By Prisca Sam-Duru
The rate at which the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit System, Lagos BRT, disappoints passengers these days, is quite disheartening. There’s hardly any day you get to the bus terminals that you’ll not end up spending close to one hour or more before boarding a bus to your destination.
The situation on Sunday August 7, 2022, at the Ikorodu garage terminal was most painful and a display of gross inefficiency on the part of the operators. It was worst for passengers who were waiting for buses going to TBS and Costain. The buses plying Oshodi and Fadeyi routes arrived in trickles; like one in every 30 minutes. But, because of the situation, the exhausted passengers on queue were grateful that at least, they were not completely abandoned.
Matters are made worse when there’s no supervisor or coordinator to inform the passengers of developments. This is an area government must pay attention to. It needs to upgrade its customer care service, that is if it has a functional one, because one does not see the reason no one seems to be in control of things at the terminals. People who speak or behave like touts must not be seen around the terminals posing to be working for the government or companies in charge of the buses.
After waiting for 3 hours, at the Ikorodu terminal that Sunday without any bus plying TBS route arriving, Miss Damilare lamented the lack of monitoring team to checkmate the activities of the personnel on ground. “No checks and balances and when you report the erring personnel, nothing happens.
They are literally at liberty to do what pleases them.
”How can someone come to the bus terminal and wait for over two hours and still leave for an alternative means of transportation. The worst is that no one is willing to address us; no information, just nothing and when you approach them to enquire what is happening, as in why the buses aren’t coming, they treat you rudely. In fact, they’ll ask if you are the only stranded passenger”.
“This government has done us dirty, I knew from the beginning it will be disastrous”, says another passenger; a young lady, Ini, who later revealed she was going to TBS for a stage play at Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
According to her, she arrived the terminal before 11am on Sunday and as at some minutes after 2pm when this chat took place, she was still waiting for a bus going to TBS. While a good number of people, who got tired of waiting, ran after commercial vehicles, Ini, this reporter and few others stayed put, hoping and praying a bus would come pick them. And their reason for waiting? “I already loaded my card with the amount I need tro and fro TBS.
If I join commercial buses now, l may be stranded on the way because I’m not sure BRT will be available when I’m ready to go home.” Aside hitches experienced whenever there is scarcity of fuel, it has been discovered that a big problem causing delay at the terminal is that people do not know when it is the drivers’ break time.
And about this, so many aggrieved passengers wondered what stops them from writing boldly on the banners they use for advertising here, when they go on break so that they can plan their journey appropriately?
Tired of waiting, Mrs Aderonke, an elderly woman, quite enlightened and well-travelled, narrated that “There was a time when you come to the Ikorodu terminal around 1pm, you’ll not get a bus until after 2pm. Some people speculated that it was break time and that the drivers will need to go back to their depot and hand over to those taking over from them.
Now, like what is happening today, we have been here, standing because of course there are no chairs, since 11 am. This is absolutely unfair.
So, when is the break time? Is it 11am or 1pm? Why would a government treat people like this? Go to Kenya, you will marvel at the way they’ve organised these things.
”These politicians travel abroad, they see how things are down, they enjoy fruits of hard work, honesty and patriotism by their hosts, why on earth is it difficult for them to do the same thing here to reduce our suffering?”
”Maybe they do not have diesel. And that shows how dumb government can be. Imagine that they do not have a diesel depot. In fact, it’s time we began to education people on what good governance is all about so that they don’t settle for less again. We have suffered enough! Can you imagine increasing transport fare yet there’s still gross inefficiency in operation? One would have thought that the increase in fare would bring about an improvement in operation, but we were wrong!”
Mrs Aderonke who was visibly worn out having stood all through, left to search for an alternative transport but not before declaring that “God will deal with these people. They will not rest until they give this country rest”.