Subsidy removal: Edo begins free transport scheme

Edo State government on Monday flagged off its free transport scheme to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.

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

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 6.30a.m., and 7p.m., daily.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony at the ECTS Park, Ring Road, Governor Godwin Obaseki, represented by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, urged Edo people to use the 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.

He said: “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.”

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

She said: “We know that before now transportation has always consumed 50 percent of the budgets of parents. So, the gesture is to help so that they can channel the money they have 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’s no longer for school children but for all Edo people.”

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.

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