Boat operators under the aegis of the Waterfront Boat Owners and Transporters Association of Nigeria (WABOTAN) have lamented that they are struggling to remain in business, owing to the high cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
He explained that some of their members are already considering increasing waterways transport fare to cushion the effect of the high cost of petrol.
In a telephone chat with our correspondent over the weekend, President of WABOTAN, Comrade Tope Fajemirokun, lamented that many boat operators are struggling to get fuel to power their boats for business operations.
He said: “The cost of petrol nowadays is biting for some of us. Many of us are buying fuel through our noses. The amount we buy fuel nowadays is no longer commensurate with the amount we make during our daily trips.
“Some of our members have raised the issue of increasing waterways transport fare, but things don’t work that way. Many people already have a phobia for waterways transport. Many people run away from waterways, and rather spend hours on the road in traffic than take a boat ride to their destinations. So, if we increase fares, won’t we chase away the few that still patronise us?
“Out of fear of not chasing away the few passengers that still patronise our businesses, it has been difficult for us to just increase waterways transport fare due to the amount we now buy petrol.
“The cost of running ferry business has suddenly shot-up astronomically due to the increasing amount we buy petrol. Ferry boats use petrol, and that’s why most of us have been running at a loss in recent times, due to the high cost of petrol.
“We hope things change very soon because we cannot continue buying petrol at exorbitant rates while not recouping such money from the ferry business. If you buy petrol today at N350 per litre, by the time you exhaust it and want to buy another one, you will be shocked that the price would have increased to N400 per litre. How will ferry operators break even when we cannot increase transport fare like the commercial bus operators out of fear of losing our customers? We definitely cannot continue this way and something has to change.” he lamented.
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