So many years ago, Molue buses were to be found on every major route in Lagos.
They were everywhere; that was until 2008 when the Lagos state government in collaboration with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and LAGBUS, an asset management company owned by the Lagos State government, introduced the Bus Rapid Transit system, otherwise known as BRT, to alleviate the problems faced by Lagos commuters and, to a large extent, rid the city off the rickety Molues that had virtually become mobile coffins.
To make the new bus system even more effective, the state government also carved out specialized lanes from the existing road network for the BRT buses to ply on.
This development was welcomed by commuters as it kept them away, at least for most parts of the journey, from the notorious Lagos traffic and ensured they got to their destinations promptly.
And the result from these positive developments: less stress in getting to work, no more fear of getting late to that important appointment or getting the sack for getting late to work. Some even developed the habit of leaving their cars at home and commute to work in the BRT buses, while the number of patrons of commercial motorcycles on the routes plied by these buses reduced significantly.
The rickety yellow Molues gradually faded away into the distant horizon and have become a rare sight nowadays, to be spotted once in a while on a few routes conveying commuters to their destinations.
But it appears it won’t be long before they get to reclaim their ‘rightful’ place in the hearts of Lagosians, albeit clad in a different colour as the BRT buses are fast deteriorating to the same level as the Molue buses of old.
In recent times, a trip in most of these buses appears no different from a ride in a Molue. Commuters are packed like sardines and arguments ensue now and again between drivers and commuters, as well as between angry commuters.
On the exterior, the buses have become unappealing to the eyes with coats of dust and dirt enveloping their once glossy red and blue colours.
Dents and blows from numerous road mishaps have also left these buses in a misshapen state with most of them having cracked windshields and a couple of missing windows.
Even a look inside the buses does little to lighten the burden weighing on the spirit of commuters as the interiors aren’t as enticing as they once were.
The interiors, to say the least, are filthy and covered in dust while seats have been rooted from their original spots; and left in their place is more standing room for commuters as was obtainable in the Molues of old.
Even the automatic doors are anything but automatic these days with some of these buses having just one entry and exit point for commuters (It used to be a case of commuters entering through the front door and exiting through the rear one).
In addition, the drivers of these buses are now reputed to be among the most reckless in the state, identical to Molue drivers, and the buses suffer regular breakdowns while on the road thus creating traffic holdups – the spitting image of Molues.
The only things still differentiating these modern-day Molues from the classic Molues is the embargo on preaching, and hawking of wares inside the buses.
But at the rate at which they are fast deteriorating, I guess it is only a matter of time before those also become a regular occurrence inside these buses.
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