Long distance road transport owners, whose operations on various routes were banned for more than three months as part of the measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, seem to be leaving no room for error as they comply with the government directives on their resumption.
Following the formal announcement on Monday, June 29, lifting the ban, the Federal Ministry of Transportation had dispatched a comprehensive document to the companies containing the guidelines and protocols for the safe transportation of passengers.
At GUO Transport Co. Ltd terminals in Lagos last week, intending passengers and other customers’ attention was intermittently drawn to a notice that listed compulsory guidelines that all had to comply with while on the premises and before boarding.
The checklist at GUO terminals included temperature checks, use of face mask, washing of hands before purchasing ticket and boarding, contactless boarding and seating, as well as use of hand sanitisers.
Intending passengers were advised to come with their own pocket sanitisers even as some were provided at each terminal for everybody’s use.
GUO Transport managing director, Maduabuchi Okeke, disclosed that the same guidelines are also visible on the company’s website and social media handles, because many of the customers book their trips online.
“We always enjoin them (the customers/travellers) to be conscious of the fact that COVID-19 is real. They should, therefore, play their own part in ensuring safety for all by complying with the guidelines,” Okeke said, adding, “as it is in Lagos, so it is in all our terminals across the country.”
The situation was the same at Ifesinachi Transport Co, where the chief operating officer, Paul Mamah, assured clients that the company was adhering to the safety guidelines from the Federal Government on containing the pandemic.
Mamah said the company provides sanitisers and liquid soap for hand washing, even as travellers are usually advised to arrive at the terminals about an hour prior to boarding to enable the crew complete the necessary preventive checks before departure.
“To guarantee social distancing and the safety of all passengers, all our buses admit only half of the full capacity. Mouth and nose covering is compulsory for our staff and passengers,” the Ifesinachi COO said.
Other transport companies that are back on the road and following the guidelines include ABC Transport Plc, which deployed brand new luxury buses to its Executive Coach service on Lagos (Jibowu) -Abuja route; Izu Chukwu Transport; Efex Executive; Chisco Transport; and Bonny Way Motors.
Chairman/CEO of Bonny Way Motors, Chief Boniface Nwachukwu, and some other owners lamented that the seating arrangement, which requires operators to carry only one passenger on seats for two in a luxury bus, has led in an increase in fare, which scares away intending travellers, resulting in the vehicles departing with very few passengers on board.