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Stranded passengers in Abia sell belongings to raise fares

BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—THE effects of the removal of subsidy on petrol has continued to bite harder in Abia State as some people who returned for the Christmas and New Year celebrations and are now stranded in their villages have resorted to selling their belongings to raise transport fare back to their various stations.

Many people who had the celebration in their rural communities were surprised at the high cost of transportation when they came to Umuahia to board vehicles back to their places of abode.

At least three men were seen at one of the luxurious bus parks in Umuahia trying to trade off their Black Berry phones at give away prices to enable them raise money to transport themselves back.

“It is better I sell the phone and get back to resume my work than stay here and lose my job.

“When things settle down, I can buy another Black Berry. I will manage my small phones. This is life,” one of the passengers returning to Abuja said.

Vanguard learnt that many people who are still stranded on account of the hike in transport fares have sold some of their items, ranging from wrist watches to telephones and even clothes to enable them return to their bases.

Meanwhile, Governor Theodore Orji was said to have liaised with a transport company to ferry some Abians stranded back to their places.

Those to benefit are people residing in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and other destinations..

….As fares increase in Enugu
By TONY EDIKE
ENUGU— Commuters in Enugu State have continued to experience severe hardship on account of the removal of fuel subsidy as transport fares have skyrocketed.

There has been astronomical increase in intra and inter state transport fares making it impossible for those who tralleved for the Yuletide to get back to their places of residence.

Even civil servants who resumed work after the New Year holiday on Tuesday were finding it difficult to get to their offices owing to about 200 percent increase in transport fares.

There has, however, not been any noticeable increase in cost of foodstuffs in Enugu since the withdrawal of fuel subsidy.

Traders attributed the situation to the absence of buyers and low patronage.

Ironically,  the worrisome hike in transport fares which has forced many who travelled to remain in their villages, has led to a brisk business by transporters.

Transport fare from Enugu to Nsukka which was N250 jumped to N900; a journey by luxury bus to Lagos jumped to N7, 000 from N3,000.

In the intra city fares, a drop by bus which usually attracts N30 is now N100. Taxi drops are as high as N1,000 and N3,000 while Okada charges cut-throat fares.

Enugu to Onitsha by bus which normally costs N350 now costs between N1,200 and N1,500.

In the same vein, mass transit buses from Enugu to Abuja which costs N2,800 before the subsidy removal, now costs N7,000 just as bus fare to Port Harcourt which was N800 now costs between N2,500 and N3,000.

But a renowned transporter,  Chief Sam Maduka Onyishi condemned the fare increase by long distance luxury bus operators.

Onyishi who is the Managing Director of Peace Mass Transit said it was inhuman for them to increase their fares as the subsidy withdrawal did not affect gas which the luxury buses and other heavy duty vehicles use.

Onyishi who has over 2,000 Hiace combi buses on his fleet said he made only 30 percent increase, although the subsidy withdrawal was 120 percent.


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