In the last one week, the notification of fare increments had been spreading like wild fire in the harmattan stating that the increase takes effect on the 11th of July 2016.
At a surface look at this new price regime, it looks rational, and one will see the justification of the service providers given the not too long ago increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS). It is easy on this plain to justify this increase; after all, one will not expect the service providers to run at a loss.
However, a second and critical look at the increase will open the mind to the grumblings of the service payers of whom majority are students.
It is an established fact that this development of an increase price regime in transport fare on campus is not a welcome one to students, however, the perception of students to the happenings on campus in recent times have kept them grumbling in displeasure to the increment.
The Press Club, UNILAG sampled opinions, made enquires, and brought home the following points to reveal the ills in the justifications of the service providers;
- Since the justification is due to the increase in the price of PMS, it will be right to call the attention of the service providers and other interested persons to the fact that despite the increase of PMS, transport operators outside campus have been able to manage and not resolve to increase transport fares.
A typical and close example is this: before the increase in the price of PMS, commercial bus from UNILAG Gate to Yaba is fifty naira (N50) and has remained fifty naira (N50) even after the increase of the price of petrol. This also goes for that of UNILAG Gate to Bariga and vice versa, the price has always been fifty naira (N50) before the fuel hike and it has remained fifty naira (N50) even after the increase in pump price of PMS.
The implication of this is that if the transport operators outside campus can manage not to add more burden to their service users and payers, then there is nothing stopping those operating on campus to do much more. If those outside can still operate without increasing transport fares then it translate to the fact that those operating on campus can also operate without increasing fares and still make profit.
- The buses that ply Yaba and Bariga routes to the campus are provided by a private NGO, this further reveals that as an NGO, profit making should not be the priority rather the provision of service. It is therefore tantamount to say that the operators of the buses as an NGO should bear at this time rather than burden the students.
According to the Federal Government, the increase is but for a little time, though one cannot really rely on this given the economic situation of the country, however, the proclaimed reduction looks realistic given the reduction being experienced already. Some marketers have begun selling at N143, N142, N140 and even N138 per litre. This only shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- While we are aware that it will be argued that the policy was not just adopted but wide consultations were made, we will like to maintain that consultations and deliberations on issues that affects student directly is not thorough and absolute if students are not consulted or part of the decision making through the student’s leaders.
We are aware that there was a meeting by the Student Affairs Division with the Council of Faculty President and Resident Council, but the meeting has been described by the leaders as a meeting of instruction rather than that of consultation and deliberation.
Consequently, we like to state that the increase of transport fare is not a welcome idea to the student populace and the justification given to it is not acceptable.
We therefore appeal to the Transportation Committee to rescind on its decision as this will restore the student’s trust that their welfare is paramount to the management.
The Press Club, UNILAG Editorial 03021516
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