Towards the end of September, the Bus Management Committee (BMC) at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), released a notice of increment in bus fee, a review from 100 to 150 naira fares, with effect from September 20, 2023.
On September 21, the Students’ Union Caretaker Committee appealed to the BMC to reconsider the reviewed fare, but the Chairman of the committee, Mallam Bashir Mua’zu, told PEN PRESS that the University management approved the review after considering the current price of fuel in the nation.
While the overall hardship that comes with unstable fuel prices is relatable, there is need for reconsideration from the BMC with the intervention of the school management because the increment will take a toll on several students of the institution when students eventually resume.
Firstly, one of the most immediate and significant effects is the increased financial burden on the students. This increment can strain the limited budgets of many students, potentially affecting their ability to meet other essential expenses, such as course materials and meals among others.
Similarly, the increment in shuttle fees may render the bus services less accessible to a portion of the students. Students may be forced to seek cheaper alternatives in the form of less convenient modes of transportation, which could lead to lateness for classes and assessments and in extreme cases, absence.
Also, this additional cost of transportation can lead to stress and anxiety among students. Late or missed classes, due to financial constraints, can result in academic setbacks, affecting students’ grades and overall academic performance.
Further, this increment can lead to social isolation among students. Students staying off campus may restrict their trips to school to only when they have lectures, cutting back on participating in extracurricular activities, study groups, or social events, limiting their opportunities for networking and forming meaningful connections with their peers.
Additionally, the fee increment may disproportionately affect students from lower-income backgrounds, potentially creating inequalities in access to education.
The cumulative effect of financial stress, academic challenges, and social isolation can take a toll on students’ mental and emotional well-being, potentially leading to increased stress and decreased overall life satisfaction.
In light of these potential effects, it is crucial for the university management to engage with students, assess the impact of the shuttle fee increment, and explore options to mitigate its negative consequences.
The management should listen to the students’ plea and intervene with the BMC to readopt the old price to ensure that students can access affordable and safe transportation to and from the university.
1st October, 2023.
Hayatullahi Folorunsho Mudathir