Rising Number of Female Retirees As Lagos Bus Drivers
ElevateNews takes a look at the rising number of female commercial drivers on Lagos Roads.
The rate at which female commercial drivers are increasing in Lagos is high.
Many of them, retirees, shuttle between Ikeja and ShopRite, secretariat on the popular Obafemi Awolowo Way.
The transport fare is N100 in a minibus of seven passengers. Some use their private cars to convey passengers from Nurudeen Olowopopo Drive, close to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to Ikeja.
Our correspondent could count no fewer than 10 of these women who do this work everyday.
It was gathered that about six of them are retirees and others who lost their jobs and resorted to commercial bus driving to make ends meet.
It was also gathered that a few of them are widows who must work to put food on the table for their children.
Their buses are not painted in yellow Lagos colour, which is a big challenge to this set of commercial bus operators.
Lagos State Government has warned Lagosians of the dangers of boarding unpainted commercial vehicles for security reasons.
But since the advent of Uber operation, unpainted cars have proliferated Lagos roads for transportation business.
This is a problem the government cannot really control, which of course the female retirees have also capitalised on.
However, they face extortion and arrest in the hands of the officials of the State Traffic Management Authority who harass them daily.
Our correspondent observed that these mothers are exposing themselves to so much health risk as commercial drivers.
It is a tough job. Tougher than what they had been exposed to during their service days.
Some of them, according to findings were retired teachers who took loans to buy a small bus and refused to hire drivers so that they could repay the loans in time.
Driving on Lagos roads is stressful, yet these retirees have to do it. One of them who simply identified herself as Mama Seyi said, “I have three children in the university. One in private, the other two in public. I have to pay their fees and provide feeding allowance. My husband died about six years ago when these children were in secondary schools. They are brilliant children. My husband will not forgive me if I stop their education. I do this job so that these children can become human beings. I am not ashamed. I take my drugs regularly and I am fit to go.”
But to another woman, Mrs. Seun Adelore, it is not easy to be a commercial driver in Lagos because the passengers always see drivers as irresponsible persons.
“I joined this trade when I lost my job. I was a banker. The company sacked many of us three years ago. I bought this bus, three of it from my entitlement and gave two out to other drivers.
I drive one to carry passengers from Ikeja to Alausa but I must confess it is not easy.”
She narrated how LASTMA officials had turned them to cash cow. LASTMA officials know new entrance into this business. We have a way of making them happy but I cannot disclose this to you.”
Asked about the health hazards, Adelore said that since she joined the business two years ago, there was no accident and could only thank God for protection.
“Although some of those who began before us had stopped due to their old age. We cannot do this job forever. We will quit as soon as our children are doing better outside the schools,” she stated.