Commuters in Lagos State have lamented what they described as the rickety nature of many commercial buses, popularly known as yellow buses.
They described the situation as one of the major causes of road crashes in the state.
It was observed that many commercial buses operating in the metropolis are in different states of disrepair with many of them without doors, side windshields, headlights, brake lights, wipers and adequate seats among others.
Some others were seen with broken windshields while a few others polluted the environment with thick smoke or noise from their exhaust pipes.
Some of the commuters who spoke on Wednesday criticised commercial drivers who they said were always putting passengers’ lives at risk rather than fixing their buses to ensure safety.
A passenger, Fatima Muyideen, regretted that most residents do not usually have any choice but to make use of the rickety vehicles.
“Do I have a choice in Lagos? I do not have a car, so I have to manage the rickety buses that are usually crowded.
“Most of these yellow buses are damaged. When passengers do not get better buses to board, they have to board the available ones despite their rickety states. All we do is to pray that we are not involved in accidents,” she said.
Another passenger identified as Tolulope recalled how a rickety bus she boarded in the past left her with a permanent scar on her hand.
“All these rickety buses will lead to accidents. I had an experience on the Third Mainland Bridge. On that day, the bus kept jerking. The passengers complained to the driver about the state of the bus but he did not listen. We had an accident and I sustained an injury leading to a permanent scar on my hand,” she said.
Another passenger simply identified as Suliat said touts contributed to the rickety state of some commercial buses with the way they hit them while extorting the drivers.
Suliat said, “I feel the touts are contributing to the issue of these damaged buses because of how they hit the buses with thick rods and extort these drivers.
“The government should make provision for unemployed individuals to buy buses and pay in instalments. As it stands, most commercial drivers do not own their buses so they do not use the buses well because they are not the real owners,” she said.
When contacted, the Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Babatunde Farinloye, said the corps was working with relevant agencies to tackle the menace of rickety vehicles through routine and special patrol operations.
“We carry out pre-trip inspection at parks for interstate commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles within the metropolis are being checked through patrol activities.
“The population of commercial vehicles and the demand for their services in Lagos are high, so the issue of rickety vehicles requires continuous attention and the command is not resting on its oars,” Farinloye said.
Also, when contacted the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, said adequate measures had been put in place to ensure that commercial vehicles are roadworthy.
Toriola said, “We are partnering with the Federal Road Safety Corps on major roads especially highways to get vehicles that are not road-worthy off the road.
“We know most commercial buses do not obey the law voluntarily. We are trying our best to make sure they obey to reduce the accident rate in Nigeria.
“We have taken our mobile testing equipment to their garages to test their vehicles to ensure they are road-worthy.”
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.