Residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital was stranded on Wednesday as taxi drivers under the aegis of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) protested the astronomical hike in the price of ticket from N200 to N350.
The commercial drivers who mobilized themselves as early as 8 am expressed their grievances at how the leadership of the NURTW in the state were allegedly siphoning fund in less than three weeks in office.
Many of the drivers were seen forcing their members to drop passengers so as to join in the protest.
Activities were paralysed at the ever busy Oba Adesida road as the commercial drivers blocked all the adjourning routes to the streets.
The taxi drivers asked for the immediate downward review of their ticket fee of N350 which they claimed also included the Local Government ticket fee.
The protesting taxi drivers specifically said they did not want to collect Local Government ticket any longer.
The drivers demanded that the union should make an upward review of the current transport fares per drop from N50 to N100 since it was jacking up the ticket fee.
A driver, Mr. Femi Adebayo, accused the leadership of the union of being corrupt, noting that taxi owners were already tired of their policies in the state.
“We are saying capital NO to increase in ticketing fee because this would further put hardship on the passengers in this current economic situation”, he said.
Also, some of the passengers kicked against the high cost of the tickets and said they would resist any form of increase in transport fare, which was being orchestrated by the NURTW.
A passenger, Wunmi Adefarasin, noted that increasing transport fare will further put hardship on residents who patronise commercial vehicle owners in the state.
“We are just begging the taxi drivers and their leaders not to increase the fee for inter transport in the state”, he added
The timely intervention of security agencies saved the protest from been hijacked by some hoodlums who were also mobilizing to join in the protest.
Jacob Adebo, the Ondo state Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) while reacting said the leadership of the union was already talking to the protesting taxi drivers.
Adebo asked the drivers to be calm and go about their activities, promising that the issue would soon be solved by the leaders of the union amicably.