Commuters in Oshodi -Isolo who ply Ikorodu and Lagos Island routes been operated by Primero Transport Services have been urged to support the recent increase in fares.
Chief Executive Officer, Primero Mr. Fola Tinubu said the increase was in response to the increasing cost of diesel, spare parts and other inputs.
He spoke as a guest at the March edition of the Monthly Community Media Forum organized by the Office of Special Adviser, Community & Communications at the Ministry of Local Government & Community Affairs, Alausa, Ikeja.
He said the alternative would have been to reduce facilities enjoyed on the 499 Primero buses such as the air conditioners and the number of times the vehicles are cleaned.
“We wash and clean our buses twice a day. We believe one of the reasons commuters take our buses is that they don’t expect their clothes to gather dust or dirt while on them. we cannot afford to lower standards” he said.
He also explained that diesel which sold at N125 a year ago now sells at N260 adding that the company buys over 250,000 liters a day to fuel the fleet.
Stating that the cost of other inputs have risen, Tinubu said there was no other practical options that would not lead to bad services to costumers.
” if we don’t maintain the vehicles, they would go bad. If we decide to start using the parts of one vehicle to replace the one that got bad in another, the fleet would gradually be depleted and there would be fewer buses to board.” he explained.
Reacting to alleged poor attitude of ticketing staff, Disu said the company would soon introduce a digital sales strategy that would enable commuters load the fares and pay electronically as they enter the buses.
Noting that the company has reduced average boarding time from 30 minutes last year to 15 minutes, he said the new measures will further cut the time spent.
Also reacting to allegations that there were fewer buses between 12 noon and 1 pm on the routes, Tinubu confirmed that the company had noticed that drivers who resume work at 6am and were expected to close at 1pm tended to slow down.
He said a new set of drivers, called the early riders now resume at 4.30am and close early so that the normal shift time does not undermine the services at peak hours.
Mr. Tinubu also noted that the company’s services are well regulated by the government and that it took a lot of persuasion before government approved the increase in fares.
“People tend to forget that the Lagos State government has not authorized any increase in fares in the last seven years despite the steep rise in commodities and services” he noted.
He assured commuters that they would continue to enjoy airconditioned and clean buses urging them to patronize the fleet so that more buses can be introduced to convey more persons.
Admitting that there has been a reduction in patronage following the increase, he hoped that the turnout would pick up as commuters realise that the yellow buses even charge higher.
” I was at a bus stop this morning. People entered a yellow bus charging N200 from Ikorodu to Ojota. We charge N100 for that distance.”