…Oyeyemi marvels at 3000 new buses roll out
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
For Dr Sam Maduka Onyishi, the chairman of Peace Mass Transit (PMT), the highest commercial bus fleet company in the country, his going “into transport business was like a film.”
He had started transport business as a student between 1993 and 1999, as a way of supporting himself as an indigent student.
His words: “At that time, I was only doing it to support myself in school, but before I knew it, I had moved from the initial two buses to eight. I went into a contract with Nsukka LGA to use their name; my company then was called Nsukka Mass Transit. The number of buses continued to grow that when I was graduating in 1999, I had up to 45 buses.”
Onyishi having driven one of his first two buses by himself had enough experience of the transport business, which has been guiding his innovation and ingenuity in the business that today he has over 4,000 buses.
Not resting on his oars, the Peace Mass Transit boss on April 28, called out all the stakeholders in the transport sector, especially the regulators as he launched 3,000 new buses at the Emene, Enugu headquarters of PMT.
The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Boboye Oyeyemi who led other officers of the corps and VIOs was amazed by the large number of brand new buses being rolled out by PMT at once that Thursday.
Highly impressed Oyeyemi exclaimed: “This is the kind of thing I will like to directly be participating in; this is the kind of thing that will help to move the country forward. What we have here today is a success story that is worthy of emulation.”
He, therefore, on the spot invited Onyishi to a stakeholders’ meeting they were to hold in Abuja, to come and share with them his experience on how he managed to grow his company and survive in the industry.
“I want to commend you in what you are doing because over 80 per cent of transportation in Nigeria is by road. Since 2009, when my predecessor came here to flag off your safety campaign, the company has been growing from strength to strength. We are going to continue to partner with you and encourage you to do more,” he promised.
The Corps Marshal also commended the PMT boss for using brand new tyres for his buses, saying that tyre burst has been a major challenge on the highways.
He also thanked Onyishi for running a successful transport business, pointing out that he has created jobs for many Nigerians, as well as made other people to earn a living and becoming comfortable people.
The road safety helmsman advised Onyishi to set up his own driving school as he has a large number of drivers working in his company already.
His words: “You need a driving school where the training of drivers will be taking place periodically. You have a large staff. We will partner with you to set it up, to give you guidelines, to certify it; since you have over 4000 drivers I’m ready to come to certify the school.”
He also told the PMT boss that he already has good space that could accommodate the driving school, saying that the school would go a long way in complementing the speed limiter that they had installed in their buses.
“At the end of the day your school will be a reference point of driving schools in the country,” Oyeyemi said as he challenged the PMT drivers to operate one-month of accident-free driving, saying that they achieve that he would come back to their Emene headquarters to celebrate them.
Speaking, an ostensibly elated Onyishi urged his drivers to take up the challenge of the Corps Marshal, asking them if they would be able to achieve the one month accident-free driving, which they responded in the affirmative.
Onyishi told the visiting Corps Marshal and other road regulators that his company has come a long way in the transport sector and is now dictating the pace.
“It is a good day for us as we decided to rebrand our fleet though we change our buses every day,” he said.
Going down memory lane, Onyishi noted that the former FRSC boss, Mr Osita Chidoka, came to Enugu in 2009 to launch their newly introduced speed limiter then, saying that today they are reaping from the dividends of that exercise.
“So, I want to use this opportunity to urge other Nigerians and companies to embrace the speed limiter. A man speeding about 150 kilometer can hit you from behind; the action of another driver can cause problem for the man who is driving slowly,” he said.
He disclosed that the accident ratio of PMT after they introduced the sped limiter in 2009 has reduced by 50 per cent, pointing out that they now instruct their vehicle manufacturers to install in them factory-fitted speed limiters.
“Many now may not like to enter our buses because of the moderated speed, but the safety is unequalled. Nobody will applaud you for arriving in Lagos fast, but for arriving safely,” he said.
He also disclosed that his company does not wait for the tyres of their buses to wear out before changing them, saying that “we change our tyres based on the number of kilometers covered; for us, transport is not just making money, but a ministry.”
According to him, “the FRSC started to come to train my drivers when I have only eight drivers about 20 years ago; we are interested in doing new things.”
He told the FRSC officials that they are about finishing the construction of their assembly plant and maintenance centre, saying that they are waiting for the Ministry of Transport for the certification.
Onyishi noted that they have adopted several measures to remain on top of the transport business in the country, saying that they do not compromise on their safety standards.
He urged the FRSC to adopt PMT as a case study in the industry, assuring that they would not disappoint on that.