The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, flagged off the free bus service for passengers on all routes operated by the state-owned Edo City Transport Limited (ECTS) as part of efforts to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government on the people of the State.
The free transport scheme is expected to cover intra-city and intercity routes including Auchi – Igarra – Ibillo–Ososo; Uzebba–Ikhin – Otuo, and Abudu-Ubiaja, Abudu-Urhonigbe and Ewohirin to Ewatto.
The intra-city routes are Ramat–Kingsquare; New Benin–Kingsquare; Kingsquare – Ekenwan Road; Kingsquare–Airport Road; Kingsquare–Sapele Road and Kingsquare – Adesuwa, Kingsquare–Ogida; New Benin – Upper Mission; Kingsquare–Ugbowo; Kingsquare–Agbor Road; Kingsquare–Upper Sokponba; New Benin – Ugbowo and New Benin–Aduwawa.
Speaking during a formal ceremony for the commencement of the free bus service in ECTS terminal in Benin City, Governor Obaseki, who was represented by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, said his government remains committed to the wellbeing and support of the people and will sustain efforts to reduce the hardship inflicted on the people by the subsidy removal.
He stated, “We call on all Edo people to use this service effectively and ensure they use it regularly as it benefits all of us. His Excellency takes the welfare of Edo people seriously and this is just one of the many support programmes that this administration has put in place to reduce the challenge, sufferings and cost of living faced by Edo people as a result of the subsidy removal.
“This service has commenced since 6am today September 11th, 2023 but we are declaring the service open today to the glory of God and the service will last for two months in the first instance.”
Speaking on the free bus transportation scheme, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Edo State Transport Authority, Edugie Agbonlahor, said, “We are all aware that the Governor has directed Edo City Transport Service (ECTS) to offer free bus service to all commuters in Edo State travelling within Benin Metropolis and travelling from Benin City to the major cities across the three Senatorial District of the State.”
She further stated, “His Excellency’s thoughtful intervention is as a result of the removal of the fuel subsidy and its negative impact on Nigerians. As at today, transportation cost is over 50 per cent of an average worker’s income and this intervention is to release funds back to the people to enable them take care of other needs like feeding housing, especially the burden of resumption for a new term for pupils across the State.
“This free transportation will return money back to parents to enable them to take care of some other family needs. ECTS before now has been offering free rides to school children and now to all Edo people. It’s our hope that we all enjoy this free ride made possible by the governor.”
A Federal Civil Servant, Mr. Ojekwua Kingsley while commending the governor for the initiative, said the free bus scheme will seriously reduce the effect of the hardship brought about by the removal of oil subsidy by the federal government.
According to him, “We are looking forward to more palliatives from Mr. Governor and commend him for this great move to reduce the pain that citizens are facing.”
At the Ikpoba Hill Bus Terminal where passengers board ECTS bus to Edo North, Mr. Edohor David who is travelling to Auchi hailed the governor, noting, “This bus is going to Edo North, Auchi, Igarra, Ososo, Ibilo and all the passengers entered for free. We have started enjoying the palliative; all thanks to the governor.”