June 17, 2015
I watched an amazing documentary on the beginnings of ABC Transport while on board one of their coaches to Eastern Nigeria. Frank Nneji started the business with six mini-buses after a trip in one of the older buses which left him dissatisfied with the level of service. The business is much bigger now, twenty-two years later. The courtesy I observed in a number of the staff was relatively impressive but I must say there are still a few who may be described as touts in nice uniforms, excuse the language.
I appreciate the culture of promptness in the departure times, and the regular communication with passengers through the public address system both at the park and on the bus. The departure times and other announcement could be heard quite clearly every now and then at the park so that if the place was bigger and cleaner it could be mistaken for an airport boarding gate. When there was a problem with the engine’s cooling system, the staff on the bus actually informed us, apologizing. That is quite rare in the Nigeria transport business.
I had a problem though with the 90km/h speed limit. I agree with this as a safety measure but who wants to sit in the same position for seven to ten hours? 100km/h would not do much harm, would it? We could save an hour or two and possibly come all the way to Umuahia before 7:00 PM rather than 9:00 PM. And the issue of not carrying hand luggage? Where is that done? Who will guarantee the safety of a laptop in the booth?
All said and done, I did appreciate the trip. I should mention the Jollof Rice served for breakfast was good, apparently cooked to suit someone on a journey: not too oily, no salad, not much pepper. I certainly admire the business sense of Frank Nneji. Trail blazers like this are required in greater numbers in Africa. We have enough people who complain about a problem and do nothing about it.