The Primero Transport Service Limited, operator of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos says the no standing order of the state government on buses will reduce the firm’s revenue by about 35 per cent.
The Managing Director of the firm, Mr Fola Tinubu, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday, on the sideline of the company’s news conference organised to unfold steps it was taking to curb spread of COVID-19.
Tinubu said that prevention of COVID-19 spread more important than gains, but regretted that a staff of the firm was beaten up while trying to implement the directive on ‘no standing’ at the Ikorodu bus station.
The BRT boss urged commuters to bear with the firm and desist from assaulting its staff.
“We are trying to follow Lagos State Government instruction. We first came up with a policy on Thursday night to be carrying 50 passengers when the Lagos State Government restricted gathering of people to 50.
“Since our buses have 42 seats, we allowed only 8 standing, but when another order came prohibiting standing on buses, we keep to 42 passengers on each of our buses.
“But the commuters are not patient, when our staff were trying to enforce this this morning, one of them was assaulted; they tore his clothes and they beat him up at Ikorodu.
“What we are trying to do is to ensure the safety of everybody, I know people are used to about 20 people standing in buses but this is a special time,” he said.
Tinubu urged customers to be understanding and patient, rather than assaulting staff trying to enforce the law.
According to him, the firm has to work with the government to ensure everybody is safe.
“The government says there is no standing so if the bus is full, you have to wait for the next bus. There is nothing we can do about it.
“We carry between 150,000 to 180,000 passengers daily, we need to ensure that they are safe. This is going to cost us a lot of money.
“In fact, with this no standing order, we expect our revenue to be reduced by about 35 per cent. So, it is not that we are happy, but we have to do it because it is the right thing to do.
“It is not that we are happy, but there is something that is more than money, which is life. So, whatever the government believes is the thing to do, that is what we will do,” he said.
On measures to reduce the waiting time at bus stops, Tinubu said that the only thing the firm could do was to push as many buses out as possible.
“The good news is that traffic is a bit better now, the buses will hopefully return faster. That is all we can do.
“We have to manage what we have right now in an efficient and safe manner.”
On disinfection of buses, the managing director said that the firm would be disinfecting buses every night as well as providing detective kits, sanitizers and educating people at various bus stations.
Tinubu said that it would take cooperation of all to defeat the COVID-19 in the country.