Hundred of commhnters heading to their various places of work on Lagos Island using the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), were on Thursday stranded over scarcity of buses caused by shortage of fuel to run them.
The scarcity which cut across the routes operated by the BRT buses was mostly pronounced on the Abule-Egba – Obalende route.
Recall that the Lagos State government had in August 2020 launched the 13.68km Oshodi-Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor supervised by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). The initiative has also brought a relief to intra-state movement on that axis.
But, lately, commuters have been experiencing challenges commuting due debt owed fuel suppliers allegedly by Primero, one of the franchise holders running the buses.
Due to the debt, the fuel suppliers have allegedly cut supply to Primero-run buses, thereby causing long commuter queues on the corridor, which is mostly run by the company.
Commuters were, however, seen complaining as they stay longer than expected before they could get bus to their various destinations.
One of the passengers, Funmi Adeeko, bemoaned the shortage of buses on the corridor for some days now.
According to her, it’s too early for the BRT initiative to experience such hitches, urging the Lagos State government to put up thorough regulation.
She said, “It’s unfortunate that a new laudable initiative is already experiencing hitches, how long will this persist? Only God knows.”
Another passenger, Kola Onafowode, said he was on the queue for over one hour waiting for BRT bus to convey him to his office on the Lagos Island.
Onafowode, who works in one of the telecommunication companies, lamented about the shortage of buses saying it will erode the confidence commuters have in the initiative.
“I am supposed to be in the office for a 9am meeting but I am still on the queue by 8:10am, how do I get to the office before 9am? This initiative should be streamlined and non-performing service providers should be booted out,” he said.
However, when LEADERSHIP contacted the spokesperson of LAMATA, Kolawole Ojelabi, he actually confirmed that one of the service providers, Primero was owing fuel suppliers.
According to him, the Authority was working towards providing buses to fill the gap created by Primero.
He stated further that the buses are not run or owned by LAMATA but by franchise owners who are regulated by LAMATA.
He called for understanding by commuters, adding that the issue will soon be resolved and the service restored.