One month into the Free Bus Ride Scheme by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led State Government, 706, 398 commuters have benefitted from the scheme, which covers both intra and inter city services operated by the State-owned Edo City Transport Services (ECTS), as part of support to Edo people following soaring cost of living occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.
This is as over N314, 665, 500 was saved by beneficiaries of the service for the one-month period on commercial services.
The Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, disclosed this while appraising the performance of the scheme, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Nehikhare noted that the service was introduced by Governor Godwin Obaseki on September 11, 2023 to run for initial two months, as part of the government’s welfare package to alleviate the sufferings of the people of the State, particularly the poorest of the poor as a result of the negative impact of the fuel subsidy removal.
Analyzing the data generated by the free bus ride scheme in one month, he disclosed that 14,324 passengers benefited from the inter-city service while 692,074 passengers benefited from the intra- city service.
“If the commuters were made to pay for these services, a total of N314,665,500 would have been expended by them, however, this money would have been saved by the commuters due to the free bus service offered by the state government,” Nehikhare said.
According to him, “This free bus ride has become popular among Edo people. It is helping them save their transport money since the service commenced on the 11th of September. Edo people have been directly touched by these initiatives. We are pleased by the appreciation we have received from Edo people since the programme commenced.”
He further said, “The Edo State Government takes the welfare of Edo people seriously and we want Edo people to use the free buses regularly. We know that before now transportation has always consumed close to 50 per cent of families’ budgets. So, the gesture is to help so that they can channel this money to some other needs such as feeding and housing.”
The Commissioner urged the people to take advantage of the free bus service scheme, which is still ongoing as it is expected to run for initial two months, with 1,500,000 commuters expected to benefit from the service during the period.
The service covers the existing routes operated by ECTS cut across the three senatorial districts of the State, spanning Auchi – Igarra – Ibillo–Ososo; Uzebba–Ikhin – Otuo, and Abudu-Ubiaja, Abudu-Urhonigbe and Ewohirin to Ewatto while 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.