The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Kaduna State has reported a drastic reduction of over 50 percent in travel activities as the festive season draws near.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, Malam Bature Suleiman, Secretary of NURTW in Kaduna, attributed this decline to the significantly escalated transportation fares triggered by the recent hike in fuel prices.
Suleiman highlighted the financial strain on travelers, stating, “People no longer travel but only prefer to send messages to their loved ones. Sadly, if you go to our motor parks now, you will see a lot of vehicles waiting without passengers.”
According to him, the exorbitant transportation costs have deterred many from journeying unless absolutely necessary, leading individuals to resort to dispatching messages rather than physically traveling.
The secretary mentioned that drivers were operating at a loss due to increased fuel prices, poor road conditions, and unfavorable policies in the transportation sector.
Suleiman expressed dismay over what he described as excessive taxation imposed on union members, illustrating the considerable financial burden faced by drivers. He specifically cited various levies such as the Single Haulage Fee (SHF) ranging from N1,500 to N25,000, as well as the Harmonised sticker fee that soared to N7,000 from N3,500 in the previous year.
Appealing to the government, Suleiman urged authorities to reconsider the tax burden on drivers, emphasizing the need to revert to previous levies to help them cope with the prevailing economic challenges.
Despite these financial hardships, Suleiman also highlighted a positive note, mentioning a 40 percent reduction in road accidents throughout 2023. He attributed this decline to improved road maintenance initiatives in the state, pointing out the repair and maintenance works on several key routes like Kaduna to Zaria-Kano and Kaduna to Abuja.
While acknowledging ongoing repairs within the metropolis, Suleiman remained hopeful for further enhancements in the transportation sector to alleviate the financial strain on drivers and facilitate smoother travel experiences for the populace. (NAN)