• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Commuters under pressure as transport fares surge

Commuters are now paying a hefty price to move from home to workplace as the persisting scarcity of fuel balloons Nigerians’ daily transport fares, putting pressure on already stressed wallets.

With the petrol scarcity, many commercial drivers rely on black market sellers to source the fuel needed for their daily transport business.

This explains why transporters are shifting the pain to commuters by way of increasing transportation fares.

In Lagos for example, a journey of N100 has doubled to N200; that of N200 or N300 has been raised to N300 or N400 while that of N500 has been pegged at N800 or N1,000 in some cases depending on the area.

Read also: Fuel scarcity to worsen as IPMAN threatens to cut supply nationwide

Joy Anamelechi, a Lagos-based businesswoman, told our correspondent that she now spends over N1, 500 commuting from her house in the Ikotun area of Lagos to her shop in the Egbeda area of the state.

According to her, she used to spend N600 daily to commute, but that has increased to N1,500 due to the fuel scarcity.

“The cost of transportation has been on the high side since Monday due to the biting fuel scarcity. The situation was very terrible on Monday because many commercial drivers were not able to get fuel at the weekend and they rested their buses on Monday. The few vehicles on the road were charging a premium from passengers and one can imagine the volume of passengers who were stranded on the road,” Anamelechi said.

The fuel scarcity-induced high cost of transport is also adding to the cost of living crisis that Nigerian households are presently facing.

Households are already stretched by galloping food inflation that quickened to 40 percent, resulting in high spending.

Also, Gbenga Olatunji, an accountant, who works with a firm in the Victoria Island area of Lagos, said his transport fare has increased from N3,600 to N4300 daily and N18,000 to N21,500 weekly on account of the fuel scarcity.

He said the situation now is either you pay the high cost of transport or walk to your destination because it seems the transporters have agreed on what to charge people.

“The transport situation is not funny at all and if the situation continues uncontrolled, it will eat deep into my small salary that I’m trying to manage. What this means is that my transport fare will move from N72,000 to N86,000 monthly which is huge given the current economic crisis in the country,” Olatunji, who lives in the Okota area of Lagos, said.

Read also: The scourge of fallen fuel tankers on Nigerian highways: A call to action

Francis Chukwu, the HR expert, said he was forced to rest his vehicle after buying fuel at the weekend from black market dealers at N1,000 per litre.

Chukwu said he used to spend N10,000 every day to fuel his car when the pump price was N650 per litre but the fuel scarcity has shot that up to N15,000 daily, which is not realistic compared to his monthly salary.

He said he has been using the Lagos mass transit known as BRT from Berger to CMS, which is a lot cheaper, especially during this period of petrol scarcity.

Transporters are not left out. Fuel scarcity is also taking a toll on transporters who are also paying premiums to buy fuel from the black market dealers. Many of them, who are finding it extremely difficult to compete, have rested their vehicles for not being able to buy fuel.

“On Sunday, I spent 4 hours in the filling station with the hope of getting fuel but I was disappointed that the petrol station stopped selling when it took five cars to reach my vehicle,” said Kayode Kazeem, a commercial bus driver.

Kazeem said he was demoralised that after spending 4 hours, there was nothing to show for it which was why he didn’t go to work on Monday.

He said he was compelled to buy from the black market on Tuesday at N1,000 per litre to be able to work and he had no option but to increase transport fare to recoup the money lost to buying high-cost of fuel.

Rafael Godspower, another commercial driver in Lagos, told BusinessDay that the transport business is far from lucrative as transporters are now managing to survive the economic hardship.

Read also: Fuel scarcity back again as black market sells at N900/litre

He said fuel scarcity is one of the many challenges transporters face in today’s Nigeria.

According to him, there are issues of high pump prices with petrol selling at N650 per litre and high cost of vehicle spare parts due to the accelerating inflation.

BusinessDay reports that petrol queues have continued to worsen, despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria that the logistics issue around petrol supply to depots had been resolved.

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