“We have been running this company (PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED) for about four years, Before PRIMERO, We had the MARYLAND WRECKAGE a company that is into Reclamation, And Before that I was in America for about 21years, Operated a company called GREATER WASHINGTON MORTGAGE” Mr Fola Tinubu.
INN: So why have you tagged yourself as ‘The Number One Bus Conductor In Lagos State’?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: That means I am absolutely proud of my Job!. It is what I do for a living and am proud of it. PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED is a bus company where we carry people from point A to point B, You can see me at bus stops all the time supervising my people on ways to effectively manage our services, Regardless Of me being the CEO, The nature of what I do simply means am a CONDUCTOR!
INN: What is PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED’s Capacity right now in terms of Buses plying the road?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: Our goal is to have about 2,000 Buses picking up 1million people on a daily basis, Right now we have 434 Buses on the Road and we’re in talks with the Lagos State Government to get more Buses, With the help of God by next month we’re looking at getting 600 more Buses to achieve this goal.
INN: Looking at where we stand today as regards Covid-19 Pandemic, How has it affected your Business?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: Covid-19 has affected every single business we have out there, But for us in PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED, It plunged our Revenue, Most especially during the statewide lockdown that lasted for over 5weeks.
Even before the Lockdown, Lagos State Actually came up with the idea that we should only harbour 20 passengers in our Buses prior to Covid-19 Pandemic, That actually reduced our Revenue by 70% margin.
And ever since the lockdown was Eased up we only carry 42 passengers per Bus which on a normal scale we carry over 70 passengers.
Though we increased our price at the end of May this year, But we are still 30% behind our usual outputs which implies that there is alot of work still needed to be done in our sector.
The Pandemic actually affected our business in a dramatic way, But we are making plans to have a turn around for the better with time.
INN: Did you eventually lay off some of your staffs due to the financial pressures been faced by your company?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: No we didn’t lay off anybody despite our financial Pressures, Due to the increase of our price we were able to work out some modalities and retained every workforce.
INN: The quality of service you deliver to your passengers are quite luxurious, But do you intend to further spice it up?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: We are Constantly looking at ways to improve our standard of services for our passengers.
Our first target is the duration at which passengers wait after paying to get our tickets. It’s quite unfortunate presently that the Lagos State Government as well as the Federal Government has decided to simultaneously Develop alot of our roads.
They are fixing from Mile 12 to Ojota, 3rd Mainland bridge, Carter bridge from Alaka to National Stadium, they’re fixing Constain and even some parts of Ikorodu roads also.
Ever since we came out of the lockdown, Traffic has been more Critical and we now have two buses doing the work of one Bus. A journey that is meant for an hour now takes 2-3hours which affects waiting passengers.
But in the Spirit Of positivity, We Believe this Challenge is short termed because once the road construction is completed then it would be business as usual once again.
I want to plead with all our customers to bear with the Lagos State/Federal Government as they work tirelessly to make better our road channels across the state.
What the government is doing presently is in our best interest, though it might be painful at this time, But it’s only a short term condition.
On the brighter side of things we are going to add more value in terms of Technologies. Like Enhancing our ITS Platform where we control all our Buses, Tracking their routes and evaluating their shortcomings.
We are also working on improving our ticketing system whereby with an ATM card you can shuttle with us on like the specialised card we normally adopt. This changes can commence as early as next month.
INN: Sometimes while using the BRT Transport Services we notice the rate at which passengers are packed inside the Bus while some are sitting by the door passage space, Is it part of your arrangement to keep such a loaded boarding?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: All over the world people do stand in Buses, Most especially during rush hours, so Nigeria cannot be an exception, But the plan is to reduce the number of people standing so the bus is not over loaded.
In this Covid-19 period we have agreed with the Lagos State Government not to allow standing passengers on our Buses even though we know that it’s not economically viable.
If we project for only sitting alone and fix a price at that, it would be very difficult on the part of our sitting passengers.
INN: PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED does not have any competitors presently?
Mr FOLA TINUBU: Yes we do!, Absolutely!, Is Danfo not on the Road? What about the white Moluwes and the Red Buses? Even the boats using the water space! Are they not carry passengers? They are competitors!
I cannot say we don’t have competition & I don’t want you to have that perception at all despite the uniqueness of our brand.
Whether those other means of transportation is substandard or not in comparison to PRIMERO NIGERIA LIMITED people are still utilising them, People still patronize them daily, Which means we have to step up our capacity and quality of services so that more passengers can come to us!.