The campus shuttle, the official public transportation scheme that brings in students who seek to come into this ‘ivory tower’ from two major terminals -Bariga and Yaba- has a steady amount. For some years, specifically in the last four years, it has remained 50 naira. An undergraduate of a 4 year discipline remembers when it was #30. However, due to the fuel pump price it has remained #50 despite the fuel crisis.
There have been occasions whereby issues come up between some students and drivers concerning the availability of balance. Balance, in commuting is of great importance as there is usually a problem where an individual fails to provide the driver or the bus conductor the exact amount. Most of the time, such passengers are neglected at the bus park, some ‘smart’ passengers because of the fear of being
neglected do not declare their exact denomination; thereby causing problems and
delays for drivers. If there is something that drivers detest ,it is delay; as it is occasioned by lack of balance.
Sometimes, passengers with busy schedule forfeit their balance for drivers to their delight, some other times, they will ask the passengers to sort themselves out leaving them with an amount of money to balance themselves equitably. The recent account cannot be over looked, where two students were battered with words by the driver over the issue of balance. Among these two
passengers were an unidentified female student who had # 200 and University of Lagos Students’ Union welfare secretary 1, Olanisinmi Oluwatobi, who had #500 notes as cash in hand for a trip of #50,the uproar that it caused at the campus bus park further exposed the kind of relationship which exists between students and these drivers.
Press Club had a chat with a representative of the Bus Union, Mr. Tony, he maintains that the relationship is cordial. He encouraged students to assist drivers with balance, he also mentioned several occasions that drivers had been beaten up by students because of the issue of balance.
He agreed that the notorious driver must have spoken too much perhaps more than he should have said; on handling of the driver, he agreed that the rest is better imagined, he blamed the current economic situation as reason for lack of smaller denominations as it becomes difficult to give balance for higher denominations.
According to Charles Adegunoye, University of Lagos Students’ Union Public Relation Officer, the union decided to act not because of the person involved but because it was on the spot report. Their action was meant to be an example to others who are fond of assaulting the sensibilities
of students. Oluwatobi , was said to have boarded the shuttle from Yaba , back from a vigil at around 5:30am with #500 and a female passenger with #200. From investigation, Oluwatobi was willing to get his balance subsequently but the driver continued with unprintable words, it was discovered that ULSU detained the bus for two hours, before it was released for business. The Press Club commends the efforts of ULSU in sustaining the welfare of students on campus. We, however, implore students (passengers) to co- operate with drivers by providing them with the exact amount or not too high denominations, in order to arrest the incidence of balance.
Although drivers have the responsibility to provide right balance to the passenger, but students have a duty as well to assist them by not being unnecessarily rude and unmannered , both parties have a duty to have a mutual understanding on an amount as it should be declared upon entry. But on no condition should passengers be denied entry because of a denomination as there can be an endearing understanding.
Press Club supports the pragmatic steps of University of Lagos Students’ Union for taking appropriate measures in ensuring that the dignity of students are restored and their sanctity upheld. Going by this, Bus Union operates because of students. We hope that the Union did not just act because of the personality involved; as it should be based on doing justice, redeeming the sanctity of students and not slamming justice for the sake of interest, as we expect that they will stand up for 25,000 students or more and
ensure that justice within the frame work of law is followed.
It is expected that there will be equal measures to punish rude passengers who take delight in harassing drivers, we expect that there will be constant and continuous monitoring by the Students Union coupled with adequate feedback by students. It is not out of place to hope that this measure is not going to become one of the exercises that would be abandoned. We call for peace and mutual respect between the bus operators and students, we also call for intensity in the type of training given drivers as it should
not only be based on safe driving but on human relationship. CUSTOMER CARE is an essential curriculum that should be included in order to maintain a healthy, mutual and progressive relationship between passengers and drivers.