ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF URBAN TRANSPORT SERVICES IN BENIN CITY, EDO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

          Benin City has one of the quality transport services in Nigeria which is located at ring road (Bobizua park) and third market (Osato park). Quality urban transport services in Benin City have been provided by public and private transport companies (Kantorovich, 2012). This has no doubt improved the socio-economic development of Benin City and Edo State large. This is evidence that transportation plays key role in the development of urban and rural areas. The role of transportation in economic development cannot be overemphasized. Transportation is the engine block of any society and hence provides room for effective socio-economic development and societal improvement (Ashenfelter and Card, 2015). According to Aweto (2015), transportation plays key role in urban development and nations building.

Research has shown that transportation alone account for about 46% of the total physical distribution cost for manufacturing companies and 28% for reseller companies. It is important to note that much such success can be accomplish in manufacturing, distribution of goods and services including the movement of people without transportation (Adeniji, 2010). It is as a result of the great importance attached to transportation that man has over the years developed various transportation modes in other to facilitate the movement of people and materials. The mode of transportation selected will greatly depend on price, time, delivery, condition and destination, passenger’s patronage, and past purchase satisfaction. This poor transportation management can therefore jeopardize the source of procurement of materials; goods and services, movement or people and even course increase in prices and loss of lives (Adefolalu, 2007).

          According to Kantorovich (2012) achieving quality urban transport services is the key objective of every company, that is, if total profit for a period is to be achieved. This cannot be achieved if the management of the transport activities in an establishment is faced with some problems such as; delay in delivery of goods, improper handling of materials resulting in damage of goods, lack of qualified personnel, inadequate transportation system in the organization, and improper maintenance of transporting system causing breakdown leading to late delivery. For the fact that many people invest in the transport industry, effective transportation management is lacking in most transport companies (Adeniji, 2010).  

Road Transportation is a necessary end right from early history. The mobility of people and materials especially in the present days become one of the greatest needs that have to be adequately satisfied on our society and economy at large (Barke and Hare, 2014). Transportation is referred to as the engine of the economy. This means that without transportation management system, the entire economy will suffer stagnation (Adefolalu, 2007). Transportation helps to bridge the gap between producers, suppliers and industrial users as well as individual commuters. Transport has been likened to the human blood circulatory system whose healthy functioning is a necessary condition for the sustenance of human life (Adeniji, 2010). Transport systems provide a key to the understanding and operation of many other systems at any different scales (Bearse, 2016). At one extreme, inter-continental transport provides essential communication between the advanced and developing worlds, while local transport to rural markets in many parts of the third world is a vital component in changing dynamic socio-economic structures (Barke and Hare, 2014).

The role of government in providing quality urban transport services in Nigeria has not been encouraging (Bearse, 2016). Government tends to neglect transportation sectors and focus on other sectors of the economy without knowing that quality urban transport services provided in any modern society could enhance effective delivery in economic growth and societal development (Bearse, 2016). As further observed by Bearse (2016), the provision of urban transport services in most Nigerian cities has been seriously affected by lack of adequate fund have resulted to poor road network, poor transportation facilities and lack of community and environmental facilities.

Transportation helps to bridge the gap between producers, suppliers and industrial users as well as individual commuters. As noted by Ashenfelter and Card (2015), there is hardly any human society or human settlement system that can function efficiently and effectively without adequate, reliable, safe and affordable transport systems. They added that the most fundamental reason for this being the catalytic effect of transport development on socio-economic growth and development. They therefore concluded that poor transport system of inadequate provision of quality urban transport services often result to social, political, environmental and economic effects.

According to Clarke (2016), transportation is no doubt an indispensible catalyst for activating and stimulating the tempo of economic, social, political and strategic development in any society. Thus, effective and efficient functioning of urban centres depends on the provision of basic infrastructures one of the most important being transport.

          Transport according to Hornby (2010) is conveying, or being conveyed or a means of conveyance from one place to another. It is the movement or displacement of persons, good and other movable possessions in time and space for a particular purpose. In human societies, this is not chaotically done because recognized paths marked out by individuals or the societies are usually followed (Sube, 2012). This could be by water, land or air. It is possible that since man from origin is a mobile being, the word transport must have entered his vocabulary as early as when he developed the act of speech (Richard and Ignatius, 2014).

          In the same vein, Filani (2005) rightly observes that the socio-economic development of any society depends to a large extent on the nature and structure of the transportation networks of the society since it provides the arteries through which the economic life stream of society flows (the people, information, raw materials and finished products) which help to build and maintain the society.

According to John, et al (2005), developing countries have several factors in common that contribute to the severity of their transport problems. Overall population growth and increasing urbanization have led, especially to the rapid growth of large cities, which have been overwhelmed by the sudden jump in travel demand. The supply of transport infrastructure lagged far behind. Public sector finances in general are so limited that funding for transport improvement is woefully inadequate. Commenting on urban transport problems in Lagos state, Nigeria, Atubi (2007a) opines that some of the most serious problem facing development planner and of the most makers in the country reside in the transport sector.

Transportation is inherently central to development of nations. It is not only a necessity to life but also have a resultant of nations. It is not only a necessity to life but also have a resultant effect on all aspect of human existence (Oyesiku, 2002). It provides access to goods, services and social activities to maintain a good quality life. It is fundamental in breaking isolation and thus strengthening individual capital base (World Bank Report, 2002; Odufuwa, 2006).

Okpala (2011) noted that transportation has been a major contributor to the economy competitive force in business. It is activity that physical connects the business to its supply chain partners, such as suppliers and passengers, and it is a major influence on the passenger’s satisfactions with the country. Transportation is required in the whole production procedures, from manufacturing to delivery to the final consumers and returns. Only a good co-ordination between each component would bring the benefits to a maximum.

In many Nigerian cities today, transportation situation has reached a crisis point. This is the consequence of several years of neglect by succeeding administrations. Therefore, it is not out of place to state transportation in Nigeria is grossly inadequate (Filani,  2002; Oyesiku, 2002; Odufuwa, 2003 and Atubi, 2009). The impact of this distressed sector on the economy or the ensuring crisis is severe, with the urban poor suffering more than any other group. The growing transport paucity has had a debilitating effect on the lives of the people and it has continued to trap and push its catchment towards poorer livelihoods (Atubi, 2012). The most devastating problem has been the lack of sustainable mobility and frequent deviant driving behaviours as an escape measure (Odufuwa, et al., 2008).

From all indications there is high level of poverty among urban households in the country. The transport infrastructure and services generally requires a complete overhauling or repair in other to make them physically sound. Also worth mentioning, are the land use mix factors that the intra-urban travel. The land use mix factor affects the intra-urban travel behavior and it has a profound influence on urban transport planning and management in general (Oyesiku, 2002).  It is against this background that this study is conducted to carry-out an assessment of the quality of urban transport services in Benin City, Edo State.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Poor road transportation management is one major problem that is affecting the growth of the economy. Kootz and Donnel (2016) posit that poor road transportation management has led to the ineffectiveness and collapse of the Nigerian road system that supposes to carry bulky goods from one city to another and has made inflation to be high. This is in turn has bounced as the road transportation system characterized by heavy duty lorries overworking the road system and the resultant effect is damages of roads causing accidents and loss of lives and property. Poor management of road transportation systems has cost the nation a damaged image, loss of huge amount of money, loss of lives and properties and most road users are greatly dissatisfied with condition of road transportation in Nigeria (Kootz and Donnel, 2016).

Road transport is the principal mode of transportation in Nigeria accounting for the vast majority of freight and passenger travel.  Over the years the road system has been subjected to heavy freight which was beyond the carrying capacity of the roads. This made the condition of the roads deteriorate and the result is that much of the road system is barely usable (Nwakamma, 2006). Hence roads were built to carry freight that could conveniently be carried by railways.

Lack of poor technological development to monitor or regulate the speed of vehicles, lack of clean vehicles, high overloading of men and goods are great problems to road transportation (Koontz, 2009). In addition, the poor attitude of drivers towards their passengers is nothing to write home about. Today, road transportation accounts for over 95% of passengers and freight transport (Ojabo, 2007).

Ashenfelter and Card (2015) emphasized that traffic congestion in Nigeria has turned mobility by road to a nightmare. Today a lot of damage have been caused by this unhealthy phenomenon Ehrlich (2017). There is a marked increase in lateness to work, school and business. There are also cases of lowered productivity, chronic fatigue and bad stress. The cumulative effect is a crashing down of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Loy, 2004). Atubi and Onokala (2005a), have asserted that, for any meaningful division of labour and specialization in production process to take place in any society, there must be an efficient and effective transport system.

In Nigeria the need for an effective transport system becomes more obvious if taken into consideration the large size of the country and the need to disperse development move (Ehrlich, 2017). The inability of Nigerians to device a better transportation system has been a detraction of the growth of the economic social and political life of the economy. Prominent among the problem, includes traveling difficulty lateness to work, movement of agricultural product, goods and services from area of production to area of utilization (Rachev, et al, 2008).

Public participation in transport delivery can be said to be profitable, otherwise none of them would continue to provide these services. On the other hand, it has not been so with government participation (Ehrlich, 2017). Evidences available from empirical studies carried out (Odeleye, 2004; Onakomaiya, 2002) showed that state urban transport services provided through the mass transit was run at a loss. The reasons include nonchalant attitude to government work by the employees, embezzlement on the part of drivers and conductors, and inadequate response to taking immediate actions on repairs and services of vehicles by government parastatals established for such purposes (Clarke, 2016). The attitude of some professional drivers also scares private investment in the areas of transport service delivery.  Majority of the transport companies composed by small sized vehicles owned and operated are low-skilled young men who migrated to cites from the countryside (Dimitrious, 2016). Over abundances of idle labour makes road transport an attractive employment opportunity. This condition leads to ignorance of passengers’ safety and discipline in using road (Angenent, et al, 2013).

Most transport companies in Nigeria are delivery poor service quality, poor maintenance of fleet and unsafe service. Big share of the vehicle fleet consists of second hand vehicles purchased from industrialized countries, ages of the vehicles are quite old and there is a low maintenance budget (Dimitrious, 2016). Reliability, convenience and travel time are considered to have a great impact of passenger satisfaction in relation with the type of the trip, but most transport companies do not take it seriously. This research seeks to identify the problem and find out possible measures and solution to the problems.

1.3     Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main overall objective of this research is to carry-out an assessment of the quality of urban transport services in Benin City, Edo State. However, the specific objectives include to:

1.     Identify the impact of urban road transport management on the economy of Benin City, Edo State.  

2.     Identify the problem of road transportation management in Benin City, Edo State.

3.     assess the quality of urban transport service provided by transport companies in Benin City, Edo State

4.     explore the operation of urban road transport management in Benin City, Edo State.

5.     Make useful recommendation to road transportation management in Benin City, Edo State.

1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in due course;

1.     Does urban road transport management have significant impact on the economy of Benin City, Edo State?  

2.     Do transport companies have adequate modern technology and infrastructure to the satisfaction of passengers, and road users?

3.     What is the quality of urban transport service provided by transport companies in Benin, Edo State?

4.     Does urban road transport management play an important role in the movement of goods and services?

5.     What do you think are the possible solution to the problems associated with urban transport system?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

1.     There is no significant difference in the quality of urban transport service provided by public and private transport companies in Benin City, Edo State.

2.     Road transportation does not play significant role in the movement of goods and services.

3.     Road transportation management has no significant impact on the economy of Benin City, Edo State.

4.     Public/private transport companies do not have adequate modern technology and infrastructure to the satisfaction of road users and passengers.

1.6     Significance of the Study

This research work has academic significance due to its relevance in the field of educational institution most specifically undergraduates in transportation, marketing and geography and regional planning which is among the educational unit that trains future managers, administrators and planners. Etc. its findings and suggestion(s) are likely to generate academic debate on the matter and interest among scholars.

The study could also help the ministry of transport to better understand the current situation in road transportation management. And accordingly makes changes to address the factors that consequently help to formulate policies aimed at solving the problems of road transportation management on road users and commuters. The study will be of great importance to private and public organization such as transport companies and individuals concerned with the business of transportation; it will serve as a guide on the area of implementing quality assessment of urban transport services, staff training on urban transport system, to address the obstacles hindering effect on road users and passengers.

Lastly, students and researchers would want to benefit from this study. Also, the study is to immense benefit in the area of recommendation that would help in improving the general performance of the company in question.

1.7     STUDY AREA

          The study area (Benin City) is located in the Niger Delta Region of the South-South Geo-political zone of Nigeria (Obi, 1994).

1.7.1  Location and Size

Benin City is the administrative headquarters of Edo State. It lies on latitude 060 02’ and 060 161 North and longitude 050 051 and 050 451 East, the city is about 117. 4km2 inland from the mouth of Benin River which flow into Gulf of Benin (Obi, 1994).

It is a flat city at an altitude of about 80m above sea level, on the Benin River; it comprises three Local Government Area (L.G.As), Egor, Ikpoba-Okha and Oredo (Brinkhoff, 2010). The centre of Benin is located on a depression which could be rightly described as a basin or a low lying peninsular and this is also surrounded by undulating hills (Brinkhoff, 2010). Benin City is a nodal town which occupies an area of about 68 square kilometer (26.3 square mile) (Brinkhoff, 2010).

 

 

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1.7.2 Geology and Relief

Benin City is underlined by the sedimentary rocks of Pre-Cambrian origin, which are formed as a result of accumulation of some various rocks. Benin City is found to have a very poor topography, which as a result have led to most of the erosional problems that are been encountered in the areas. Benin City is located on sides of hilly areas and as a result of this given rise to easy occurrence of flooding in the area.

1.7.3 Climate, Vegetation and Soil

The climate of the area lies within the savanna belt and therefore has two distinct seasons a year. These are wet and dry seasons. The wet season begins in late March with about 200mm of rainfall. This is experienced towards the end of the rainy season. The rainy season affected by the south-west winds which brings about the maritime (MT) air mass that blows across the Atlantic oceans rainfall figures for Benin City are about 1175mm. The climate is tropical Savannah (Koppen Classification AW). Heavy flooding occurs during the rainy season (Kaka, Awharitoma, and Okonji, 2002).

The dry season which last from November to mid March is usually a period of high temperature (350C) and intense heat. By November, this area is so dry but there are some occasional shows of rain within this period which is less than 25mm, the water level is greatly reduced at this time, and farming activities are almost brought to a standstill. The Sahara affects the area especially between November and February (Kaka, et al., 2002). This is the cold harmarttan wind. During the period, the atmosphere is dry, dusty, hazy and cold. Temperature records here show an average of between 220C and 300C (Kaka, et al., 2002).

In terms of vegetation, Edo State has a rain forest within the low land rain-forest belt of the south and forest savanna of the North. Thus, the state can be divided into two major vegetation belts. Benin City lies within the rain forest belt, with grasses often exceeding 1½ meters high punctuated with trees of crooked and granted stems of about ten to twelve meters, predominate all round, with the exception of the river valley where trees of about thirty to thirty five meters are found. Trees found in and around Benin are food trees e.g mango, bean seed, cashew, orange and palm trees etc (Kaka, et al., 2002).

The climate and soil condition favours the growth of plants, but the persistent annual bush fire has reduced the vegetation to that of secondary vegetation. It is pertinent to note that along valley of Ikpoba river, high forest free like obeche, Iroko, walnuts are found  most of its vegetation are derived savanna as a result of agricultural practices that is been carried soil (Brinkhoff, 2010).

In  terms of soil, the that are  found in Benin city are mainly sand, and mud, which are loosed and unconsolidated which as result of its loose particles give rise to the high erosional process that is experienced  in the area (Akpovi, 2005). The type of soil found in Benin City is a sandy loam soil and it is made up of Benin formation. Most of these soil types do not support the wide growth of agricultural crops; hence they can only be used for the building of some house pattern found in the area (Akpovi, 1984). Most of the soil found in Benin do not contain the mineral constituent to that are need by plants, hence they do not support filling in the soil, since they are very porous and cannot check erosion (Akpovi, 1981).

This has also contributed to the high rate of flooding that is been experienced in this region. Most of the soil that are found in this area can only support fruit crops and very few food crops. In some parts of Benin lateritic soils tend to occur (Akpovi, 2005).

1.7.4 Population of the Study Area

Benin is an urban agglomeration with a population of about 1.2million people (Brinkhoff, 2010). Benin City has a total population of about 1, 147,188 as at 2006 census data. Edo state has a population of 4million people (NPC, 2006; 2006 Census Population); with an annual growth rate of 2.8% while according to the USAID reports in 2002. Edo State was estimated to have a population of 2.86million (in 1996, 2.1 million of which 50.13% were male) (FBS, 2007). The state is multi-religious and multi-ethnic with Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion as the most dominant.

1.7.5 Agricultural/Socio-Economic Activities

Benin City is an urban area with a wide range of economic activities some of which are agriculture, industries and transportation. The main crops are rubbers, oil palm, cocoa, yam, cassava, maize, rice and plantain, sugar cane, cashew, oil palm (and its derivative products), groundnuts, soya beans, tomatoes, cotton and tobacco are also produced fruit like pineapples, coconuts, oranges, avocados as well as green leafy vegetables, all grow abundantly in the area (Obi, 1994).

Edo State is blesses with such industrial mineral resources as quartzite, marble, clay, limestone, chalk, gypsum, gold, petroleum, kaolin and lignite (Omuta, 2006). Benin City is the site for numerous industrial outfits: soft drink factories two large breweries (including one of the largest breweries for Guinness stout outside of Dublin, Ireland) wood and timber processing industries, printing and publishing firms, textile mills, carpet manufacturing floor tile producers animal feeds industries, pharmaceutical firms and so on. Industrial activities include rubber, timber and food processing (Obi, 1994). There is significant horticultural activity within the metropolitan area. A large proportion of the population lives in low-income settlements. A state owned Cement Company is located at Okpiela (Etsako LGA) close to substantial limestone deposits (Obi, 1994).

In terms of transportation, Benin city as the state capital is a major centre of traffic routes to Warri and Sapele (both in Delta state, they are major seaports and oil towns), to the Eastern cities of Onitsha, Enugu, Calabar and Port Harcourt and to the western city of Ibadan, Abeokuta and the former political capital of Lagos, are especially well traveled (Sah and Okojie, 2007).

A major federal trunk road runs east-to-west through Benin City, connecting Lagos and the western states and incorporating the Benin Shagamu express way. Buses and taxis operates on many routes in the main connecting  services for all part of the state intro-town services are also provided by the Edo municipal transport services as well as by some private transportation companies in Benin City. Benin City has an airport that is serviced by Nigerian airways, ADC Airlines, EAS Airlines, Arik air, Kabo air, Aero contractor etc (Sah and Okojie, 2007).

 

 

1.8     Scope of the Study

          The scope of this research work was strictly based on the assessment of the quality of urban transport services in Benin City, Edo State. And to offer suggestion(s) on the problems associated with urban transport system.

          The scope of the study was initially designed to cover all the streets and quarters in Benin City. However, because of time and financial constraints, the scope was scaled down. In this regard only selected major areas were covered in this study.

1.9     Limitation of the Study

In the course of the project, some of these problems were encountered.

Non availability of information materials in the library on this particular topic became another stumbling block on the way. But through the use of the researcher was able to gather information and ideas to make up this write up.

          Next is time, with the work load of a final year student complete with the exams, one cannot say time was a friend.

          The study is limited by a number of factors among which are:

·        Time factor: The had to spent a lot of time in this research work and at the same time facing his normal academic activities which was very stressful since research writing requires a lot of time.

·        Financial constraints: it is normal that every reliable research work requires a lot of fund to carryout and this was not an exceptional case as finance almost hindered the researcher from not completely this work.

·        Non-availability of materials: non availability of information material in the library on this particular topic became another stumbling block on the way since secondary materials were not readily available as at when needed. But though the use of the internet and some prominent scholars really helped in achieving the success of this research work, also I was able to gather information and ideas to make up this write up.

·        Language/communication barrier: It was almost impossible to communicate to some people during the oral interview with them as language was a major barrier and thus almost hindered the collection of data.

Despite all these constraints, this did not deprive the researcher from achieving dependable result. The researcher went on to use available information at his disposal to make the write up for this work.


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