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COVID19: Pressure mounts on commuters

Careful observation has shown that transporters are displeased about the lockdown relaxation. This is due to the fact that transportation prices have doubled in Lagos due to the consistent rise in cases of the coronavirus disease in the state.

Recall that in his last aired broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari, relaxed the lockdown partially to permit movement between the hours of 6 am and 8 pm.

Similarly, the governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a speech delivered shortly after the President’s, said: “There will be a daily curfew from 8 pm to 6 am and all movement within these hours is prohibited, except for people on essential services, which are agro-products, petroleum products, relief materials and food supplies.

“Food markets across the state are to be open only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm and non-food market shall only open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday within the same stipulated hours.

“Public transport services are to operate from 6 am to 7 pm daily. Vehicle capacity regulations will be communicated as the NURTW /RTEAN have been in full engagement on achieving these regulations. “

As the virus persists, with cases rising in the state leaving possible consideration for another lockdown, most residents who have to move about during this period have complained about excessive transportation fees.

This is not unconnected to preventive measures by the World Health Organisation and Nigeria Center for Disease Control to maintain 1 metre (3 feet) distance between others.

To this end, buses have been instructed to carry two passengers per seat, at both edges, tricycles, two at the back, sitting at the edge while only the driver in front while motorcycles carry only one passenger.

Reports gathered was that in some areas, transport unions have mandated only the movement of selective transportations, while other bus points have been closed.

Some motorists confirmed that they were mandated to keep 1-meter space within passengers, leaving them to carry not up to 10 passengers in a 16-seater bus.

One Mr Ogunyemi said: “We spend money on fuel and yet still have to pay the same bills on loading passengers at bus point. So it is on a safe end for us to increase prices.”

Another, who spoke under anonymity, mentioned that the pandemic and lockdown measures exhausted all his savings, noting that the sudden rise in prices of goods and products also have an effect on transportation.

Confirming some new transport fares: Alakuko to Abeokuta spend about N1000; From Alakuko to Oshodi is N700, Ikotun to Ikeja is about N300. From Iyan paja to Iyaniba is about N500; Iyan paja – Ikeja – Oshodi is about N500; Iyaniba to Mile Two is about N300. From Igbogbo to Ketu N500; Ketu – Maryland- Ojuelegba – Yaba is about N500.

Meanwhile, with the motorcycle ban imposed by the Governor in some areas of Lagos state, has left many residents stranded at bus stops while others try to find alternative routes through BRT buses.

One Mrs Efe said: “I have to overspend on every movement I make. Where I go daily spending about N200 I spend nothing less than N600. This is with addition to the stress and waiting under the sun.”

A businesswoman who identified herself as Mrs Esther said: “If I have to spend at least less I wake up to the market as early as 5 am to buy whatsoever I need and come as early as possible.”

Another civil servant said: “We were asked to resume, we are unsure of salaries and even jobs yet we still spend more on transportation, at least up to N1000 to and fro.”

Some locals residents similarly confirmed that their area only the motorcycles or tricycles are allowed to move within their community for stipulated hours.

However, economic experts have opined that the country might possibly move into recession if it comes out of the crisis soon. This presumption might just have a great effect on transportation for a long time.

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