The proverb; ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ has continued to reflect in the everyday lifestyles of many Nigerians.
Various categories of commercial drivers in Lagos are not left out in this hurdle, as they are also devising various means to meet up with the rising costs of goods and services in the country.
Among these categories of drivers are the Volkswagen LT commercial bus drivers.
Economy&Lifestyle discovered that most of the model’s drivers, in Lagos, have resorted to using Premium Motor Spirit, PMS (or petrol), for their transportation business, instead of the usual diesel fuel. They have cited the rising cost of diesel, which has made it impossible for them to meet up with their daily expenses, as a reason for such conversion.
According to Samson Akinyemi, a commercial bus driver in Lagos: “All LT Volkswagen commercial buses now use petrol, instead of diesel. This is because of the cost of diesel, which has risen from N260 per litre in 2021, to N850 per litre this year.
“Agberos, traffic jams experience, which decreases the number of trips made, and the inability to deliver the agreed amount of money to the owner of the buses, have made them decide to change the necessary parts that would enable their buses to run on petrol.
“Though the price for conversion differs, depending on your mechanic, the benefit of the conversion is all that matters.”
Mr Afeez Odunsanya, an LT driver in Lagos, said it was difficult raising the money for the conversion of his bus from diesel usage to petrol, but he is glad he did it and he is now able to take care of most of his needs and that of his family.
“Almost every LT bus driver has converted their buses to using petrol from diesel. It is not an easy task though, but you will be able to cut down operational costs and also able to pay bills after the conversion.
“The increasing cost of diesel has affected our business. Even the passengers are not left out as fares have increased greatly. We also have family members to cater for.”
However, some passengers have lamented the increasing fare despite the conversions.
Mrs Linda Umolu, a trader, said: “Despite the conversions, some of these LT drivers blame the rising transport fare on diesel prices. Sometimes when they see large crowds at the bus stop, they increase the fare. “
Mr. Ikechukwu Ugochukwu, a spare parts dealer, said: “The conversion has not reduced the fare which has continued to rise.
“People who leave their places of work end up getting home late because they cannot afford the ridiculous fare. They wait for longer periods.
“The okada ban is also another factor that has made these commercial drivers milk passengers. They know that most people do not have a choice but to board their buses.”
According to Mr Kehinde Olorunfemi, a bus mechanic, the principal things to change during the conversion of a diesel bus to that petrol is the engine, the brain bus, the wire harness and the removal and washing of the fuel tank.
He added: “To convert a diesel engine to a petrol engine, you need to change the very foundation of the engine.
“The diesel bus uses injectors to pump diesel into the fuel pipe when you start the bus, so there is the need to change it to a carburettor because you will be damaging the diesel engine when you put in petrol instead of diesel. The fuel pipe/hose will also be changed. The top cylinder of the engine is worked on because diesel has higher pressure than petrol.
The crown shaft is also changed.
“Many of these LT commercial bus drivers have been patronizing me and I charge them at least N120, 000 to carry out the conversion because most of them opt for second-hand spare parts.”