I first perceived the suffocating stench of carbon-monoxide. It reminded me of the outlawed Lagos Molues. I looked outside the window and I was shocked beyond words. 

The formerly red coloured buses has turned 'DARK' Black. I am sure there is no such colour but I am short of words to describe it - the 'Molued BRT'.

In 2008, as part of efforts to make Lagos a mega city, former governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola introduced the Bus Rapid Transit system.

About 126 buses were launched to kick off the scheme. New lanes were created on major routes - state and federal roads.

It worked like magic. The buses were clean and operations were properly organised. People loved them and even the elite tried the alternative means of public transport.

More buses were introduced. Two years later, the popular molue buses were restricted to some roads and banned from plying other routes.

The molue drivers complied with the restriction order and in another two years, the molues disappeared.

However, it seems they are making a grand and silent return. Faced by high demand and poor maintenance, the once reputable BRT buses are defacing our smart and mega city.

*A man trying to fix a broke down BRT bus

Bounce News investigation showed that the trends that were common with the Molues such as over loading, constant breakdown have become a common occurrence in the BRT buses.

Displaced by the new air-conditioned blue BRT buses introduced by Fashola’s successor, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the fortunes of the pioneer BRT buses are plummeting sharply.

Some of them now employ conductors and instead of operating from Parks, they have resorted to town service, stopping to pick passengers at every bus stop.

*A BRT bus conductor hanging by the door calling for passengers

Sights of market women with luggage inside the bus and passengers sitting on the floor of the bus are now regarded as normal.

"You remember that Fela’s song about 44 sitting and 99 standing? That is what plays in my head each time I enter the BRT buses these days.

"Does it mean the government never had a plan for these old BRT buses when they were acquiring the new ones? This thing is all about maintenance. They can still maintain these ones instead of allowing them turn to Molues?" said Lawrence who joins the bus from Ikeja to Oshodi daily.

*Some women passengers sitting on the rear entrance of a jam-packed BRT bus 

“Lagos is what it is. There are just so many people here. That is why despite the condition of the vehicles, people would not care. Still, the BRT buses deserve better attention,” said Segun who joined the one of the over-packed  BRT buses from Oshodi heading to Lagos Island.

Will the BRT buses become the new Molues? It depends on what the Lagos government decides to do about it.

Even as it plans to phase out Danfo buses in the quest for a transport system suitable for a mega city, a definite action plan on how to save Lagosians from the horrors of environmental pollution is needed.

Eko O ni baje oooo!