The Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Jabiru Yau has commended the Federal Government for lifting the ban on interstate travel in the country after about three months of inactivity.
Mr Yau however lamented that due to the new guidelines limiting passenger capacity of vehicles to 50% of available seating arrangements, it is pertinent that the federal government put modalities in place to subsidize operation costs for transportation business nationwide.
“We thank the Federal Government for lifting the ban; it is a welcome development because it is over three months that our members have been out of jobs and without income.”
Yau remarked that the “guidelines outlined by the government for the resumption of operations amid the coronavirus pandemic require operators to carry fewer passengers on each trip, thereby reducing their income.”
“At least, our people will now start working and get something to feed their families. “But at the same time, due to the spacing in the vehicles which will require the drivers to carry only nine or ten instead of the usual 18 passengers, the income of the drivers will be reduced.”
“So we want the government to help subsidize the cost of those passengers that we will not be carrying or we will have to increase our transport fares.
“This is because the money that will be generated from the reduced number of passengers will barely cover the cost of fuel for the journey.
“So, what is the gain? What will you give to the owner of the vehicle? So, the government should please help us look into this matter.”
The NURTW bigwig however maintained that the COVID-19 protocols as announced by the federal government will be strictly enforced as he said “the union would ensure its passengers obey the use of face masks, sanitisers, amongst others.