We can categorically tell you with all sincerity that all the above attributes are fast fading away. In fact, the once-lively and vibrant bus company is now a shadow of its old self. Reports gathered from long-standing customers of the Associated Bus Company Plc indicate that the company is fast defrauding its customers and shamelessly too does not care at all what anyone thinks.
Firstly, the frequency with which its buses break down on the road is a clear indication that these buses are no longer properly catered for. If it is one or two occurrences in a while, it is explainable but when it becomes more than a weekly occurrence, then there is an issue of grave concern. But even with the above stated, it still pales into insignificance when compared to the nightmares of the Abuja and Lagos-bound passengers.
[showads ad=GLO]The ABC Transport services to and from Lagos and Abuja are a very important one in the sense that most passengers who ply this route are businessmen and women who leave Lagos at night with the intention of arriving Abuja in the early morning. Some of them already have fixed appointments at the various embassies in Abuja, while some have important transactions at the various government parastatals. So it becomes a nightmare when such a journey is interrupted by very avoidable circumstances.
According to Mr. Lazarus who says he holds the ABC Gold Card for four years now, he has seen ABC go from bad to worse. The buses are never serviced, so they always end up packing up with passengers in the middle of the deadliest forest in Nigeria, the Kogi-Okene bush path. Mr. Lazarus said he has complained to ABC management times without number about restoring normalcy in their transport services “but it is obviously falling on deaf ears.” According to a business woman, Alhaja Mulikat, its style of operation has degenerated to daylight 419. “ABC would charge you N6,900 for the Executive Sleeper Bus which provides for more space and leg room for resting the feet well. But in actuality, they know that the Executive Sleeper Bus is not available. So when it’s time to leave, they turn up with very old rickety buses that are not worth more than N4,500 in the travel market and by then you have no choice but to board and go with them. Along the way, the conductor begins to refund a meager N200 to passengers.
In the words of a big time phone dealer at the GSM Village Abuja, Mr. Ugbala, “ABC transport Services is obviously in disarray as the company is plunging low in its services to customers on daily basis”. He went further to say, “I used to use them before to ferry my goods from Lagos to Abuja but I have since stopped and moved to another which seems to be far more efficient in its services. ABC transport will take your parcel and will not deliver as at when expected the next day but much later because their vehicles broke down on the way. It has because a very regular occurrence so I had to dump them for good.” [showads ad=GLO]According to most of the customers who poured their anger on the Frank and Jude Nneji-run transport company, it is wrong for a corporate organization to defraud its customers with impunity. Temporarily, they would think they are making huge profits from scamming people but in the long run, they will have themselves to blame.
But the most vocal in the criticism of ABC transport services is Mr. Kelvin, a government consultant in the telecoms sector, who says his staff travels with the bus company frequently and all are diamond card carrying members of ABC, meaning they are top priority customers of the company. Hear him, “This company is a sinking ship whether the owners agree or not; how can you rip off your customers shamelessly for services you know too well you cannot provide? They charge you for a roomy executive bus, they carry you on a dead beat jalopy bus not worth carriage of dogs in Afghanistan, they tell you bus leaves Lagos by 5pm but in actuality bus leaves Lagos by 9pm, meaning if you have early morning appointment in FCT, you are finished because you won’t get to Abuja until 12pm or even 1pm considering the fact that their buses now always develop problems on the road. But most frightening is how this ABC organisation is toying with people’s lives. You know a bus is not good enough, why put it on the road only for people to be stranded in the middle of thick forest at odd hours of the day? It is the height of wickedness and evil-mindedness on the part of the owners to risk the lives of innocent Nigerians just for profit making. I have lost so much in terms of materials and businesses. On a certain day, my staff and I had a presentation to make at the National Assembly, Abuja, for my project to be approved. My boys who were coming with some tools and materials couldn’t make it to the Senate that day because the bus packed up on the road and they got to Abuja after the following day. I lost the business as I couldn’t get a second chance for presentation. The fact is, the company is on an all-time low and I wonder how people are buying into their worthless shares. It won’t take long before investors realize painfully that they got it totally wrong in their choice of investment, because sooner or later, the truth will prevail.”
Mr. Josiah who is a legal practitioner and travels frequently with ABC came down even harder on them. According to the Lagos-based lawyer, “myself and quite a number of articulated customers have come together with the purpose of addressing this corporate 419 practices by ABC Transport Services. We are still meeting and gathering data, when we are done and ready to take the bull by the horn, ABC Transport will not only hear from some of its most consistent customers but will be rudely shocked by our collective civilized action, for it is unheard of that a company will glaringly and shamelessly work against the progress of its customers just for its only selfish interests.”
The ABC’s fall from grace to grass seems to just be taking off and promises to churn out more dramas and surprises. We at Global News will be keeping tab and dishing the dirt as it comes.
Back in the days, Associated Bus Company also known as ABC Transport used to be the best amongst the many luxurious bus companies littered all over the federation. It prided itself through its esteemed service and comfort in comparison with other transport companies. In fact, at any of its local terminals around the country, it was very much like what an airline would put in place. The style of operation was totally alien to the modus operandi of the average luxurious bus company. It was efficient, reliable, professional, punctual, very receptive with unbridled first class hospitality, that by the time it went plc few years later, Nigerians felt they were making investment by buying into it. In fact, the CEO, Mr. Frank Nneji had so re-branded it that he alongside other big-time businessmen found themselves as some sort of think-thank for Mr. President’s economic team.