Editorial

Our public transport bedlam

It is a nightmare to think of going to make use of public transportation in today’s Owerri city. This is what urban renewal in Imo state has left behind, together with a host of other avoidable, intractable problems.
Owerri now is virtually in a hurry to be the most backward city in public transportation.
It all points to the mad house that Owerri has become. By that the city is now a terror zone in which visitors and residents alike don’t feel safe again.
Since the banning of keke transport, the streets of Owerri have been taken over by junks and rickety vehicles long abandoned by their owners. There are, though thankfully, few good, clean private cars running as taxis. Can this be the intention of government in removing kekes as taxis? It cannot be.
For one thing, the whole thing lacks organization and has become an all-comers’ affair without regulation. We doubt and even dare question this intention. The existence of all manner of vehicles as taxis has substantially defaced city. There are reports of robberies, when people are ferried in unregistered, unidentifiable taxis. Even the official Taximo are said to have been used in robbing people. The confusion is compounded by the lack of designated pick-up points, such as taxi and bus stops. And there are no controlling offices where complaints can be made about taxi operations.
It is certainly a job half-done if government would remove keke vehicles only to enthrone chaos and confusion into its public transport system. What does it mean? The confusion must affect our tourism, if there is any. People will not visit or tour places or countries where there is no order or arrangement to travel in safety.
But here, not only is public safety in jeopardy, people are unable to move about in comfort. Neither is there assurance that people will reach their destinations in time, if at all, because of the chaos. Disgusting, some armed men are all over the place openly collecting money, as a sort of indirect taxation and official robbery of motorists. If not approved by government, this will not happen.
Imo state authorities must realize the emergency we face in the public transport situation and do something urgently. The public is suffering in silence and may explode in outrage. This condition must not persist for too long.

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