Transport fares in Enugu State capital have increased by between 80 per cent and 100 per cent following government directives on a limited number of passengers to carry in commercial vehicles.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government directed that taxis should not carry more than three passengers, commercial buses not more than two passengers in a row and tricycles, two passengers as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. NAN reports that a short distance fare that used to be N50 a drop has increased to N100 while long distances increased from N100 to N200 a drop.
NAN correspondent who monitored the situation reports that some commuters especially those on essential services have decried the situation adding that it was taking a toll on them. A nurse, who preferred anonymity, said she paid N200 from Abakpa Nike to Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Park Lane as against N100 she paid before the government directives over coronavirus. She said it would be difficult to meet up as she would use half of her salary on transportation alone. A sales attendant, Mrs. Grace Igwe lamented that she paid N200 to work as against N100. According to her, I paid N100 from Transekulu to IMT and another N100 to my office at Okpara Avenue as against N100 that I used to pay. Igwe, a widow, said that the situation had subjected her to untold hardship as she could not quit her job which was her only source of income. Mr. Monday Agu, who works in a private security outfit, said he also paid N200 a drop from Abakpa Nike to the Old Park as against N100 he paid before the government directives. A domestic staff, Mr. Michael Ugwumgbo said he paid N150 from Agbani Rd to Independence Layout as against N100 paid before the lockdown on COVID-19. He called on government at all levels to do something to reduce the suffering of the poor masses so that they would not die of hunger. A mini commercial bus driver, Mr. Nnaedozie Okeke explained that the increase was a result of government restriction on a number of passengers to carry to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Okeke said that the development was difficult to obey without increasing the fare as there were few passengers on the road. He said that minibusses were allowed to carry only five persons as against 10 passengers, other buses carried seven as against 18 passengers, while tricycle would carry only two as against five passengers. He said that they were not happy about the increment but they had no option other than that because it was the same quantity of fuel that they used to carry a full load of passengers.