Written by Ekpereamaka Chukwuanu
A very long queue of passengers waiting patiently for the government owned buses popularly known as ” Willie Obiano” buses, stretches along Upper Iweka, Onitsha. The passengers actually have options. They could join other commercial vehicles heading to Awka and various destinations. But that’s not going to happen. They would rather wait patiently in the scorching sun until they join Willie Obiano Buses than opt for commercial buses. Why? The buses are cheaper, probably more comfortable and easy to access. But pressure from commuters is leading to more requests from the vehicles. Residents want more Willie Obiano buses.
The Willie buses were said to have been introduced by the Anambra State government in order to ease intra-state travelling among cummuters in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi.
In an interview, one of the passengers who gave his name as Emeka Okafor, said that many people prefer Willie buses to privately owned ones which charge higher amounts.
Another passenger, Ngozi Eze, said that for some time now the buses have become scarce and difficult to see owing to the fact that most of them are not in good condition.
” I have been waiting for more than one hour for the bus to show but to no avail, please government should repair the spoilt buses or better still get new ones for us because this bus is really helpful to workers, students and civil servants as it charges lower amount “, she laments.
The Willie Obiano buses have become the delight of commuters in the state. This is more so now that motorcycle (okada) operations have been banned in Onitsha, and Awka.
Sources said there are actually more than enough buses at the initial stages when the transport system was introduced but that bad roads and lack of maintenance of the buses led to reduction in the number currently on the roads as some of them are either undergoing repairs or have packed up. Commuters are pleading for more of these buses to hit the roads and reduce their transportation challenges.