Tough time is obviously looming for interstate travelers in Nigeria as they are expected to pay more from August 25 following the decision of All Private Transport Company Owners (APTCON) to increase fares by 25 percent over rising costs of operation.According to an internal memo of the association sighted by newsmen on Tuesday titled: Notification of price increase effective 25th August, the increase is to prevent a situation where the operators run at a loss.
The memo reads: ‘’This is to formally advise all private interstate passenger transport company owners of Nigeria to increase bus fares across all interstate routes by 25% effective 25th August, 2022.
‘’Sequel to the prevalent harsh economic situation as well as the recently announced increase in petrol pump price across the country, the board of APTCON, in collaboration with its member companies, have deliberated and have unanimously agreed that a marginal increase in interstate transportation fares is inevitable.’’
“Nigeria is facing a downturn that has greatly affected all sectors of the economy especially transportation. In response to the high cost of operations, while many trade associations have increased charges as a means of survival, some others, like the elitist airlines, have received post pandemic intervention funds from the government.
‘’Unfortunately, our industry, who moves 96% of Nigerians, is not exempt from the crisis as our operating costs have risen significantly without any form of governmental support or incentive.’’
Listing challenges facing the sub-sector, the explained fuel price has risen from N165 to N179, percentage increase of 7%, cost of diesel has risen from an average of N250 a year ago to over N800 today (percentage increase of 220% while the inflation rate hits a 65-month high of 18.6% in June 2022 significantly increasing cost of operations by at least 50%.
It also pointed out scarcity of forex and high exchange rates have made it impossible for transporters to purchase new vehicles while cost of spare parts for vehicle maintenance has risen by almost 80%.
‘’These challenges have taken a significant toll on the revenue of private transport company owners across Nigeria as most transporters are either operating at a loss or at cost. While some have had to shut down operations completely, many others have expressed their inability to pay salaries much less run profitably. To address the situation, APTCON hereby implores all private interstate passenger transport company owners of Nigeria to increase bus fares by at least 25% effective 25th August, 2022”, the operators said.’