Holidaymakers from major cities such as Abuja and Lagos moving to their country homes will be paying higher fares on interstate road journeys.
This is due to the removal of subsidy that resulted in increased pump prices of petrol from N195/litre pre-subsidy to an average of N599/litre and as much as N700/litre depending on the state and dealer.
BusinessDay checks show that travellers will pay as much as N50,000 for a bus ticket to embark on an interstate trip.
According to the ticket price of the GUO Transport Company, securing a seat on a Sienna bus heading to Owerri from Lagos during the Christmas period will cost as much as N50,500 while a seat on a 14-seater Hiace bus to Owerri costs N42,000.
A bus ticket from Lagos to Abuja during the period will cost as much as N49,000; Abuja to Lagos N50,000; Lagos to Port Harcourt N43,000; Lagos to Cross River costs N40,500, GUO Christmas ticket rate further shows.
The National Bureau of Statistics Transport Fare Watch for October 2023 revealed that the average fare paid by commuters for intercity bus journeys rose by 53.04 percent from N3,845.81 in October 2022 to N5,885.68 in October 2023.
“The transport fare is on the high side but it is expected because, with the removal of petrol subsidy in May 2023, the interstate fare moved from an average of N11,000 per seat to as much as N26,000 per seat. So, it is not surprising that a bus ticket to the East or Abuja from Lagos will be over N40,000 this Christmas,” Chijioke Osondu, a Lagos-based businessman told BusinessDay on Tuesday.
Osondu said he was supposed to travel to his village in Abia State with his family of five. But the ticket is very expensive, and he does not have up to N400,000 to make the trip this Christmas.
According to him, his extended family usually observes a ‘mass return’ every three years where every member of the Osondu family must come home for Christmas, and the last time his family travelled to the village was in 2020, but he does not think his family will make it to the village this year for the Christmas due to high cost.
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Aside from using commercial buses to travel this season, some travellers would want to use their cars to travel for the holidays but many of them have complained about the high cost of maintaining the vehicle due to the soaring cost of vehicle spare parts.
Putting one’s car on the road to make the holiday trip has become an investment.
For instance, Stephen Udochukwu, who drives a 2008 model Toyota Camry, said that he spent over N800,000 to put his car in order in preparation for the Christmas trip.
“I spent N150,000 to change the four shocks which was formerly sold for N90,000 in 2022; N45,000 to change the radiator that was formerly sold for N25,000; N45,000 to buy gear oil that was formerly sold for N25,000; two shafts that used to go for N25,000 for N75,000; engine oil that was N15,000 is now N25,000; engine seat that was N10,000 before now sells for N20,000; ball joint N15,000; tie rod N10,000 and steering rubber that was N5,000 before now goes for N10,000.
“There were other little parts that I changed, and the mechanic collected a service charge of N30,000 that was formerly charged N15,000. In addition to the mechanical work, I spent over N350,000 to do the bodywork alone, fix some bad parts and repaint my vehicle. I was forced to repaint my vehicle because the last time I did that was five years exactly in 2018,” Udochukwu said.
Meanwhile, Friday Effiong, who confirmed the difficulty associated with owning a car in Nigeria today due to the impact of inflation on vehicle spare parts, said putting a car in good condition costs a lot of money.
He said he spent N49,000 each to buy the tyres of his SUV car in preparation for his family trip to Akwa Ibom State in early January for the burial of a relative.
The NBS Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) Price Watch for October 2023 shows that the average retail price paid by consumers for petrol for October 2023 was N630.63, indicating a 222.92 percent increase compared to N195.29 recorded in October 2022.
Ogochukwu David, a driver with the GUO Transport Company, said the high pump price has affected the transport business in Nigeria as most drivers spend huge sums to fuel the vehicle used for interstate journeys.