Bayelsans have continued to lament and express their disappointment over the prosperity vehicles purchased by the state government purportedly to ease the movement of people in the state.
Residents in the state capital frowns as the vehicles, instead of easing the movement of people in the state capital, has resorted to intra-state transportation and allegedly charging the same amount with the privately owned ones plying the roads.
At the official launch of the scheme at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Onopa, Yenagoa, Gov. Diri handed over the vehicles to Bayelsa Transport Company. The keys to the vehicles were handed over to the General Manager, Bayelsa Transport Company, (Hon.) Chief Imomotimi Fanama.
Speaking at the event, Governor Diri said “today has come to mark the end of what we have been suffering under the ban on the tricycle at night and under the new policies to the increase in transportation fares. And we believe that, this will now be our palliative for now at the land sector.”
Unlike other states of the Federation that have similar initiative, the prosperity vehicles were paired two-drivers-to-one who are to balance N12,000 (twelve thousand naira) on a daily bases. This has since sparked reactions from the public and drivers of those vehicles who struggles tooth and nail to eke out the money for daily balancing.
Hon. Chief Timi Fanama, CEO of De Prize Motors/Hotels, who also doubles as the General Manager of Bayelsa State Transport Company (BSTC), during the issuing of the vehicles said government used as much as N78,069,000 (seventy-eight million, sixty-nine thousand naira), N20,648,000 (twenty million, six hundred and forty-eight thousand naira), N16,051,000 (sixteen million, fifty-one thousand naira), N15,842,000 (fifteen million eight hundred and forty-two thousand naira), N15,300,000 (fifteen million three hundred thousand) and more to procure per unit of the vehicles.
NAIJA LIVE TV, during an interview with commuters and road users, gathered that many of the vehicles now drag passengers with motor drivers at various parks in the state just to meet up with the amount they are asked to balance a day.
A driver plighting the Tombia-Amassoma road, when interviewed, disclosed to NAIJA LIVE TV reporters that the prosperity vehicles have caused more damage than good. He said the operators of the prosperity cabs has no park and that they load passengers anywhere they like, even in government restricted areas.
According to him, greater percentage of the prosperity vehicles have left the streets of Yenogoa and resorted to intra-state journeys just to meet the days target. He noted that while others pay ticket and other dues in the various parks they operate, the drivers of prosperity vehicles does not contribute anything to the parks, but only dragging passengers with drivers in those parks.
“Governor instructed that non should load along the road, and we have been maintaining it. But since the arrival of these prosperity cabs, they park anywhere, load anywhere and they’re not buying ticket.
“The booking I booked since on Sunday, its today it got to my turn. The same price we charge is the same price the prosperity vehicles are charging,” he said.
He complained that one now have to wait for about three to four days before it will get to his turn to load passengers once to go to Amassoma, adding that the government vehicle drivers are now driving at top speed along the Amassoma road just to meet up.
Another driver plying Tombia-Otuoke said the transportation system is greatly affected because of the amount the prosperity cabs drivers are asked to pay. He said the government vehicles are charging the same amount with the normal vehicles.
Whan interviewed, a driver of one of the prosperity cabs, also called on the government and the operators of the Bayelsa Transport Company (BTC) to bring down the daily balancing from the current N12,000 to at most N5,000.
“The reason for bringing the vehicles is to assist the masses, and what we’re seeing today, it is difficult for us to say we’re coming to assist the people with this same price of petroleum and this same price of heartless operation we’re doing.
“Because any area our vehicles parks to load passengers, they keep attacking us. I remember vividly past administrations operated. If the balancing of 12,000 can come down to N4,000, we will appreciate,” he said.
Senator Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state, inaugurated the prosperity transportation vehicles on the 19th July, 2023, to purportedly boost the city transport system.
It was the hope of the general public that the new transport vehicles will help to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal and alleviate the sufferings of Bayelsans as a result of the ban in tricycle operations at night.
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