Do you sometimes feel like you need a handbook or manual, on how to survive in Lagos public transport? Well, guess what? You are not alone.
It is alleged that the distance from the Island to Mainland, is the same distance as from Lagos to Benin. I’m sure people who stay on the Mainland and work on the Island can relate to this.
According to a recent story, a guy drove his friend who was travelling to South Africa to the international airport, Ikeja, and as the story goes, he was still on his way back (on 3rd mainland bridge) when his friend called to say he had landed in South Africa. While this may be a little farfetched, the amount of time spent by Lagos commuters and motorists in traffic is huge.
We must however stop to commend the BRT lane which in many instances has greatly shortened travel time in Lagos. But there still aren’t enough of them.
So, if you just moved to Lagos or you are planning to, this is Public Transport 101; please pay close attention:
4 life lessons that you learn from using the public transport system in Lagos.
#1. Be Street Smart
I’m quite sure that nobody can specifically define what being street smart means. The truth is that even if anyone could, they will not explain it to you. In Lagos, there are some things that you just have to learn on your own. And being street smart is one of them.
On Lagos streets, you can’t play by the textbook, you must be extra perceptive. You should know how to walk and protect your bag at the same time, when to talk/run/hide, and when to just keep your mouth shut. Lagos public transport teaches you how to enter into a vehicle in motion.
#2. Know Exactly Where You Are Going To
When you get to the bus stop, shout it loud and clear that you are going to Lekki phase 1 bus stop. Not Lekki Phase 2, or Lekki Estate and definitely not “Somewhere in Lekki.” You need to know your exact bus so you don’t get carried away, literally. Be calm, alert and calculating when you are at any bus stop. This is because in Lagos, rush hour is war hour.
#3. Recognition Is Key
Some people won’t recognize what they want even if it slaps them in the face. This attitude does not work in ‘Lasgidi’. You should be able to recognize the danfo buses that take your route daily. So that whenever you see or even hear them, you can prepare yourself physically and mentally. You can even familiarize yourself with their make and colour.
#4. Be Strong & Assertive
With the introduction of BRT buses and private cab services, the transport system in Lagos seems to have gotten easier. But life is still cut throat for middle class, who still have to use danfos and Okadas. Uber services are still a way off for most Lagosians.
Nothing in life is going to be handed to you; you have to take it by force (remember that the violent taketh the kingdom of heaven by force). For instance, of the 50 people at the bus stop, there is a chance that 70% of them are going your route. And it’s just a 14 seater bus that is in sight. Besides, you’ve probably been waiting at that bus stop for at least 1hr 30mins. At this moment, it is shove or be shoved. Please do not forget to keep your bag and valuables close to avoid moonlight tales.
Having read this post, Congratulations! You are now ready to face the Eko lifestyle, public transport and all. Don’t worry you’ll be survive, at least you should. Most have survived and live to tell the stories. Daily.
WELCOME TO LAGOS.