T-fare hike: More goods, food items’re travelling than people on yuletide

During Christmas period, there is always excitement and many people love to travel from one place to another. It is almost generally regarded as vacation or holiday period.

At this period too, many people show off their achievements and exchange gift items. However, apparently for these factors, both transporters and business people, exploit the opportunity to hike fares and prices.

Usually, because there’s always huge cash flow within the society, people never bothered how much they buy items or what fares they pay to get to their holiday destinations.

But, the present economic condition of the country has appeared a game changer. Not only do people experience little or no cash flows, even the banks appear stingy to release cash deposited with them.

While people are given limits to how much they can withdraw from the money they have in the bank, the networks are never stable to support online financial transactions. And, so, the banking public is in a dilemma.

The resultant effect of this condition is that the large crowd usually witnessed mostly at the inter-state bus terminals in Lagos metropolis, for instance, scampering to buy tickets for travelling, is waning. Instead the haulage departments of these transport companies are brimming with people who come to package items for waybill to their loved ones.

Those who spoke to Economy&Lifestyle when we went round some parts of Lagos, confessed that it was profitable for them to send food items or other wares through waybill to their loved ones than spending fortunes to transport their families to such destinations, when they are not sure how to survive in the coming year.

Mrs MaryAnn Edebor, who confessed that she has never missed to travel to her home state every December period, said: “I travel every December to celebrate Christmas and New year with my mother and siblings since I relocated to Lagos. But this year, I had to cancel the trip because of high cost of transportation and food stuff. Already transport to Onitsha is as high as N29,000 now. So it means before Christmas, it may get to N30,000 or even more. Now, how can I foot such bill with my family of four” ? She queried

She however said that in contrast, the waybill for two bags of rice and 25 litres of groundnut oil she wished to send home, will cost her only N12000, which makes more economic sense..

For Mr. Chima Nwuzor, who also confessed to be a regular Christmas traveler, “I have an international event in Ghana that is why I am here. The cost of traveling to Ghana by road is N65,000 and that serves me better than flying where triple of this amount will not be enough. In an economy like the one we are witnessing now, we have to improvise, we have to cut out unnecessary costs. I have never travelled by road to Ghana before, but today, the economy has forced me to” he added.

A manager of a transport company in Lagos, who spoke to Economy&Lifestyle on anonymity said he was expecting such situation this season.

“The situation is very critical. As you can see, it is only goods people are sending home now. There are no passengers because waybill of items is cheaper than transporting humans.

“This time last year, transport fare to some parts in the east was N15,000. But this year it is between N29,000 and N35,000. By next week the price would rise to N38,000 or N40,000.

“Imagine what a family of five will spend traveling such distance. Since there are few passengers we add them to the items for waybill that is how we balance the equation to make ends meet.

“Many transport companies have reduced the number of busses they have in the business by selling them off because most of the buses are not being used which can make them useless in the long run.”

Mr. Prince Chukwuma a worker in a transport company in Lagos confirmed the above claim noting that the influx of passengers when compared to last year reduced.

“Last year, this place was crowded with passengers who were travelling to their villages to celebrate Christmas. Some parks were short of buses to convey passengers. They had to locate their branches all over the state before they could get buses.

“This year is very terrible for transporters. As you can see there are only goods waiting to be way billed instead of people travelling.”

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