COMMERCIAL transporters in the State of Osun have refused to reduce transportation fare, weeks after an end to the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularity known as petrol, which engulfed the nation some months ago.
It would be recalled that there was fuel scarcity across the country between February and March this year, due to the importation of adulterated fuel.
The fuel scarcity led to increment in pump price as some private filling stations in the state were selling as high as N300 per liter.
The scarcity and subsequent increase in PMS pump price also led to increase in transportation fare.
However, weeks after normalcy has returned with disappearance of queues at filling stations and normal pump price, some commercial transporters are yet to reduce the transport fare back to the prices pre-fuel scarcity.
At Iwo garage in Oke-Fia, Osogbo, the medium gathered that transport fare to Iwo remained N700 as against the N600 it was before the fuel scarcity.
A driver who identified himself only as Abass said reducing the fare back to the former price will be the decision of the management of the branch.
According to Abass, the increment in transport fare also led to increase in some charges at the motor park, adding that it may be difficult to revert to the normal price.
He said: “It is true that we increased transportation fare by N100 during the fuel scarcity, but to return to the former price may be difficult because it will have to come from the management of the branch and I don’t know if they will do that because they are charging us more money now”.
The medium visited Ibokun, Imesi, Esa-Oke garage in Oja- Oba and it was the same story.
Osogbo to Ibokun remained N350 as against N300 before the fuel scarcity while Imesi Ile was N700 in contrast to the N600 pre-scarcity.
One of the executives of the motor park who pleaded anonymity while speaking with OSUN DEFENDER said he was part of the committee who encouraged the increment during the fuel scarcity.
He however declined to respond when asked why they have not returned to former price after normalcy has returned to the filling stations.
Also, at Aregbe garage, Osogbo, N1000 is being charged as transport fare from passengers going to Ibadan as against N800, charged before the fuel scarcity.
Passengers have been lamenting the refusal of the commercial transport drivers to reduce the transportation fare weeks after the availability of fuel.
They complained that the commercial drivers are not being fair by failing to reduce the transport fares in spite of buying fuel at normal price without queue at filling stations.
The passengers called on the state government and leaders of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) to see to the reduction in transport fair.
A passenger, Doyin Olabamiji, said commercial transporters are fond of increasing transportation fare at any giving opportunity, saying they don’t care about the suffering of the masses.
She said, “I go to Ibokun at least four times in a week and this is what we experience always from these drivers. Osogbo to Obokun is not up to 30 minutes, yet they increase the fare.
“At first, it was N100 before they increased it to N200 and after that N300. Now, it is N350 and they are doing this because nobody can challenge them. What if they wake up tomorrow and jack up the fare again?”.
Another passenger, Olawale Abayomi, urged Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaiye, to see to the reduction in the transport fare
He said: Increment always follows fuel scarcity and it is only in this country I know that once the price of something is increased, the tendency of it being reduced back is low. The commercial transporters are not to be blamed. I would lay the blame at the door step of the government who doesn’t control the excesses of these unions.
“I think it is high time the state government through the Ministry of Works and Transport shows it has the collective interest of the masses at heart and call this people to order. I will also appeal to the leaders of both the NURTW and RTEAN to look into this and reverse the increment”.