All the bus conductors in Lagos have one trait in common, they are always ready for trouble! I am sure that virtually everyone has had a raw deal with a bus conductor, unless you have never traveled in a public bus in Lagos. Are you a visitor or planning to visit Lagos anytime soon?
Here are some tips that will help you stay out of trouble with Lagos bus conductors.
1. Always come on board with your ‘Change’: By ‘change’ I mean small Naira notes. Nothing annoys a Lagos bus conductor more than a passenger who gives him a high denomination Naira note and expects him to find change immediately.
Your attempt to saddle a conductor with the burden of having to look for change can send him into a fit of rage. That is why before you board a Lagos bus, you hear them holler at intervals ‘enter with your change o’.
Now when you board with N500 or N1,000 denomination, he automatically goes into ’confrontational’ default. At this point, you can expect anything. He will force you into ‘marriage’ with another passenger by joining you together to find change or in extreme cases, make away with your change.
Note, your constant reminder for him to give you your change can be very distressing and can earn you a thorough washdown with insults from a typical Lagos conductor.
2. You must learn to shift or ‘dress’ many times: When you board a Lagos bus, you must be ready to adjust at all times to accommodate another passenger on the rickety seats of Lagos yellow buses. Not doing so might expose you to the anger of theconductor or the risk of being tongue lashed by the other passengers.
3. Do not interfere in his business with another passenger: Naturally, Lagos bus conductors are very territorial. They believe that the bus is their office and you have no right to tell them what to do. When you interfere, you are breaking the golden rule of conductor-passenger relationship. Mind your business. Once you have paid your fare, leave other passengers to sort out themselves with the conductor. By so doing you will avoid conductor trouble.
4. Don’t intervene in his spat with ‘agberos’ or motor park touts: The typical Lagos conductor is in a love-hate relationship with agberos — I am talking of the equally tough areas boys that have become the scourge of Lagosians across the city. Their duty is to collect daily fees from their clients.
And you better not interfere in their fight because you may end up being the victim. When a fight breaks out, it is either you keep your calm or you walk away.
5. Do not call the conductor an illiterate: Nothing a Lagos conductor detests more than a passenger trying to teach him his job. Once you do that, you expose yourself to be another one of the pompous ‘office people’. The conductor does not like to be told that he is an illiterate, regardless of his actual status. This is when he will turn philosopher and teach you about dignity in labor…before attempting to break your head open like a coconut.
So, whatever you do, avoid any confrontation with the Lagos bus conductors – they enjoy physical combat and want little more than to beat on a ‘corporate guy’ who is unfortunate enough to enter their world.
Edited By: ODIRA ONYENSO