Anambra residents have cried out to the government to intervene and bring down exorbitant transport fares in the state.
The transport fare from Awka to Enugu has gone up to N3,500 from N700/N1,000 before the festive period.
According to a resident, Nkiru Ifebuche, the rate at which commercial drivers increase fares is alarming.
Ms Ifebuche noted that there was no increase in petrol or diesel prices, but transport fares have skyrocketed.
“In civilised countries, fares are even lowered or concessions given to some class of people during festive periods and plan to raise fare is announced to the people before the increase,” the resident complained. “What do we get here during our own festive period? Commercial motorists increase fares without notice. This is wrong.”
On Thursday, many passengers seen in Awka’s motor parks had no choice but to pay the new fares, indicating that less than 48 hours to the celebration, boarding a vehicle from Awka to Nkpor motor park to Onitsha main market costs between N500 and N600 in a minibus.
Also, commuters going from Awka to Nnewi pay N500 and the price increases further to about N1,000 after the day’s transaction against the usual N150.
A trip from Awka to the Isuanocha area now costs N400 against N200 before the yuletide.
The hike in transport fare cuts across all routes. A drop in popular ‘‘town service’’ buses previously cost N50 to N100 now goes for N400.
Peter Ugwu, another commuter, expressed sadness over the fare hike and condemned the poor perception of the festive period that marks Christ’s birth by some who profess Christianity.
Mr Ugwu urged people who inflict hardship on others during the yuletide to rethink and turn a new leaf.
Another resident, Obigaeli Ikeoye, disclosed that fares from Awka to local areas had gone up unnecessarily and dampened her spirit from going to Onitsha main market for Christmas shopping.
She expressed dismay that the high cost of transportation denied her the chance to go shopping as she would not spend all her hard-earned money on transport.