Many commuters are turning high capacity buses for their intra-city trip to escape escalating transportation fares occasioned by the recent fuel subsidy removal, BusinessDay’s finding has shown.
The fuel subsidy removal announced by President Bola Tinubu on Monday, May 29, has seen petroleum marketers adjust the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) known as petrol from N185/litre to between N488/litre and N511/litre.
The shift is due to the fact that the mass transit offers cheaper and more affordable transportation costs compared to privately-owned commercial buses popularly called Danfo and smaller seven-seater buses known as Korope. This trend is more obvious in Lagos where there is a state-owned mass transit system called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
The Lagos BRT system subsidises transportation costs for government workers and other residents of the state.
When BusinessDay visited BRT terminals in Oshodi and Obalende in Lagos, it was discovered that the mass transit charges are 50 percent lower than the amount the private commercial buses charge on different routes.
Also, the transportation fares across different routes have remained the same due to the fact that BRT uses diesel and had only made changes to its fares about a few months ago.
For instance, it costs N400 from Mile 12 to TBS and N600 from Ikorodu to TBS via BRT while commercial buses take between N700 and N800 from Mile 12 to Obalende and as much as N1,000 from Ikorodu to Obalende.
From the Abule-Egba area to Obalende/CMS with BRT, it costs N600 while the commercial buses charge between N1,200 and N1,500. Similarly, from Abule-Egba to Oshodi via BRT costs N450 while Danfo buses charge as much as N800 per trip.
BRT buses charge N400 from Oshodi to Obalende/CMS while private buses charge as high as N1,000 per trip since the adjustment in pump price of petrol.
Meanwhile, drivers of long buses that replaced the former ‘Lagos Molue’ buses that pack hundreds of passengers per trip with some of the passengers standing throughout the journey also collect low fares as passengers pay as low as N600 from Ikorodu/Mile 12 to Obalende.
Demilade Olawale, a banker, who lives in the Oshodi area of Lagos and works on the island, said she started using BRT a day after the inauguration of the new government.
According to her, the private buses immediately started charging N1,500 from Oshodi to Obalende on Tuesday, May 30, for a journey that she used to pay N500 before the fuel subsidy removal.
“I was forced to trek to the BRT terminal at Oshodi where I joined their bus for just N400, saving over N1,100. Since that day, I have been using BRT on a daily basis because I learnt that private buses still charge N1,000 to Obalende/CMS which is still on the high side,” Oluwale said.
She said her only issue with the BRT buses is the number of people that queue at the bus stop to board the bus, especially during peak hours but it has made her to be leaving home earlier than usual.
“BRT buses have been my saving grace in the face of this biting high transportation fare,” said Faustina Osaro, who lives in the Ikotun area and works in Ikeja.
She said she usually goes to the Ikotun bus terminal to board Ikeja for about N450, which according to her, will cost her close to N1,200 with the private buses.
Osaro said she was forced to buy a BRT card just last week when transport fares escalated.
“I save a lot of money from using BRT buses and that alone will go far in paying for my transport back from work on a daily basis,” said Aishatu Ibrahim, who lives in the Otta area of Ogun State and works on the Lagos Island. According to her, she does not patronise Danfo buses any more.
“I go to the office every day and I spend nothing less than N4,000 if I should use Danfo the buses. The BRT buses have helped to reduce my transport fare by about N2,500. I have to adjust to this new normal if I must continue with my current job, Ibrahim added.