Less BRT buses, increasing fares add to Lagosians’ pains

More than three weeks after Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state approved the increase of fares for BRT buses, commuters still complain about the fewer buses available despite an increase of N100, across all BRT routes, coming amidst deteriorating standards.

The new fares become effective on July 13, 2022. The Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) had explained that the decision to increase the bus fares is due to the increase in the cost of fuel (diesel) and lack of spare parts to replace damaged components of some buses.

BRT fare from Ikorodu to TBS now costs N600 from the previous N500, from Berger to Ajah now costs N700 from N600, from Oshodi to Abule-Egba now costs N450 from N350, and from Abule-Egba, CMS-Obalende now costs N600. BusinessDay’s findings show that the new fares are almost the same as the danfo buses, Ikorodu-Constain also cost N600 for danfo buses, Ikorodu-Maryland-Fadeyi cost N400, Oshodi to Abule-Egba cost N300.

Alade Esther, at the Ikorodu terminal, said that in addition to the long line while waiting for the bus to come, the operator’s code of conduct is unattractive and rude, also that occasionally when you tap your card, they subtract fare beyond your actual destination fare.

“If somebody was travelling in the same direction as you and used danfo, they would have arrived at their destination before you,” Esther said.

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Enitan Olajire, another commuter, described the increase in fares as upsetting for her because of the state of the economy. The BRT’s purpose, she says, is to make it accessible to the general public, therefore it defeats that purpose if they will continue to raise the price. She also added that the BRT is occasionally overcrowded, producing tension between commuters and that conditions of buses are now less comfortable.

“The AC is no longer turned on, and no matter how loudly you complain to the drivers, nothing is done about it. I feel like I should be enjoying what I’m paying for,” Olajire stated. “For the price they are charging, no more AC, the only advantage they have is the special lane which beat the traffic during rush hour time.”

The commuter that their cost is higher compared to the danfos, with the exception of evenings when there will be traffic and there aren’t always enough BRT buses, meaning commuters have to wait for a while before getting a bus. This commuter navigates by using danfo in the morning and BRT in the evening.

Before Lagos’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system was implemented, there was the use of 18-seater minibuses and Molues, which were used to carry 44 to 50 passengers each way. Although they are only intended to carry 50 people, mole buses are sometimes used to transport close to 100 people, many of whom are squeezed close together, Those without seats are often squeezed into the aisle or hanged in the doorway. When the moules were gradually taken off the roads and the minibuses became more widely used, the poor conditions remained the same.

This will be the second time in the past two years that the BRT fare has gone up; the previous rise was by 46 percent. According to reports, the spike was caused by the pandemic, as a result of following the rule that buses should only convey 20 passengers per bus.

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