Christmas: Passengers lament high cost of air ticket, road transport as rail fails to operate 


By Seun Ibiyemi

Nigerians has lamented over the hike in transportation fare which includes Air ticket, bus fare across the country as rail fails to operate during the Christmas festival period.

The Christmas and New Year holidays are special to many Nigerians because it is perhaps the only time of the year to spend time with family and friends, some of whom may not live in the same location.

To do this, many people undertake long journeys. It’s almost like a yearly travel tradition. And one thing that characterises it each year is the astronomical increase in transportation fares.

It is usually a beehive of activities in the days leading up to Christmas. And with the increased demand and a combination of other factors such as lingering fuel scarcity and higher fuel costs, comes the hike in interstate transportation costs.

The Lagos Ibadan Train Service offers an alternative to travellers in the Southwest axis who may want to avoid the traffic on the road, especially those undertaking trips between Lagos – Abeokuta and Ibadan.

However, even that too has become expensive. The recent hike in train transportation fares was necessitated by the cost of diesel which is what powers the engines for the Trains.

A passenger, Mr Kayode Enitan, who expressed displeasure on the increase of ticket price, observed that upsurge in passengers travelling could be as a result of Christmas among other reasons.

“I have determined to celebrate this Christmas with my family. For the past four years, they celebrated in Lagos, while I celebrated both Christmas and New Year in Abuja because of work.

“About three days ago, I booked with Arik Air for a return ticket from Abuja to Lagos for N170, 000. That is N85 for one way. God will save us in this country, “ he said.

Mrs Evelyn Chukudi, a passenger, who frowned at skyrocketing of airfare, said that passengers had not felt any impact on addressing scarcity of aviation fuel.

According to her, the local airline operators have been referring to JETA1 as the major reason for the increase in air fares.

“ Truly, they just keep increasing the ticket prices. I am going to Port-Harcourt with my husband. The fare was about N85, 000 each. We actually booked few days ago with Air Peace.

“ This is too much. It is all about your choice of airline. The local airlines` fares are seemly similar, “ she said.

Another passenger, Alhaji Muhammed Kabiru, was also disheartened over the increase of ticket price.

According to Kabiru, he chose to travel by air to Kano due to comfort, safety and timeliness.

“ Big thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari, who paid us our salary on time.

“The airfare now is too high. I paid N90, 000 one way from Abuja to Kano; I booked with MAX Air yesterday. I just need to travel to catch fun and enjoy my leave in Kano, “ he said.

Also, prices of bus fares across the country have increased by 100 per cent. Findings revealed that prices of fares out of Lagos shored up due to the citizens travelling to spend the Yuletide holidays in their hometowns.

A bus fare from Jibowu in GIG to Abuja is N20,500, while a bus fare to Enugu is N16,400 via Okeyson Motors. Whereas a bus fare from Lagos to Abuja by GIG two months ago was N11,000 for regular, while first class was 13,000. Bus fare to Anambra was N8,500 for regular, while first class was N9,500.

Fares to Delta was N7,900 for regular, N9,000 for first class; fares to Edo was N7,000 for regular and N9,000 for first class while Akwa Ibom was N9,300, and N13,000 for regular and first class respectively.

At the time of filing this report, the transport fare from Lagos to Warri, Sapele, Bayelsa, Ugheli was N12,000 instead of the previous N8,000 while Lagos to Port Harcourt went for N15,000, in contrast to the N10,000 charged two months ago.

A driver, Chibuzor Okon, said in the past two months, Lagos to Abuja had been N10,200 but noted that by the same time last year, it was N8,200. He added that the prices were likely to go up from today till January.

A driver, Kunle Fijabi, who plies Lagos to Ondo route, said the fare to areas like Ipetu, Akungba, Ikare, Owo is now N6,200, adding, “Before now, we charged N5,200 and this was when we reduced the number of passengers to 10 persons, but now it is 14 passengers.”

Besides, the cost of travelling inter-city has risen by 18.02 per cent year-on-year in November 2021 to an average of N2,644, according to the transportation report by the NBS.

This increase is coming at a time when inter-state travelling is in high demand as Nigerians will be travelling from one city to another to visit families and friends. According to the report, the highest increase was recorded in the south-south region of the country.

According to the report, the average cost of bus journey intercity in the South-south region of Nigeria increased by 22.94 per cent year-on-year compared to the corresponding period of 2020. Specifically, the average cost increased from N1,769 recorded in November 2020 to N2,175 in the period under review.

Meanwhile, intercity bus fare is highest in the North central region of the country at N3,075, followed by the Southwest region at N2,881.