Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has warned Delta Transport Service, operators of Delta Line fleet of vehicles, and others operating government procured vehicles to desist from charging arbitrary fares or risk being sanctioned.
Dr. Uduaghan, who gave the warning when he paid a surprise visit to the loading bay of Delta Line in Asaba yesterday morning, ordered the immediate refund of the difference of the fare scharged before the Christmas season and the current jacked-up fares.
He had directed the transport company not to increase fares as a result of the increase in the price of petrol having promised to bear the cost of the difference as part of the State’s palliative measures to cushion effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Governor who was visibly angry recalled his directive last week during the commissioning of 100 18-seater Hiacebuses where he told the benefiting transport companies to revert to the old fare before Christmas.
He remind transport companies in the state that the state government would pay the difference between what they were charging before Christmas and when subsidy was removed and wondered why his instructions would be flouted.
Dr. Uduaghan warned government Parastatals against sabotaging palliative measures put in place to cushion the effect of subsidy removal stressing that all government functionaries found wanting would be sanctioned.
“I don’t want a repeat of this. Do not collect more than the fare you were charging before Christmas. If you repeat this, I will show you the way out,” he warned the General Manager of Delta Line.
The governor condemned the practice of charging special higher fares during Christmas season saying that rather than charging higher fares it should be lower to reduce the financial stress people go through during such celebrations.
He said transport companies should be humane rather than exploitative at this material time in the nation’s history. “Do not exploit the people. Be considerate and charge moderate fares. There should not be anything like special seasonal fares. Instead of high fares, it should be lower,” he said.
He enjoined the state transport company to repair all broken down vehicles and put them on the routes outlined for the company so that commuters would enjoy the palliative measures designed by the state government to reduce hardship.
The governor used the occasion to enjoin drivers to be orderly and maintain all safety rules at all times not only to protect their lives and those of the passengers but to increase the lifespan of vehicles.
Dr. Uduaghan explained that their means of livelihood depended on the availability of vehicles in the company’s pool and urged them to maintain the vehicles against wear and tear.
“Drive carefully always and desist from reckless driving so that these vehicles can have long life span. If you constantly involve these vehicles in accidents you may not only be out of job but you can lose your life,” he said.
Amidst ovation from passengers who cheered him relentlessly, the governor assured commuters of the state government’s determination to make fuel available in all petrol filling stations so that transport fares would reduce further.
Responding the General Manager of the State Transport Line, Elder Isaiah Eyione promised to comply with the governor’s directives.
Elder Eyione also promised to refund the difference in the excess fares charged passengers.