Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has warned management of the state-owned Delta Transport Service, operators of Delta Line and others operating government procured vehicles to desist from charging arbitrary fares or risk heavy sanctions.
The governor gave the warning during an unscheduled surprise visit to the loading bay of Delta Line in Asaba and halting the fears that had greeted the earlier planned ouster of the transport service from the post subsidy removal palliative programme of the state government.
Uduaghan’s presence had jolted the management team, led by the General Manager of the State Transport Line, Elder Isaiah Eyione, who quickly promised to comply with the governor’s directive to immediately refund the excesses in fares charged during the Yuletide including the current jacked-up fare.
The governor had directed various transporters operating it’s over 600 vehicles not to increase fares as a result of the staggering increase in the price of petrol pump price, having promised to subsidize the difference in cost, as part of the state government’s palliative measures to cushion effect of the removal of fuel subsidy but it fell on deaf ears.
The Governor who was visibly angry recalled his directive last week during the commissioning of 100 18-seater Hiace buses where he told the benefiting transport companies to revert to the old fare before Christmas.
He reminded the transport companies in the state that the state government would to 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 also warned that any government parastatal and their officials found working against palliative measures or sabotaging government’s efforts would be sanctioned.
His words: “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 explained that transport companies should be humane rather than exploitative at this material time in the nation’s history. Dr. Uduaghan said “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 however enjoined the state transport company, Delta Line to urgently 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, explaining that the self-paying company depends largely on the availability of vehicles in the company’s pool and maintenance against wear and tear.