The Edo government on Monday inaugurated a free transport scheme to cushion the effects of the petrol subsidy removal on the residents of the state.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, at the inauguration, urged the residents to use the Edo City Transport Ltd (ECTS) free buses designed to help them get over the hardship caused by the fuel subsidy removal.
Obaseki was represented by Chris Nehikhare, his commissioner for communication and orientation, on Monday in Benin.
Obaseki recently approved free transport service for passengers on all routes operated by the state-owned ECTS.
The service, which spans an initial two-month period, covers commuting within the Benin metropolis and other major towns in the three senatorial districts. The buses will run between 6.30 am and 7 pm daily.
According to Nehikhare, “The state government takes the welfare of the residents seriously and this is just one of the many ways we intend to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal for Edo people.
“The service started this morning and people should seize this opportunity provided by the government and enjoy it.”
Edugie Agbonlahor, managing director, Edo State Transport Authority, said though ECTC has been offering free bus rides to primary and secondary school pupils, Obaseki has now extended it to accommodate everybody in order to alleviate the hardship caused by fuel subsidy removal.
“Transportation has always consumed 50 percent of the budgets of parents. So, the gesture is to help so that they can channel this money to some other needs such as feeding and housing.
“It also comes in handy, particularly this time when our children are resuming and we know the burden on parents during the first term.
“With the governor’s intervention at this time, parents can have a refund of their transport cost to enable them take on other responsibilities.
“We are aware that the ECTS has always given free rides to school children, but it’s no longer for school children alone but for all Edo people,” she said.
A beneficiary of the free transport scheme, Osarubo Obayuwana, who lives in Oko Central, said that she used to spend an average of N800 daily on transportation.
She said: “I am happy and elated seeing the new arrangements by the Edo State government. I want to beg the government to sustain the service because people are really suffering.”
The transport service is expected to cover intra-city and intercity routes, including Auchi-Igalla-Ibillo-Ososo; Uzebba-Ikhin-Otuo, and Abudu-Ubiaja, Abudu-Urhonigbe and Ewohirin to Ewatto.
The intra-city routes are Ramat–Kings’ Square; New Benin–King’s square; King’s square – Ekenwan Road; King’s Square–Airport Road; King’s Square–Sapele Road and King’s Square – Adesuwa, among other routes. NAN