For the people going to Katsina, passing through France Road in Kano metropolis, line up of small and medium-sized trucks, carrying passengers to Kurna, Rijiyar Lemo and Bachirawa areas at a makeshift motor park called Tashar Buhari (Buhari’s Motor Park), has become a common sight.
The park is patronised by mini truck drivers.
The motor park, popularly known as Tashar Buhari, got its name courtesy of the economic hardship in the country under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, truck drivers in the park told Chronicle.
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The makeshift motor park came to existence about four years ago to address challenges of people who could not afford to pay for tricycles or taxi in the absence of any mass transit system from the state government, Chronicle gathered.
Before the formation of the temporary motor park, many people were being forced to trek home if they could not muster transport fare from their daily activities in the markets.
But with the coming of the park, the commuters, mostly old men and teenage boys that engage in menial jobs, can now board the trucks to and from their destinations with as little as N40 or even free.
Hardship, high population birthed the motor park
The truck drivers also said apart from the hardship that birthed the establishment of the park; the problem of high population in the Kurna area (colloquially referred to as Chinatown because of its high population density) also forced some people to board the trucks.
A leader of the truck drivers, Malam Mani, said they decided to establish the Buhari Park to ease the difficulties the less privileged commuters were facing while shuttling for their daily bread.
He said he was once a truck driver but became the leader at the park after losing his truck.
He said he persuaded many of his colleagues to come to the park to assist.
“With the coming of Tashar Buhari, people find it easier to get to their various destinations on time, with affordable amount and less difficulty. Many people could not afford to pay N100 for transportation.
Many didn’t even have it and they had to trek from this park to the Kurna area. But if you come to this place, no matter what, you will get back home. If you don’t have money, we will beg the drivers to help you.
“We do not have permanent drivers that are always here to carry passengers. It is after they (truck drivers) finish their main work then they come to this place to carry people.
“We charge N40 per head and they carry between 15 and 20 passengers,” he added.
Mani said the truck drivers are not charged any fees since they were assisting people to get home easily.
A passenger, Malam Lawan, said he had to trek whenever he could not get money to come to the market or go back home. “But with the coming of Tashar Buhari, I can now go home with only N30.
“The hardship brought by this government is what caused all this. Before, we used to get money no matter how little, but now you may come and go home without getting one kobo. They have to pity our situation. The market system in the country has totally changed,” he lamented.
Another passenger, Sani Salisu Mai Jama’a, who was seen close to the park by our reporter, said he was not waiting for the Tashar Buhari trucks but would board one if he could not get a tricycle to Kurna.
He said poverty and the high population in Kurna area were the reasons for using the trucks, adding that the commuters decided to name the place Tashar Buhari on their own.
“Sometimes it is not that someone doesn’t have money, but the Kurna area is overpopulated and there is permanent traffic gridlock there. Some of the tricycle riders don’t go there and this adds to the difficulty.”
Mai Jama’a added that there were dangers in boarding the trucks as sometimes thieves use the opportunity to steal.
“I know a commuter who boarded one of the trucks with N70,000 in his pocket and it was stolen inside the truck. He refused to spend N500 to charter a tricycle and save his money. Is this not stinginess?
“Also, there was a time when I saw a side of the truck opened with passengers inside. And that led to a loss of life because a car passing by ran over the person that fell down,” he said.
Drivers engage in risky attitude
Mai Jama’a also alleged that the drivers engage in risky and dangerous attitude as they do not stop for passengers to alight; rather, they slow down and then the passengers have to jump down. But the drivers disputed the allegation, saying the passengers usually alight whenever the driver slows down at the traffic.
It is believed that the Buhari Park has become another source of reducing financial burdens on the drivers. Many of them who go for other jobs before coming to the park in the evening, said they get money to buy fuel and other small things for their family.
Jamilu Muhammad, one of the truck drivers, said, “I get money to buy bread, coal for cooking and sweets for my kids from this place. I work in Kofar Ruwa market and I live in Bachirawa. So in the evening, I come here to carry passengers and get from N700 to N800. Likewise in the morning, we carry people too from Rijayar Lemo to this place”.