UI Transportation Policies: A Closer Look At Students’ And Drivers’ Concerns

By: Ayeye Toluwalope 

The cost of transportation within the campus has recently been fluctuating, with it changing at random times and sometimes unprovoked. This could easily be attributed to factors such as the increase in the cost of petrol amongst other things and it could also be attributed to the little to no price control of the cost of transportation on campus. Just anyone would acknowledge that transportation is one of the needs of students on campus and it cannot be done away with. A look into the history of transportation in UI and anyone can see that over the past three to four sessions, not once have we had a good grasp on the transportation fees and the cost of transportation within the school. 

Cost of fuel and the tango dance with cost of transportation 

As earlier stated, the cost of fuel seems to be one of the reasons why the price of transportation has not been stable and recently, since the cost of fuel has taken a hike, it comes across as though there is a justification for the change in the cost of transportation. Mr Afọlábí Michael, a tricycle driver in the University of Ibadan explains that carrying out his business with the increasing cost of fuel has not been easy. He explains that when the cost of fuel had first increased to 500 naira, the drivers tried to cope; however, it proved even harder when it increased further to 600 and so, they had to adjust the price. He was not the only driver who had something to say about the constant increase in the cost of fuel.

The exuberant increase in the cost of fuel might seemingly make it understandable as to why the price of transportation has increased and is mostly 150 naira depending on the route.

However looking at the cost of transportation within the school premises and outside the school, leads to the question if truly the increase was warranted and if increase in the cost of fuel is only felt by the drivers within school.  To break it down, the cost of transporting one person from UI gate to Ojoo via a micra or tricycle is currently #100 as at the time of writing this piece and also at the time of writing this piece, the cost of transporting one person from UI gate to the faculty of education is #150 that is if that person chooses to enter the tricycle or cab with other people. Juxtaposing these two trips would reveal that the trip to Ojoo which is outside campus is considerably farther than the one to Faculty of Education within the school premises. One may then wonder, to what extent are students plights and pockets being considered in fixing these prices

Speaking to Nimi, a 300 level student and an Obafemi Awolowo Hall resident about this observation, she thought it was simply unfair that it appeared we paid more to get around within the school, than we did to get around outside. ‘If you had not pointed this out to me, I’d have not taken note of it. There are sometimes that when I try to take a cab to SUB or this time I was going to the Zoo, the man charged me #150 just from my hostel.’ 

‘’They are extorting us and something should really be done about it.’ Another student Christiana lamented.

A Town Hall Different?

Now, even with the increase in the cost of fuel, a new development arose at the town hall meeting held just a few weeks back. The town hall meeting was a gathering of students, the student union and the UI management, where some of the issues the students faced were addressed. Including the cost of transportation. In what seemed to be a spur of the moment type of decision, it was decided that the cost of drop from any location be made #300 immediately.

However, some of the drivers are discontent with this development. Mr Afọlábí Michael for example, explained that there is not much profit for the transporters in this situation. ‘I feel bad, it can favour you students, but we the transporters, it doesn’t favor us.’

He went on to explain that getting quality fuel for an affordable price is another strenuous activity that each driver had to go through and still after going through this, their profit still was not the best. ‘We have to follow the instructions because if we don’t, it would lead to a fine. We were just informed, they didn’t ask us, they came and they told us’. He tried to relay the plight they had to go through, seeing as they were not brought into the decision making process and no consensus was met in making this decision. According to him and other drivers interviewed, they were simply told that the price for drop had changed and they had to adhere to it. 

While they generally claim to be dutifully following the new instructions from the school management and student union, some students have other things to say. Chidimma for example explains that even after the town hall meeting, she still paid 450 for drop twice. ‘I knew the cost was 300 already but at both times, I was in a hurry and so, I did not try to argue or wait for another cab.’ Chidimma is not the only student who has had to pay more than 300 for drop, as Adeola a Pharmacy student also attests to the same thing.

She explains that with her apartment being in Ajibode, she sometime always has to take drop and many times than not, she has had to take drop for #400 or more. 

This however doesn’t mean that all the drivers default the rule as other students like Nimi have attested to taking drop at the new price of #300 at different times. So for the drivers that seem to be dutifully following the rules, we wonder at what cost it is for them. 

Alhaji Mustapha, another transporter says coupled with how much fuel now costs, he often records little to no profit with the new instruction to only charge #300 for drop.

‘I will carry drop of #300… there is no profit in that. And after dropping that person, if the person goes to somewhere like Agric or education, when I’m driving back, I might see no one to carry. That’s about 1 litre wasted already.’ he complained. However when asked if he had been following through with this instruction, he answered answered affirmatively like every other driver, that he had been following this new rule. 

The Transportation Committee: A Scale Against UITES

Not many students may know this, but UI has a transportation committee where issues affecting students and drivers alike are often addressed and trashed out. Usually, the cost of transportation from one part of the school to another part, say Ajibode or abadina, etc are often fixed. Drivers from each constituent of UI (abadina, Ajibode etc) are often represented to make five different members of the committee, and the students are represented by one student union executive (either the president or the house secretary)  to make the 6th member.  While the committee aims to address issues affecting both students and drivers, the imbalance in representation may lead to skewed decision-making and inadequate consideration of student interests.The dynamics of power and influence within the committee may disproportionately favor the driver representatives, who outnumber the student representatives five to one. This imbalance could potentially lead to decisions that prioritize the interests of the drivers over those of the students, particularly in matters concerning fare adjustments, route changes, or service quality improvements.

Comments are closed.