Fuel Subsidy Removal: Obaseki extends free bus service by another three months

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…free ride extended to July as nearly 5 million Edo residents benefit

By Owen Eresoyen, Benin

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved the extension of the free bus scheme implemented by the state government for another three months.

The free transport scheme, now extended to July 2024, was introduced in September 2023 for an initial two-month period to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government on the people of the State.

Following the success of the first phase which benefited over 1.5m Edo people, the governor thereafter extended the palliative programme till February 2024 and later April 2024.

The free transport scheme covers all intra and intercity routes operated by the State-owned Edo City Transport Services, ECTS, including Auchi – Igarra – Ibillo–Ososo; Uzebba–Ikhin – Otuo, and Abudu-Ubiaja, Abudu-Urhonigbe and Ewohimi to Ewatto.

The intra-city routes are Ramat–Kingsquare; New Benin–Kingsquare; Kingsquare – Ekenwan Road; Kingsquare–Airport Road; Kingsquare–Sapele Road and Kingsquare – Adesuwa, Kingsquare–Ogida; New Benin – Upper Mission; Kingsquare–Ugbowo; Kingsquare–Agbor Road; Kingsquare–Upper Sokponba; New Benin – Ugbowo and New Benin–Aduwawa.

In a statement, the Managing Director of Edo State Transport Authority, ESTA , Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, said the extension is in furtherance of the government’s commitment to the welfare of Edo people, noting that the free bus scheme will now run till July 2024.

According to her, “His Excellency, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has graciously approved the extension of the free bus service till July 10, 2024.

“The decision is on the back of the success and feedback that have trailed the eight-month programme and in furtherance of the government’s commitment to the welfare of Edo people, especially in the face of recent economic challenges caused by the federal government’s fuel subsidy removal.”

Noting the impact of the programme over the past eight months, Agbonlahor said nearly five million Edo residents have benefitted from the programme since its launch in September 2023.

She stated, “The extension followed the success and positive feedback which we have continued to garner since the launch of the programme. We are glad with the positive impact of the scheme as over 4,799,960 Edo residents have benefited, including 142,289 intercity passengers and 4,657,671 intercity passengers.”