The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has called on the federal government to subsidise operation costs for motorists, else it would be forced to increase transport fares.
This was stated on Monday by the Acting General Secretary of the union, Kabiru Yau, after the lifting of a ban on interstate travel by the federal government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Yau, the proposed increase was due to the guidelines outlined by the government for the resumption of operations which requires operators to carry fewer passengers on each trip, thereby reducing their income.
He also thanked the government for lifting the interstate travel ban as members of the union had been out of jobs and without income for three months.
Yau said, “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.
“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, 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.
“So we want the government to help subsidise 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,” he concluded.