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Why LAGBUS Drivers Are On Strike

Drivers of Lagos Asset Management Limited (LAGBUS), yesterday, embarked on strike over what they described as the state government’s new transportation reforms.
Many passengers were stranded as a result even as private commercial bus operators capitalised on the development to raise fares.
commuters, who were caught unawares by the strike, returned home as they could not afford the sudden hike in fares.
A civil servant, Mr. Amusa Johnson told newsmen he was at the bus-stop since 6.00a.m where he waited for the red buses before he later found out that they were on strike. “Public transporters, such as the mini buses also known as ‘danfo’ immediately increased their fares because of the number of commuters stranded at the bus stops,’’ Johnson disclosed.
A trader at Idumota market, Mrs Omolara Akinjuyi, described the situation as “unfortunate and pathetic.”
Akinjuyi also confirmed other commercial buses took advantage of the situation to hike fares by about 70 percent which resulted to some people returning to their various homes.
Mr. Alex Nwanko, an apprentice, said he decided to go back home as the situation was unbearable.
Another commuter, Mrs Tokunbo Aladesomo, appealed to the state government to urgently find solution to the matter.
She said this would assist in easing the problems of commuters and also checking transport fares.
When newsmen visited the office of the company, a senior LAGBUS official said the management would soon resolve the issue and added: “The situation is under control.’’
Banners with various inscriptions were displayed at the company’s premises.
Some of the banners read: “All LAGBUS will no longer use the dedicated BRT lane between Ikorodu and CMS because they are not paying the expected maintenance fees for the corridor.
“On-board sales of pax tickets will cease on all LAGBUS red buses, Tickets will be sold prior to passenger boarding. All LAGBUS red buses will not be allowed to drop or pick passengers on the road along Ikorodu Road/Western Avenue.
“LAGBUS will only operate express service between Ikorodu and Oshodi and the first stop will be Anthony.
“LAGBUS will only operate express service between the Ikorodu, Ojubode and Obalende.
“LAGBUS will stop operation on the following routes, Owode-Ijora, Mile 12 to Yaba, Oyingbo –Mile 12 and Mile 12 to inner Marina.
“All LAGBUS red buses will stop operations on the following routes: Agric (Ikorodu)-Maryland Ketu-Ikorodu. “All LAGBUS red buses travelling from Berger to Oshodi will do so via Gbagada/Oworonshoki. All LAGBUS red buses operating from Oshodi to Obalende will only travel via Third Mainland Bridge.”
Giving insight into the new transportation policy, a LAGBUS official, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak, said the state government was carrying out a transportation reform scheme. With the new scheme, LAGBUS drivers will not be allowed to operate on “lucrative routes. According to him, operators will be barred from using dedicated (BRT) routes. “They will, from now, use the expressway. Besides, LAGBUS drivers will not be allowed to carry passengers at Mile 12. Rather, they will be restricted to Ikorodu/Obalende route and other areas. This was the reason our drivers downed tools. Drivers met with state government officials to resolve the issue. Hopefully, by today, drivers will return to work,” he said.
In a related development, LAGBUS Franchisee Forum, operators of high-capacity red buses in Lagos appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to save their investment from ruin following government’s prohibition of their services on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
Chairman of the forum, Mr Role Odukale,made the appeal at a news conference in Lagos. Odukale, who spoke on behalf the 17 operators of LAGBUS franchisee, said the development would not only kill their business but, also, bring hardship to residents.
“For us, it is the people that will suffer. This situation will add to our woes and we will not be able to meet up with our obligations…”
because we borrowed money from banks.
“What this means is that few buses will be available to serve over 20 million residents of the state. It is important to know that about 5, 000 people we engage in our services will lose their jobs. This directive should be reversed.
“The step taken by the government to restrict red buses from plying the BRT corridor will bring monopoly into the system, which can lead to exploitation. Our investment is huge, let the government save our businesses and the people.