● Over 1.5m Edo residents benefit from first phase of scheme
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved the extension of the free bus scheme implemented by the state government for three months.
The free transport scheme was introduced on September 11, 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.
Over 1.5 million residents benefitted from the first phase of the scheme, which covers all intra and intercity routes operated by the State-owned Edo City Transport Services (ECTS).
While the intercity routes include 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 was in furtherance of the government’s commitment to the welfare of Edo people, noting that the free bus scheme will now run till February 2024.
She said, “In a continued effort to cushion the impact of the federal government’s fuel subsidy removal on the people of Edo State, His Excellency, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has graciously approved the extension of the free bus service by three months.
“With the extension, the free transport scheme will now end in February 2024, ensuring sustained support for the Edo residents amid the economic realities occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.”
According to her, “The State Government is pleased with the success and positive feedback garnered during the two-month initial period for the scheme which 1,536,904 residents benefitted from, including 33,480 commuters from the inter-city routed and 1,503,424 from the intra-city routes.
She noted that the extension will benefit persons embarking on travels to their home town during the Yuletide season, noting that the gesture is intended to ease the pressure from transportation costs for residents in the State.
She added: “The extended three-month period will further ease the mobility concerns of Edo State residents and enhance their overall welfare, in line with the government’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of the people.”
Agbonlahor added, “The Edo State Government encourages residents to take advantage of this continued transportation palliative even as we explore all necessary measures to ease the economic burdens imposed by the fuel subsidy removal policy of the Federal Government.”