By: Ajadi Sodiq
It was around four in the evening as the sun was about to rest in its abode on Thursday, and Mr. Mashud just returned from Agbowo to get what to eat. Akara, Yam, and Pure Water were what he could afford. This correspondent watched as he completed his meal and muttered thanks in Arabic to show gratitude.
When approached, the driver explained how he would have loved to eat better food than what the correspondent saw him eating but rather had to eat that because he had just received a call from his son in another higher institution requesting money for something at school. He had had to find a means but had so far been unable to earn sufficient income that day, even having to promise a POS attendant that he would pay charges at another time. Furthermore, he revealed he had been at the park since 6 am.
This kind of issue doesn’t only happen to Mr. Yusuf alone but to many others. Mr. Lowo, for instance, was nearly in tears after realizing the needs he had to finance despite his meagre earnings.
These are the Issues and Trials…
As affirmed by the chairman of the UI transporters, Mr. Modupe known as Dangote, the transportation system is one of the divisions working under the umbrella of the University of Ibadan Management, meaning that the organization has little power to influence the price of the transportation as invisible hands are the forces behind the prices. Despite this, the drivers are faced with a lot of troubles both from family and the campus.
Mr. Moshud Idowu stated: “My route here is survival and most times people that would enter are going to Abadina and only one person could be going to the bus stop which already there’s no guarantee that there would be passengers on the way back.”
“Sometimes, some students would whisper to our ears about the amount they have with them which isn’t up to the actual price, but you know we are parents too, we’d accept that amount,” he added.
This issue in the case of Mr. Lowo, was almost different from their status (based on owner and drivers), he believed the only people among the transporters that could not be feeling the heat much were those who had their car, tricycle, or bus and weren’t delivering at the end of the day to anyone.
According to him, “These set of people could leave the park at any time, unlike us. We have to make money which we’d deliver to the owner of the tricycle, car or bus at the end of the day and also money for the family.”
“Unlike before the cars could take any route but now things have changed and most of these cars are going to Ajibode and most of them usually go twice a day. How do you think they’ll deliver it to the car owner?” Mr. Mashud asked rhetorically.
Many of the transporters revealed the price of petrol usually takes the larger part from their earnings. Despite this, the transporters believe as they’re under the school that they have no choice but to accept whatever comes to them from the management.
The driver further revealed the recent change in the amount of screening fees just like the tuition fee. They lamented how a 10,000 naira increase was added to their screening fee recently which to them is a major setback to any other benefits they might be enjoying on campus.
“Before, we paid eighteen thousand naira for screening but for the last one, we were made to pay 25,000 naira for a car only,” Mr. Mashud explained.
“This is one of those things we don’t have power on, we were paying almost 10,000 naira before now we are paying more than which seriously affects our earnings here,” Mr. Gbadebo confirmed.
“We just want them to help us reduce the amount, so that we won’t have to do more than we are capable of,” added Mr. Lowo.
One of the drivers at the park also revealed some of them do have to work tirelessly till late hours to meet up with what to deliver while also trying to save up for the screening fee.
“If They Are Not Satisfied, They can Leave”
Mr. Dangote believed the university environment gave the transporters the serenity they needed unlike the garage outside where fighting and bullying is the norm at bus stops. He acknowledged that people working at the car park are there because of the university environment’s sake, and most of them don’t care about the income they earn but their safety.
“People who work here are retirees, pensioners, people who lost their jobs, and many others. So they find the university environment more peaceful, they have to abide by our rules and if they can’t, they can leave,” the chairman revealed.
“Some of the people are here because they want to do something and not be lazy and they’re content with what they have because they believe there’s peace in what they get which isn’t like that outside.”
Sympathy for Students
These transporters lament what they are going through on campus including the economic downturn and the effect on their lower earnings, yet the drivers this reporter interviewed do not want an increase in the payment of transportation for students.
“Many of the students walk to their various classes because the hardship is everywhere and few of them take cabs to classes,” Mr. Mashud commented.