Some travelers in Lagos state have asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reverse the approved fare increase for Lagos Bus Service Ltd (LBSL) considering the economic difficulties facing the masses.
Remember that LBSL, the operator of the Marcopolo high-capacity buses in Lagos, had announced that the state government had approved an average 46% increase in fares as of August 1.
Approximately 24 hours for the implementation of the new tariffs, some state residents urged the governor to consider the negative impact of COVID-19 on the incomes, wages and salaries of the masses.
According to them, although the increase may be justifiable taking into account economic realities, the state government can close the gap so as not to aggravate the sufferings of people who depend heavily on LBSL.
Godfrey Gabriel, a regular bus user from the Ikeja Terminal to Obalende, told NAN that the government must consider the millions of workers whose jobs, wages, and salaries were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gabriel said that no matter how justifiable the reason for the upward revision of rates was, the steps were not good at the time considering the sufferings of the people.
He said: “As a regular user, I want to say that the increase is justifiable to be fair, the company has tried for the lakes, but I think it is coming at the wrong time.
“We are in a very difficult situation in Lagos and Nigeria in general at a time when life is very difficult for most people, especially for the struggling masses.
“Employers are cutting wages due to the COVID-19 effect, travelers who now earn little to keep body and soul together are spending more money. Money does not come, so economically the state is down, individuals are down.
“The increase in tariffs will now exacerbate the suffering of the masses. Where does the government want the poor, whose handbags force them to stand in line for hours just to board the cheap buses and get the money?
Miss Janet Osinimu, a private school teacher, urged the government to rescind its decision in the name of God and the suffering masses.
Osinimu, a mathematics teacher, said: “Sanwo-Olu should be sorry for us. There are difficulties on earth. If the rich complain, the governor must know what the poor are going through.
“There is a high level of unemployment, most of us are managing it. As a private school teacher, I received the full salary last February.
“The March salary was half paid. Many have also cut their wages. We need assistance at this time, not a step that multiplies the difficulties, “he said.
Miss Abimbola Daniel, a mistress of the house in a private school, described the upward revision of the fees as an increase in the difficulties of the people.
“It will be good for the government to tell the LBSL to be patient during this period of the global pandemic. We will support any increase then.
“The government can step in and go in, close the gap for this period to end instead of compounding the difficulties of people whose interest it has sworn to protect.
“It is a public service initiative, we hope that the government will rescue the masses from this difficulty.
“If the company runs at a loss, let the government give a subsidy to the company for the good of the people to cushion the effect and the company does not go down,” said Daniel.
Mr. Ayo Alade, an ICT expert, said that the service should be in the public interest and should be there to serve people, therefore there was no need for an increase, especially at this time when people were under large financial burdens.