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Subsidy Removal: Edo govt flags off free transport scheme



From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Edo State Government has flagged off its free transport scheme to ease off the adverse effects of the removal of the fuel subsidy regime on its citizens.

Recall that Governor Obaseki recently approved free transport service for passengers on all routes operated by the state-owned Edo City Transport Ltd (ECTS).

The service which spans an initial two-month period covers commuting within the Benin metropolis and from Benin City to the major cities in the three senatorial districts and will run between 6.30 am and 7 pm daily respectively.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony at the ECTS Park, Ring Road, the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, represented by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, implored Edo people to use the ECTS free buses regularly as it was designed by the Edo State Government to help them get over the hardship caused by the fuel subsidy removal.

“The Edo State Government takes the welfare of Edo people seriously and this is just one of the many ways we intend to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal for Edo people.

“The scheme has started since morning and people are already enjoying it.

“We want Edo people to use the bus regularly,” Nehikhare said.

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Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Edo State Transport Authority, Mrs Edugie Agbonlahor, said, that though ECTC has been offering free bus rides for primary and secondary school pupils, it has planned to extend it to accommodate everybody in order to alleviate the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.

“We know that before now, transportation has always consumed 50% of the budgets of parents. So, the gesture is to help so that they can channel this money to some of their other needs such as feeding, and housing, especially this time in particular, when our children are resuming and we know the burden on parents during the first term.

“So, this is His Excellency’s intervention that at this time, parents can have a refund of their transport cost to enable them to take other responsibilities.

We are aware that ECTS has always given free rides to school children, but it is no longer for school children but for all Edo people.

A beneficiary of the free transport scheme, Mrs Osarubo Obayuwana, who lives in Oko Central and spends an average of N800 daily on transportation, was happy over the gesture by the Edo State Government and she said. ” I am happy seeing the new arrangements by the Edo State Government, I want to beg the government to sustain the scheme because people are really suffering.”

The transport scheme is expected to cover intra-city and intercity routes including Auchi – Igalla – 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.

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