I am a native of Arondizuogu in Imo state and it is mandatory that if you must get married traditionally, you have to come to the village with your partner-to-be and his family members to do all the traditional rites involved.
My younger sister has finally left the single and desperate ladies club by finding her “Mr Right”. So, our entire Lagos Family had to troop to the village to get her married off traditionally. Thankfully, it fell on the Easter holiday. We all decided to make it a road trip because there is nothing better than travelling in a group, and of course there’s all that sightseeing and bonding to expect.
We chose ABC Transport, which has been in existence for over 20 years, a remarkable achievement in the transportation business and the company has a very good safety record to boot.
In truth, I’ve been travelling with them for a while because they get me to my destination hassle-free. Unfortunately, there were too many complications this time around – from the first booking till the final stop!
We had to purchase tickets ahead of time at the ABC Transport terminal in Jibowu (Yaba area of Lagos) to avoid any last minute rush. It had been two years since i had traveled with them but i was not prepared for the sight. The whole compound had a run-down air about it, while the ticket office itself looked dilapidated. I almost turned back thinking they had moved, save for the usual ABC-level of activity.
I proceeded inside and the interior was not much better. It looked like a place that would easily fit into a 1950’s tour. When I got to the counter, I asked to pay with my ATM card hoping to use their PoS machine and shockingly, they didn’t have one. How on earth would a big company like ABC not use POS in this present time of cashless policy? The risk of maintaining a cash system for intercity travel in Nigeria was not worth thinking about. I had to look for a nearby bank to withdraw money.
Come good Friday, I left the house early in the morning with my Aunt and cousins to meet up with the scheduled time – 7 a.m. We got there at almost 6:30a.m, rushed in to clear our luggage and board the bus. Went through the typically rigorous security check and finally got on the bus. This was starting to feel like ABC Transport once again.
While, we were waiting for the company to clear the Coach driver and attendant, and give them the necessary documents to enable us commence the trip, a woman with two kids got on the bus. One of the kids looked about four while the other was merely a baby. She was trying to navigate through the aisle to locate her seat while struggling with her children and a carry-on.
Finally locating her seat, she realized a man in his fifties had taken it. Apparently, the woman had paid for two seats – one for herself and the infant, the other for her four-year old daughter. In buying the tickets, they made it perfectly clear that she would be seated beside her four-year old who could not be left to seat on the bus far from her mother on a journey of almost 7 hours.
Intimating that there must have been a mix-up, this woman tried to explain to the man but he refused to budge! The woman called the attention of the company and the man told them that he needed to sit there because of his health. A lady seated in front of the man offered her seat since it was the same position but the devil of a man refused.
I was surprised when the solution the company offered was for her to take a single seat and refunded her daughters ticket money. With no other option, she was left to share a seat with her two kids. A sympathetic passenger offered to help her daughter.
Eventually, we commenced our journey and everything seemed settled for the time being. At some point after Ore, the little 4 year old girl became restless – as kids that age are wont to do and of course she went to her mother’s side. There was clearly no space for her beside her mother, and so she sat on the floor at her mother’s feet.
This led to a mild case of motion sickness as the girl kept feeling dizzy and nauseous even throwing up a couple of times. Throughout the journey, i kept thinking about the woman and feeling sorry for the child who had to endure such hardship for a planned 7-hour trip which went on for over 10 hours.
There was nothing remotely ‘abc’ about this trip. From the state of the buildings, the lack of modern payment technology, which in itself spoke volumes about the company’s security awareness, the poor poor customer service and the total disregard for customer feedback and conflict resolution, ABC Transport company gets a round-tripping FFF for the easter experience we were given.
Original Content: Chioma Nwadike; Edited by Sola Oyero
Impression: A jalopy bumpy 4/10
Customer service is extremely important and that includes the look of your business. Your premises should be where customers feel safe and comfortable. It also means you should try to reduce as much stress as possible.
ABC Transport as a brand has a reputation, carefully built over years has been tarnished almost irreparably by this one experience. It wasn’t one thing about the trip, it was several elements all gone wrong.
The use of PoS machines is vital in the today’s Nigeria, especially if you want to compete with other companies. While going to the ATM machine at Jibowu, nothing stops would-be customers from finding an easier alternative?