Interstate travels: Kubwa transporters witness low patronage

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WITH the official lifting of three months interstate travels ban by the Federal Government on Monday, transporters in Kubwa, Bwari Area Council of FCT, have witnessed low passenger turnout.

Some of the transporters who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday at the recent government-approved Kukwaba Modern Market and Transit Park, Kubwa, said they were just reopening, hence the low patronage.

The federal government imposed a ban on interstate travels in March to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but lifted it as one of the majors to reopen the economy with guidelines to support it.

Mr Kabiru Hassan, an official with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said the low patronage could be ascribed to the uncertainty in the minds of passengers concerning the transportation processes.

“Normally, we don’t expect to have a lot of passengers interested in travelling today, they will want to wait to know the success of other people’s journey,” Hassan said.

He said they were still putting measures in place to comply with the guidelines by the federal government on travels.

“On a good day without Coronavirus, we load a Sienna vehicle with seven passengers, but now we have to reduce it to five passengers and we share the fare both with the union and the passengers.”

An official with Peace Mass Transit, who wished to remain anonymous, said people were not sure how safe the roads were and the new charges.

He said that it was a gradual process whereby people needed to prepare.

`Passengers might still be scared of insecurity on the way because the roads have been lonely for a while now and they need to know that the federal government is really abiding by the lifting of the ban.

“Now, we have to load our vehicles 50 per cent as instructed by government. The normal 18 seat carrier vehicles where we carry like 16 passengers have now been reduced to nine persons.

“If we were loading Lagos to Abuja like N7,000 before, we have added extra N800 to augment the fare and there is the tendency of reviewing our prices depending on how things turn out,” he said.

He decried that the company had lost billions of Naira during the period of the interstate travels ban, but noted everything was done for the interest of citizens.

The official also said they were adhering to guidelines to ensure and maintain personal hygiene.

Mr Emmanuel Okpe, a driver with ATL Motors, said they were not ready for business yet because they needed to adhere to the guidelines of maintaining social distancing, providing washing hand containers, sanitiser and face masks for staff.

According to Okpe, ATL Motors is a well registered transport company and will not want to violate any of the guidelines pertaining to transportation.

Mr Philip Chukwu, a passenger travelling to Enugu, said the transport company he boarded was still not organised.

Chukwu blamed the disorganisation on the reopening that began today and hoped that subsequently they may put measures in place to abide by the COVID-19 guidelines.

He added that safety measures were not only the responsibility of organisations but also an individual effort.

“Coming to park this morning, I have to wear my face mask, make sure I keep my distance from people and I avoided touching things unnecessarily and also have my pocket hand sanitiser.”

Mr Akinlawon Salau, Managing Partner of Kukwaba park, said they would need the area council administration to intervene in providing the necessary requirements to adhere to the guidelines.

Salau also appealed to the Task Force to monitor compliance to the guidelines on COVID-19 by transporters so as to safeguard the lives of commuters using the park.

NAN

– July 02, 2020 @ 10:05 GMT

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