By Abimbola Akindunbi
& Ayodele Popoola
High traffic have drastically reduced in Akure metropolis and major towns in Ondo State in the recent time, following the hike in price of the premium motor spirit otherwise known as Petrol, The Hope Metro investigation reveals.
Unlike the nagging usual high traffic experienced by commuters in Akure, Owo, Akoko and other major towns in the state, prior to subsidy removal in June, which skyrocketed fuel price from N197 per litre to N617, it was observed that the ever busy major roads are now less congested with vehicles.
Our correspondents who went round the towns noticed low traffic on the major roads.
in Akure, motorists who -ply the popular Oba-Adesida, tand used to experience high traffic from Ijomu junction to Post office/Adegbola/Ilesa garage, now drive freely without hassles.
Also at Mobil /Fiwasaye axis linking Alagbaka, including Agbogbo connecting Onyearugbulem road known for high traffic, especially during rainy season, now experience decrease in traffic.
A cross-section of residents and vehicle owners in Akure and other major towns in the state who spoke with The Hope Metro attributed the decrease in traffic to the exorbitant price of petrol, which they lamented is taking a huge chunk of money from their pockets.
A private car owner, Mr Tayo Oni, told our correspondent that since the price of fuel has increased, he hardly takes his car out, except on Sundays when he goes to church with his family.
According to him, “ I am a civil servant on monthly salary. I discovered that there’s no how I could cope with the current hike in fuel price if I take my car to the office every day.
”As you can see, traffic has reduced on the major roads in Akure metropolis. The astronomical increment is biting hard. Even my neighbour does same too, He doesn’t take his car out except on Sundays.
”One of the reasons we also hardly face high traffic again, is since the state government has been benevolent enough to release shuttle buses for workers in the state capital, most workers who struggle to buy fuel, now park their vehicles at home and join the buses to and from work.”
In the same vein, an Owo-based lawyer who does not want his name in print decried the situation, saying, the roads are gradually getting empty.
The legal practitioner who said he was in Lagos over the weekend, said the situation is not only being experienced in Ondo State, but that he also noticed low traffic on the ever busy roads of Lagos, the Centre of Activities.
‘I just got back from Lagos yesterday. There, I also observed low traffic, even in the dreaded roads where one could be in traffic for hours. Marwa tricycles are now many on the roads as most motorists can no longer afford the cost of fuel.
”Even if you ply Lagos/Ore expressway recently, you’ll discover that there’s low traffic,”he stated.
He, however, described the situation as ‘a blessing in disguise.
He said at least, people no longer experience nightmares of high traffic on the roads since fuel price has soared.
Also, a civil servant in Akoko town, Akeem Olaoye, said that the removal of the subsidy that led to the increase in the pump price of petroleum had affected his transportation budget for the week.
“I used to budget at least N3000 every week as transportation fare. But could you believe that the N3,000 doesn’t even last me for just three days due to the higher cost of fuel that affects transportation fares. So, I have parked my car at home. We pray a lasting solution is proffered,” he said.
A taxi cab driver, Mr. Adebayo and father of four told our correspondents that as a commercial driver, he used to pray before coming out, so he can get passengers, else he would run into debt.
“What we notice now is, the fuel we buy these days at higher cost, burns faster than before. So, it is evident that most private vehicle owners are finding it hard to buy such and take their vehicles out now. I pray the situation should not get so worse, such that commercial drivers will have to park their own vehicles too,”he stated.
Idowu Akinola, on her part, said, “The cost of transportation due to the removal of fuel subsidy has humbled everyone. People no longer move around unnecessary like before and the fight for survival remains everyone’s priority.”
Also, a fruit seller in Oba Adesida road in Akure, who told The Hope Metro that vehicles are no longer many on the roads because of fuel price, said the cost of taking Okada is on the high side, adding that he is already selling sliced watermelon and pineapple for N200 each and above to make up for the increase in logistic costs.
“Selling for N100 at this point won’t help me, even though we have reduced the size. It will just be as if I came out to serve people. What will I give my wife and children? The transport is expensive,” he lamented.