As part of efforts to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on residents of Oyo State, the state’s Mass Transit Scheme commutes an average of 17,000 residents at half price on intra-city and inter-city routes, the Executive Chairman and Sole Administrator of the Pacesetter Transport Service, Dr. Ibrahim Oladeji Salami (Dikko), has said.
Salami stated this in an interview, noting that the effort is part of the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) initiative introduced by the governor, ‘Seyi Makinde.
According to him, the state government introduced the SAfER Transport initiative, which allows residents to pay as low as N100 to N200 on routes within Ibadan and other major cities of the state, and at most N1,500 for inter-city transportation from Ibadan, the state capital, to other parts of the state such as Oyo, Ogbomoso, Eruwa, Iseyin and Saki, respectively.
He noted, however, that while residents pay half price for commuting, as part of government’s efforts to support families, households and individuals across the state to mitigate the effect of the economic hardship on them, the state augments the cost of fuelling and maintenance of the 55 buses in the fleet of the transport service.
He said: “We have 55 buses in the Pacesetter Transport Services’ fleet and all our buses have been deployed for the SAfER intervention. That is the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER), an initiative put in place by the state governor to cushion the effect of the economic hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
“You would recall that there are many segments in the SAfER initiative, including food support, support for agriculture, entrepreneurship and health as well as transportation.
“Under the SAfER Transport, we commute 13,000 people daily on routes inside Ibadan, the state capital, alone. Outside Ibadan, we commute about 3,276 people daily, making it about 17,000 people every day.
“What the governor asked us to do was to reduce the prices of our mass transit to 50 per cent across the state and we did that.
That is why even on buses that are going to Saki, Iseyin, Ogbomoso, Eruwa and Oyo from Ibadan, our people are boarding them and enjoying the 50 per cent slashed rate. We have also added the Oyo-Saki route. The bus will take off at Oyo, stopover in Iseyin and then move to Saki.
“For instance, in Ibadan, the highest rate to move from one spot to another is N200 no matter how far you are going. The only place we charge N500 is when you are boarding from the Train Station in Moniya. But moving intra-city, the highest is N150 to N200 and we are using 34 buses in Ibadan currently.
“Within Saki, Iseyin, Ogbomoso, Oyo, and Ibarapa, the highest is N100 because they are not as wide as Ibadan. We are always considering our people. We fuel each bus with 70 litres of diesel, which we buy at the rate of N1,200 per litre, which means that we spend above N70,000 but we only make around N40,000 daily on each bus.
“I would like to thank the governor who has been subsidising everything for us. Right from the time we started the SAfER programme, he has been providing the funds to subsidise everything and that is why we are still in operation now in terms of fuelling and maintenance of the buses.”