Agitations on Thursday trailed the implementation of new tariffs at Admiralty toll plaza and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge by Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC), as motorists and passengers plying the Lekki-Epe corridor said it would worsen the hardship being faced by Nigerians at this time.
Their agitations was predicated on the premise that the upward review of the toll rates would lead to a corresponding increase in transportation fares, as commercial vehicle operators are bound to pass the cost to their passengers.
But the management of LCC said it was satisfied with what it termed “massive compliance” from motorists on the first day of the implementation of the new tariffs.
Managing director of LCC, Mohammed Hassan, who gave an update while speaking with journalists, said the increment was an economic decision at the right time so that they would not continue to increase the tariff every now and then.
He noted that the last review was seven years ago, but there had been series of consultations going on to ensure that they don’t do the review all the time.
On the timing, Hassan said: “The more we wait, the more we experience new issues. In November last year, we made an attempt to carry out the review but the governor was not happy. He asked us to make more consultations, which we have done now. It was called off and despite that; motorists were already paying and complying.
“We now sat down and started this during the Christmas, but later stepped it down. We decided to tackle it once and for all, and take care of the challenges.”
He urged motorists to go e-tag, stressing that motorists who use e-tags were entitled to 10 percent or 50 percent discounts, depending on their usage.
Following the increase, commercial buses and motorcycles plying the axis now pay N100 as against N80 on each trip, while those with e-tag now pay N90.
Saloon cars and tricycles now pay N200 per trip as against the former N120, those with e-tag pay N180; SUVs, mini-vans, light pick-up trucks now pay N400 and N360 for those with e-tag.
Every non-commercial bus with maximum capacity of 26 seats pays N1,000 and N900 with e-tag, and motorcycles with 200cc capacity and above now pay N200 and N180 for those with e-tag. The state government initially halted the proposed tariff increase on December 5, 2017.
The implementation of the new rates led to heavy gridlock as some motorists claimed they were not aware LCC was increasing the tolls. Some of the road users said that the development would add to their hardship.
Jane Alichi, an interior decorator in Ikoyi, appealed to the state government to consider the economic situation in the country and look for other avenues to absorb the cost.
“Government should help the masses. They should be making deliberate efforts to cushion the effect of the economic hardship now,” she said.
A civil servant who lives on the Lekki-Ajah axis, Ehijimeto Modu, appealed to the state government to improve the efficiency of the alternative route for motorists.
“They (government) should fulfil their promise to people who live on the axis that they will create alternative routes on the Lekki-Epe Expressway. They have left the alternative route ineffective to force all of us to be using the tollgate. Now they have increased the toll, it is not fair at all,” he said.
Bibi Chuka, a student of the Lagos State Polytechnic said that the increase would result in hike in transportation fares on the axis. “In Lagos State of today, transportation cost is already high. I am not in support of the increase because transporters will use that as an excuse to charge more,” she said.