Some users of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Friday in Lagos decried shortage of buses being released for services since the ease of lockdown on May 4.
The commuters told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews at the BRT Bus Stations that inadequate deployment of the buses had increased the time they spent in queues.
NAN reports that it appeared the operator had withdrawn many of the buses from the roads, because of the government new operational guidelines restricting them to carry only 20 passengers instead of 70 per buses.
Commenting, Mr Tope Musowo, a media practitioner, told NAN that passengers were subjected to long waiting in a queue at the station, as most of the BRT high-capacity buses seemed to have disappeared.
“These days, passengers are kept at Bus Stops for hours. For instance, today I have been in this queue for about two hours and I am still waiting for a bus. It is that bad,” he complained.
Musowo, who relies on BRT to transit from Ikorodu to the Mainland, said that the bus service along the corridor needed more buses to provide a smart mode of transportation.
The commuter noted that the vision of the government would be defeated if enough buses were not deployed across the routes.
He said that the BRT management might need a bailout fund during this trying time to render efficient services.
According to him, since the buses can only carry 20 passengers, the firm may need such bailout as the one announced by the British Government for the London Transport System for the sake of the masses.
Another regular user, Mrs Olubunmi Olaniyan, said BRT was the hope of many commuters, especially those in Ikorodu to connect other parts of the state.
Olaniyan said the scarcity of buses on Friday was worrisome.
“I am already late for the office appointment, I think the state government should look into this.
“Productive hours are being wasted in a queue,” she said.
Also, a CMS-bound commuter, Mr Solomon Erhomosele, said that transportation has not returned to normal since ease of the lockdown, calling for government’s urgent intervention.
“If the firm needs government’s support, I think the government should do that for BRT to function well for the benefit of the masses,” he said.
When contacted, the BRT Managing Director, Mr Fola Tinubu, said: “the way we are operating now is as if we are just running a social service to the people.
“Twenty passengers on the bus at the same old fares is not sustainable. We are pilling up losses that we need to address urgently.
“Creditors are calling us; we need to address that urgently also. The way it is right now is not sustainable.
“That was why we have limited buses on the road today. Every bus that is going up and down now is incurring so many losses.”
NAN reports that the company only released few of its buses on the road since May 4 when the COVID-19 lockdown was eased.
The state government had mandated the 70-capacity buses to carry only 21 passengers with the driver.