By Adedolapo Aladesunkanmi and Adesuyan Stella
Commercial drivers in Ondo State have bemoaned the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy, saying it is crippling their livelihoods.
The drivers in different interviews with The Hope lamented low patronage of passengers, stressing that the development has resulted in poor profit margin for them.
A taxi driver, Francis Ugbo lamented that despite his hard work, the profit margin made from driving have dwindled considerably.
“The amount at which we buy things is very costly. Although, I am optimistic that with the resources, fuel prices will soon come down. The current hardship is unbearable.”
He called on government to intervene to reduce the cost of essential goods and services.
A driver plying Akure to Idanre, Mr Akin Olofinte, said, “It is not easy. If I carry six passengers, they will pay N500 each, making it N3000 and that is all for the day.”
He added that increase in the cost of maintenance and fuel expenses had significantly reduced his earnings.
“There should be collective action to address the concerns of the people and provide solutions to alleviate the burden of rising fuel prices on their businesses and livelihoods,” he opined.
For Akínlàdé Akinwunmi, “I bought fuel worth N10,000 and made N6,000. That was a shortage of N4,000. I had not removed delivery fee for my boss”.
He said he was considering leaving the vocation to go back to his previous shoemaking job .
A bike rider from Okitipupa, Atiroko Ayodele said each ride consumes more litres which doubles the money they spend on fuel.
“There are no sales and market products are sold at high prices now. This is affecting us as bike riders. I buy a litre for more N500. And this can only sustain me to a very short distance. last year was better.”
When asked about diversifying income sources, he shared, “I went to school and I finished, but due to lack of job, I decided to do this job to feed my family. There is no job I can do at this age when it comes to working under someone because most employers do not pay workers well.”
Another bike rider, Mr Remilekun Oluwole, shared his struggles, saying, coping with the price of fuel, has not been easy for me at all. Now daily gains are meagre, because of fuel.”
He hopes that fuel pump prices will go down to ease the effects on citizens.