Primero Transport services, a major operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos, has announced that it would increase transport fares on all its routes by February, as the cost of running operations are skyrocketing.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, Managing Director of the company, Fola Tinubu, said they decided on the increase due to the situation in the country as their cost of operation have gone through the roof.
“At this time last year, we bought 1.2 million litres of diesel monthly at N120 per litre, we are now buying at N260; tyres that cost N70,000 each now go for N140,000.
“All the parts used for the buses are imported so they’ve all doubled or tripled in price; and we have no choice but to continue to buy them.
Mr Tinubu also explained that the buses were bought from China and this leaves them with a huge debt portfolio due to the foreign dollar component.
“So, our debt has increased and our cost of operation has gone through the roof, and we have managed to keep the pricing same for now,” he continued.
“In fact, right now, we are subsidising every person we carry, and if you are running a business, you can only do that for so long.’’
Tinubu pointed out that airlines have recorded fare increments of between 200 to 300 percent but his company’s increment wouldn’t be that much since they are still aware of their social responsibility to the people.
“It is going to be something manageable for people. I will try not to put a figure to that now because the governor still has to approve it, and I don’t want to pre-empt him,” he said.
The increase which would take effect between February and March, is coming at a time when average Nigerians are going through untold hardship due to rising cost of goods and services and no commensurate rise in income. A lot of Lagosians have depended on the cheaper fares of BRT operators and this development wouldn’t go down well with most of them.