After waiting for 1 hour at the Ilorin loading bay of Crown Line passengers heaved a sigh of relief when the young driver started the engine of the bus to signal the beginning of their trip from Ilorin to Lokoja.
Some passengers who noticed that two of the tyres were almost flat insisted that the driver get it fixed before they left Ilorin and he did.
All was well until they got to Otun Ekiti in Ekiti State when they noticed that one of the tyres was malfuntioning. They stopped the driver and insisted they change the bad tyre but discovered to their surprise that the bus has no spare tyre! To make matters worse, there was no jerk nor spanner in the bus!
It dawn on all that a new tyre must be bought before they can proceed with the trip. The driver told the disenchanted passengers that no monetary arrangement was made for unforeseen expenses as he was only given money for fuel which he bought before the contingent left Ilorin.
A call was put across to the manager in Lokoja, Mr. Tope, to give the driver go ahead to loan money from passengers for the purchase of tyre but a lady picked his line. The lady claimed the manager was asleep. A passenger call his number again and the same lady picked again and told him the manager was still on bed. Angered by her response, a female passenger called again and was told the manager ‘is not at home’. As passengers heaped pressure on the disillusioned driver to sort things out anyhow, one of the passengers volunteered to loan the company #2,000 for the purchase of a fairly used tyre hoping to get the money back as soon as they get to Lokoja.
The journeyed continued smoothly until they got to Iyara when they noticed heavy smoke from the driver’s seat, they prevailed on the driver to stop the bus. The front tyre by the driver’s seat was soaked with hydraulic accompanied by heavy smoke. Water was poured on the tyre and driver was advised to proceed slowly to avoid excessive application of brakes since it was obvious to all that the driver had no money on him to repair the obviously bad brake pad. At this point, six passengers stayed off and joined a nice looking Sienna Car that was also heded for Lokoja.
Getting to Lokoja around 3.30pm, the remaining passengers alighted one after the other leaving the good samaritan who loaned the company #2,000.
Another drama ensued at the Lokoja loading bay as the said manager was nowhere to be found and his telephone switched off. The good samaritan had to leave empty handed even after visiting the manager’s home in company of the driver.
This messy experience is sure going to affect the company’s patronage in days to come. Most of the passengers wondered why the owner of the transport company, Hon. Clarence Olafemi, has not been able to manage the affairs of the company. Most of their buses are grounded already and the two that ply the Ilorin-Lokoja route are disasters waiting to happen.