The Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company Ltd (ABUMTCO) says the cost of maintenance of its vehicles is the major challenge affecting the smooth operation of the company.
Mr Tunde Akintola, Head, Marketing and Communication of the company, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Akintola said that the company had over 200 functional buses that transport commuters within and outside Abuja environs, both in the northern, southern and eastern corridors of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said that the buses moved directly to the northern corridors which covered Gwagwalada and Kwali Area Councils, down to the Central Area, then from Zuba axis down to the city centre in Berger axis.
He said that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, had directed the company to ensure that a good number of vehicles were deployed to the city centre to transport people to their offices.
According to him, the company has a number of drivers, vendors, supervisors and administrative staff, who are capable and well trained.
“However, cost of maintenance is killing us, it is one of the major challenges facing the company. For example a good tyre of a bus goes for N300,000 and each bus use a minimum of six tires.
“You can imagine when you have up to 10 buses that need tyres, apart from the cost of other maintenance, honestly cost of maintenance is a serious issue.
“It is serious to the extent that we find it difficult to maintain the buses very well because of the high cost of spare parts. Some of our buses come for maintenance after every three days.
“We don’t just deployed vehicle with risk like other transport companies. We make sure that all our buses are in good condition and safety before we can move them to the road.
“Majority of the buses you have seen parked here are all in good condition when we need them we deployed them,” he said.
Akintola, therefore, appealed to the FCT Administration to review the monthly subsidy being given to the company because of the increase in the cost of operations.
He noted that all over the world no transport company like Abuja urban mass could survive without the support of the government because it was not profit making venture.
“It is a call to service to assist the citizens, because transportation is drives the economy, if people cannot move from one location to the other it will be difficult for any business to survive.
“Presently the price of diesel per litter is 265 to 270, which we use to buy in the past 160 to 170.
“For the pass four to five years we have not changed our transport fares and we already have not less than 100 per cent increase on the cost of operations on daily basis.
“We still charge N50 from Luge axis to town, we still charge N100 from Zuba to town in which none of the commercial vehicle can do that,” Akintola said.
He, however, commended the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, for being very supportive to the company by ensuring the release of its monthly subsidy to augment its operational cost.
Akintola also appealed to the FCT administration to establish terminal in the four corridors of territory to the Abuja urban mass transport company.
He said that Abuja urban mass transport was the safest among all the transport companies in the city, saying “even when passengers forget their things they have an assurance that they will get it.
“Apart from finance issue, we also have the challenge of conducive environment. No urban transport system can survive under Abuja environment.
“For instance in Lagos you have the bus shelter, terminals for this kind of operation, you have bus stop and people that control traffic properly.
“But we are still lacking behind here. You get to Berger Bridge, Nyanya and Zuba axis you realised that everywhere is congested and it is a risk.
“You remember what happened in 2014 when Nyanya was bombed, so we must be very careful,” he said.
He stressed the need for the FCT transportation secretariat to regulate transport in the territory with a view to check the activities of those who constitute security threat to the operations of Abuja urban mass company.