The operators of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Primero Transport Services (PTS) lost about N18 million on Tuesday alone when it suspended its operations across Lagos due to alleged fear of attack by commuters over the death of Miss Bamise Ayanwale.
This was disclosed by a source in PTS, who preferred anonymity because she is not permitted to speak officially on the matter with Nairametrics.
According to the source, PTS makes about N18 million daily from trips across the state and that was lost to the suspension of operations on Tuesday.
She said, “Operations has to be suspended not to punish the commuters but to prevent our busses from being damaged by some people. The memory of the #EndSARS attack is still fresh and it is important for us to take precautions and prevent reoccurrence.
“Operations resumed on Wednesday after we have seen that the coast is clear. We do not mean to create discomfort to our amiable commuters but needed to strategise on ways to remain in business for their comfort.”
Some commuters, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, had a tough time going to work early in the morning and returning back home from work in the evening as BRT buses suspended bus operations across the state over possible attacks from angry youths.
Some of them lamented the lack of communication from the BRT operators to passengers ahead of the suspension of bus trips on Tuesday.
One of them, Temitayo Adams, who lives in Ikorodu and works with one of the commercial banks in Marina, lamented about the increased amount of money she had to spend to get to work through the commercial buses that ply the route.
She stated, “They (BRT operators) could have informed passengers on Monday that they won’t work on Tuesday so that everybody would have arranged alternative transport means to their place of work. I still used the BRT on Monday and didn’t hear anything from the workers or at their terminal in TBS.”
Another commuter, Banji Ajayi, a media practitioner that resides around Iyana Ipaja, told Nairametrics that he had to spend double of regular fare on transport to the office on Tuesday before the buses partially resumed on Wednesday.
He said, “The commercial buses operators just explored the situation as they increased the fare by about 100% because they know we had no choice. I will not blame the operators of BRT busses outrightly because they had to do everything possible to remain in business. The company must have lost some money on Tuesday but that will still be better than what it lost to #EndSARS vandalisation.”
Efforts to get the response of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) on the development were abortive, as it’s spokesperson, Kolawole Ojelabi, declined to comment on the issue.
However, the Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the circumstances surrounding the death of a 22-year-old lady, Miss Oluwabamishe Ayanwale, while in transit on a BRT bus would be fully unravelled, stressing that stiff punishment awaits anyone found culpable in what he described as a “criminal and dastardly act.”