bus owners who are making efforts to convince the government to shelve the plan or, at least, review it downward to N800, which amounts to a N200 increase.

The manager, who pleaded anonymity, described the new N2,000 service charge for luxury bus passengers as “very unfair” and “discriminatory,” because “other inter-state buses, especially those belonging to members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) are still paying N200.”

According to him, there is no way Lagos State government could justify imposing a heavy burden on passengers by collecting a N2,000 service charge a few days after the government stopped the fare rebate introduced to ease the pains of petrol subsidy removal.

“It is like giving the public a transport palliative with the right hand and taking it back with the left hand,” he lamented.

Some passengers have wondered why Lagos State government could consider such an upward review at a time Nigerians were groaning under the weight of economic hardship. They vowed to resist the increase, adding, however, that if the state goes ahead, they would seek alternative transport services.

The passengers threatened to start using other terminals and loading stations belonging to private long-distance bus transporters.

One passenger said: “If the increase stands, what is likely to happen is that the fare paid by one who enters a luxury bus at Oshodi will be higher by N2,000 than the fare paid by passenger travelling to the same destination from Jibowu or any other terminal or station in Lagos. Tell me why travellers must continue to come to the Oshodi terminal where they will be charged higher?”

Another, who gave his name as Chuka Anaebonam, said he had just been charged N100 for using the toilet. According to him, “you are imposing an exorbitant service charge and at the same time you are collecting N100 from the same passengers. Is that not exploitation and double taxation?”

On his part, Valentine Okoro, an Onitsha-bound passenger, said the likely consequence of the sharp increase is that the Oshodi terminal would be deserted, because if passengers refuse to pay, bus owners would be forced to take their vehicles elsewhere for loading.

Responding, a staff of Planet Projects Limited, who spoke on phone, confirmed that the increase from N600 to N2,000 took effect February 1.

“Yes. There is an increase to N2,000 with effect from February 1,” he explained, refusing any further comments.

Meanwhile, the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON) protested against the hike.

ALBON, in a letter to the Managing Director, Planet Project Limited, seen by our correspondent yesterday, maintained that the N2,000 being demanded, which is over 333 per cent increase, is unconscionable and capable of ruining business completely at the OTI.

Signed by the association’s president, Nonso Ubajaka, the letter said the proposed increase cannot be shifted to passenger cost because ALBON’s tariff is uniform throughout the country, including at all transport hubs in Lagos State.

It said: “For example, if ALBON’s bus fare is N18,000 in all its branches in Lagos State, including OTI, passengers at OTI will find it extremely difficult to pay an additional N2,000 being imposed by the OTI management as new access charge.”

ALBON also argued that since fares are elastic, virtually all prospective passengers will choose to go to other zones or branches in Lagos State where there is no exorbitant access charge.

The effect, the president said, is that passengers’ patronage at OTI will drastically reduce to as low as about 20 or 25 passengers in a bus with 51 or 59 loading capacity.

Ubajaka said members currently operating at OTI are finding it extremely difficult to survive in the face of escalating costs of business operations. “For instance, while OTI currently is collecting N600 per passenger as access charge, the same OTI management is unconscionably demanding that the same passenger should pay N100 each time he or she uses the toilet facilities at the terminal,” he added.

ALBON appealed to the management to reconsider imposition of the new access charge, saying: “We strongly believe that the N800 access charge per passenger we have offered is fair and reasonable in the circumstances, and the only way we can survive and remain in business is to render our services to the travelling masses of the citizens of Lagos State.”

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