By Bose Adelaja
Thousands of commuters were stranded on Wednesday, in Lagos State, as Primero Transport Services Ltd., operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the state, suspended the bus operations from Ikorodu Enroute Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS).
As early as 6 am, Hundreds of commuters were seen at various bus shelters waiting endlessly for the buses just as commercial drivers seized the occasion to increase fares exorbitantly on the route.
At Ikorodu and Mile 12 Terminals, hundreds of commuters were seen lamenting the situation. It was the same stories at Ketu, Ojota and Maryland up to Fadeyi as commuters lamented the situation.
Some commuters who spoke with Vanguard said the bus operators ought to have known how vital their operation is and take various steps to inform members of the public before withdrawing their services.
Mrs How’s Tawakalitu who lives in Ojota, Mr Kunle Ejiro who boards the bus daily from. Ojota to Costain said she might end up spending a minimum of N800 from Ojota to her place of work as against N500. She said, “am less bothered about the fares but the stress and insults by the driver of Yellow buses popularly called “Sango drivers,” she said.
Another commuter Mr Ishola Fadairo expressed dismay over the manner of the suspension of operations by the buses.
According to him, “I patronize BRT regularly and issues like this ought to be posted at designated bus-stops to alert people, after all, we are partners in progress. I got to the BRT terminal in Ikorodu this morning only to see people gathered, waiting for other means of conveyance. Heard that the service has been suspended temporarily,” said the commuters.
Apart from the suspension of services, many commuters complained that the Cowry cards being used to board the buses need to be improved upon due to so many shortcomings.
At Maryland, a commuter Mr Tony Joshua said he had bought five cards and recharged them to the tune of N7,200 but none is functional due to poor administration, “the cards are two types, one is made of paper and the other with plastics and both are being sold at the rate of N200 and N400 respectively while you have to recharge them but our expectations are not being met due to the malfunctioning of the card readers. I think the operators to revert to the old system of issuing tickets to their customers,”
Contacted, Spokesman of Primero Transport Services Ltd, Mr Mutiu Yekeen confirmed the suspension and said a statement was issued late on Tuesday.
He said the development was due to operational challenges being faced by the firm along the corridor.
“The Primero Transport Services Ltd. uses this medium to inform our commuters on the Ikorodu to TBS corridor that we are shutting down operations from March 31, due to operational challenges.
“We hope to resolve it in the next couple of days and resume full operations.
“We call on our esteemed commuters to bear with us during this period. We sincerely crave your indulgence for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
“Our priority is to convey commuters safely to their destinations, provide affordable, fast and convenient services to people of Lagos 24/7 daily,” Mr Yekeen said.