Some passengers travelling outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday for the Eid el Kabir celebration are stranded at various parks due to insufficient vehicles, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
As at the time of filing this report, NAN observed that many passengers were seen sitting on their bags under the sun at the various parks waiting for vehicles.
Although some of the passengers complained that the fares had been increased due to the celebration, they were willing to pay any amount to get to their destinations.
Some of parks visited by NAN include, Jabi, Utako and Mabushi Parks in Abuja.
A Kano bound passenger, Miss Hadiza Abubakar said she arrived the Utako Park around 9 a.m. and for more than three hours she had been waiting without getting a vehicle.
Abubakar, who is a Youth Corps member serving in Abuja , said she planned spending the Sallah break with her family in Kano.
“I used to pay N3,000 to Kano but today I was told that the price is now N5,000 and we the passengers are ready to pay.
“But as you can see, there is even no vehicle on ground but we are waiting patiently because we have to travel. ”
Another passenger, Mr Gambo Yargaya, a Civil Servant, also decried insufficient vehicles at the park and prayed something was done about it for the benefit of passengers.
NAN, however, observed that although there were passengers waiting for vehicles to travel to Kaduna at the Mabushi park, the fare remained N1, 500 as it had always been.
A member of the National Association of Road Transport Owners(NARTO), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more vehicles would soon arrive to take the passengers to Kaduna.
At the Jabi park, Miss Agnes Jacob, a student said her family stayed in Kano and she wanted to travel for the Sallah break to be with them but there was no vehicle.
Jacob said “I came to the park since 8 a.m. but since I came, no vehicle has been provided for us to travel, but we are still hopeful.”
A driver at the Jabi Park, Mr Umar Ubagiza, said there was an issue on the Kaduna road between the tanker drivers and the Police which made the drivers to block the road.
Ubagiza said as soon as the road was clear, more vehicles would arrive to take the passengers to their various locations.
Mr Kunle Job, a Supervisor of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), at the Jabi Park said the number of passengers at the park today was overwhelming.
According to Job, there are vehicles and drivers on ground but they cannot be allowed to travel as they just arrived from other trips and need to rest.
He said many hazards that occurred on the road during festivities were due to persistence by passengers on the drivers to take them to their destinations.
He said:” Passengers are just after getting to their destination and they do not consider if the driver and the vehicle are fit to travel.
“Some of these vehicles you see, the drivers are around but we cannot allow them travel because they need to rest from their previous journey before they can ply the roads again.
“We consider the safety of the passengers and the driver that is why we need to ensure this.”
Meanwhile, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaji, the Deputy Chairman, FCT Council, National Union of Road Transport Workers, (NURTW) said the union would ensure sanity of the parks during the festive period.
He said that the union would ensure that fares were not hiked under any guise.
“There is nothing that can make us increase the transport fare because the Muhammadu Buhari led administration has ensured the price of petrol remained the same.
“What we are witnessing this year is completely different from other years. There are no vehicles now because of the number of passengers we got.
“The passengers that came out early have left in vehicles to the various states that is why there is no vehicle on ground.
“Some of the drivers on ground who do not want to travel are even being enticed by the passengers with higher rate so they can travel.
“Ultimately, what I can say is that we are happy that business is going well for us,” Gaji said. (NAN)