If you travel as often as I do within Nigeria you'd know by now how flight prices have skyrocketed and the drastic disparity between flights two months ago and now. And so it happened that when I wanted to book my flights a couple of weeks back, my mouth turned to sandpaper when I saw the price. Economy class tickets cost nearly N40,000, meaning that return tickets would be about 80k. Maybe I would have considered paying if it didn't cost me much less than that to fly to Accra earlier in the year.
So I sat back and began to wonder if it was worth it. While I stalled I decided to google God Is Good Motors and I remembered that they have a very roomy Mercedes (I think) bus that leaves very early in the morning. So I googled and I was directed to their website. I went to the page for booking and I moved through it very fluidly. Barely seconds later I'd gotten to the booking page and I was shocked by how easy and seamless it was. And sure that there would be a problem somewhere, because Nigerian service providers, I opted instead to call their customer care and speak to an actual human being.
At first I wasn't expecting the numbers to go through, and when it did and it rang I wasn't expecting anyone to pick up, and when he did, I was expecting a gruff reception. What I got instead was a warm response by an extremely patient man whose name I learnt is Elijah. Elijah took painstaking time to answer all the questions I asked and referred me back to the website to do my booking. Before I hung up I thanked him profusely, I told him I was surprised by how well he handled the call and how impressed I was and encouraged him to continue the good work, it's quite rare in Nigeria.
Booking my ticket was much easier than booking an airline ticket and I got a text immediately afterwards with my confirmation code.
I got to the Ajah park the next day before 6am and when I told the attendant my name, she handed me my ticket which was already printed out and waiting for my arrival.
The bus was slated to leave by 6am but it left 30 minutes later which was partly due to some of the passengers and their wahala.
The trip was the most comfortable I've experienced by public transportation. The seats were comfortable and there was more than enough leg room for timber&caliber (my sizable legs. Lol). The driver did not exceed his speed limit and I was surprised to find that even during occasional traffic when other bus drivers turned around and took one-way, ours forged ahead and remained on the right lane. I learnt that it's against that policy to go against traffic laws.
We got to the East in record time, and safely too. (Thank God for journey mercies and all the journey mercies he affords me in my plenty travels).
It's been a number of years since I travelled by public transport. I rarely compromise on my comfort so I avoid Nigerian buses like a plague. Traveling with GIGM priority bus was a great exception.
Now I understand that their other buses are not as comfortable so I'd recommend that they raise the price for the "priority buses" and make them available to as many who would want to pay for it, if need be. And also find ways to restore more order at their parks because the crowds can be overwhelming.
In the days after my trip I became obsessed with learning more about God Is Good Motors and why their standards are much higher than their counterparts. I learnt that the owner was assassinated in his mid-40s (even after the sum of N60,000,000 was allegedly paired to his kidnappers) leaving his first son who was just 21 at the time to take the reins.
The young man, Chidi Ajaer, who was barely a teen is the one who has transformed the company from what it used to be. He was always involved in his father's business since he was a boy, he attended business seminars both locally and abroad right from when he was a young teen and he would come back and discuss all that they were taught with his dad who would then discuss his vision for their company and how they can apply what he'd learnt in the seminar to it.
Of course it wasn't easy for someone that young, especially being in charge of people much older than he was. But still, as a true leader does, he was able to convey his vision to his staff and get them to work with him. One of the most important principles that he imparted, which they must not compromise on, is customer service. No wonder Elijah was so delightful to talk to!
This is not a paid ad or anything, and of course there is much room for improvement, but one must give credit where credit is due. Good Is Good Motors has gone beyond their counterparts to provide greater value and I'm certain that their vision to rule public transportation in Nigeria would soon be accomplished.
Other transport companies, and even all of us must learn from this. Mediocrity will always only give you mediocre results.
I'm flying back to Lagos tonight because I booked this ticket way ahead of time, although it was still a bit pricy to be honest 😡. But I'm happy to know that I now have an alternative for when I'd rather travel by road 😃.
What are your experiences traveling with public transportation in Nigeria? What transport companies do you favour and which are an absolute "Never ever!" for you? What would you like to see improved on? Or do you just generally avoid them in all entirety? LOL.