Economy and Business

Passengers resist travel plans despite Tinubu’s 50% discount amid cash scarcity

In the wake of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government-approved 50% travel discount initiative, passengers across Nigeria remain hesitant to embark on holiday travels due to intensified cash scarcity.

The recent intervention aimed to alleviate travel expenses during the festive season by subsidizing fares for select minibuses and luxury buses, along with offering free train trips on specific routes from December 21, 2023, until January 4, 2024.

Despite the promising announcement, travellers nationwide expressed reluctance to venture on their holiday journeys, citing exacerbated financial constraints as a primary reason.

Reports from various regions, including Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Bayelsa, and Jos, revealed a palpable decrease in passenger turnout, challenging the anticipated impact of the fare subsidy.

Passengers highlighted their reservations, stating that the reduced fares for specific transport companies did not extend to all commercial vehicles, leaving them grappling with soaring transportation costs at recognized parks and terminals.

A passenger, who acknowledged the 50 per cent cut by the president, said it was coming late as many of them had booked way ahead.

“For instance, many of us traveling on Friday have already paid N41,000 with God is Good; before it was N20,000. What we learnt is that this affects only the luxury bus. What about small cars? We are still paying the same amount,” said the passenger at Iyana Ipaja park, Lagos.

Similar sentiments were echoed in Kano, where travelers noted a stark increase in travel expenses compared to the previous year.

The high costs and limited availability of affordable transport options deterred many, amplifying the financial burden faced by prospective travellers.

One of the park attendants, Ramatu Hassan, said “The issue is that there is no money for people to travel. The truth is people are thinking about what they can eat first and everything will be okay.

“If you use the little you have to travel because of 50 per cent reduction, you will go and come back to continue living. What happens to those who exceed the deadline? How will they come back?”

Residents in Kaduna faced a daunting situation, with significantly elevated transport fares causing a substantial decline in commuters at motor parks. The economic strain, exacerbated by increased pump prices, hindered travel plans for many.

In Jos, passengers reported the non-implementation of the government’s discount directive, further dampening their spirits and inhibiting their willingness to embark on holiday journeys.

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