The Edo State Government inaugurated its free transport scheme on Monday to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration, Gov. Godwin Obaseki urged residents to use the Edo City Transport Ltd. (ECTS) free buses regularly as it was designed to help them get over the hardship caused by the fuel subsidy removal.
Obaseki was represented by the State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, on Monday in Benin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Obaseki recently approved free transport service for passengers on all routes operated by the state-owned ECTS.
The service, which spans an initial two-month period, covers commuting within the Benin metropolis and other major towns in the three senatorial districts. The buses will run between 6.30 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
According to Nehikhare, “The State Government takes the welfare of the residents seriously and this is just one of the many ways we intend to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal for Edo people.
“The service started this morning and people should seize this opportunity provided by the government and enjoy it.”
On her part, the Managing Director, of Edo State Transport Authority, Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, said though ECTC has been offering free bus rides to primary and secondary school pupils, Obaseki has now extended it to accommodate everybody in order to alleviate the hardship caused by fuel subsidy removal.
“Transportation has always consumed 50 percent of the budgets of parents. So, the gesture is to help so that they can channel this money to some other needs such as feeding and housing.
“It also comes in handy, particularly this time when our children are resuming and we know the burden on parents during the first term.
“So, this is His Excellency’s intervention that, at this time, parents can have a refund of their transport cost to enable them to take on other responsibilities.
“We are aware that the ECTS has always given free rides to schoolchildren, but it’s no longer for schoolchildren alone but for all Edo people,” she said.
A beneficiary of the free transport scheme, Mrs Osarubo Obayuwana, who lives in Oko Central, said that she used to spend an average of N800 daily on transportation.
She said: “I am happy and elated seeing the new arrangements by the Edo State Government, I want to beg the government to sustain the service because people are really suffering.”
The transport service is expected to cover intra-city and intercity routes, including Auchi-Igalla-Ibillo-Ososo; Uzebba-Ikhin-Otuo; Abudu-Ubiaja, Abudu-Urhonigbe; and Ewohirin to Ewatto.
The intra-city routes are Ramat–Kings’ Square; New Benin–King’s Square; King’s Square – Ekenwan Road; King’s Square–Airport Road; King’s Square–Sapele Road; and King’s Square – Adesuwa.
Others are King’s Square–Ogida; New Benin–Upper Mission; King’s Square–Ugbowo; King’s square–Agbor Road; King’s square–Upper Sokponba; New Benin–Ugbowo and New Benin–Aduwawa.
Source: The Guardian