Governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved a 20 to 50 percent fare increase for BRT, LAGBUS and other franchise buses, with effect from March 1, 2017. At a news conference on Monday, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, Abiodun Dabiri, said the increase was necessitated by the economic downturn in the country which had affected the transport sector drastically.

He said, “As a result of the economic downturn, public transport has been severely impacted as all related costs have escalated beyond any financial projection.

“Although the government is focused on a strategic reform of the public transport operations to create a world-class public transport that is modern, cost-effective and safe, the government has to consider the request of the operators for an upward review of bus fares due to the current prices for some of these schemes, which have stayed constant for more than six years.

“The current financial crunch has seen average cost of operations increase to about 110 per cent. With the cost of fuelling going up by 71 per cent, oil prices up by 64 per cent, tyre by 90 per cent, continued operations are threatened.

“In order to avert a collapse of the scheme, which currently serves over 500,000 commuters daily, the Lagos State Government has to consider the request of the operators for an upward review of bus fares. Consequently, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has approved a fare increase for the operators effective from Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The average increase approved ranges from 20 per cent to 50 per cent on different routes.”

Dabiri explained that in approving the fare increase, government weighed the justification of the operators for the increase vis-a-vis the effect on the commuters. He noted that the government recognised the financial difficulties currently endured by Lagosians and assured public transport users of government’s commitment to protecting them from an arbitrary increase.

For the past six years, BRT, LAGBUS and other franchise buses, have been the mainstay of transportation among Lagosians, this is largely due to subsidised fares. But with the 20 to 50 per cent increase which has been approved by the state governor, this is a shift away from the focus of the government to provide cost effective transportation for the public because there will be little or no difference in the fare commuters will have to pay for BRT/LAGBUS and commercial bus.

The fare increase differs in various routes. For instance, a ride on BRT from Ikorodu to CMS, which cost 200 naira is now 300 naira, while a trip from Ikorodu to Mile 12, which used to cost 70 naira has moved to 100 naira. Transport from Ikotun to Iyana Ipaja, which cost 50 naira, has moved up to 100 naira while Ikotun to Ikeja has moved up from 100 naira to 200 naira. Igando to Maryland is now 150 naira from the former price of 100 naira, while the fare from Dopemu to Ikeja/Maryland has moved up from 150 naira to 200 naira, among others.

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