Blackbox Nigeria


5 things to expect aboard commercial buses in Lagos

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Safiu Kehinde




An adventure across Lagos is incomplete without an experience of the mega city’s public transportation system. When we say public transportation system, we refer to the traditional commercial vehicles. We speak of the ever-rugged yellow Volkswagen bus (aka Danfo), rickety Tata bus, the three-legged Keke Maruwa, and the recently added mini bus (alias Korope). These commercial vehicles are a blessing in disguise for commuters in the city known to be the busiest in the country.

Though there are government-owned buses called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), commuters often opt for commercial vehicles due to their out-of-this-world way of maneuvering past Lagos traffic.

BlackBox Nigeria presents to you 5 things you will likely experience while onboard Lagos commercial vehicles.

1. Hoarseness of bus conductors

Unlike BRT buses where a sweet programmed voice calls your attention to the next bus stop, commercial bus conductors will bellow at you like a bunch of frightened billy goats being led to the slaughter house. Their vulgar, coarse, and decayed voice flows through the hustle bustle scenery of the bus-park, all thanks to their excessive intake of alcohol, cigarettes, and hemp. If you are searching for the true definition of Barbarians talking in thousands, an encounter with a Lagos bus conductor will convince you.

2. The lousy marketers

Don’t be surprised that there is no concrete definition of a market place in Lagos. Every spot, nook and cranny can be turned to a market in a blink of an eye — as long as there is presence of crowd. The activities of hawkers and traders have no boundary. They flood the pedestrian walkways, bus stops, traffic-laden roads, and even loaded commercial buses are not spared. They hop from one bus to another, shoving their wares at passengers and tirelessly call for your attention. You become unlucky when a sugar-mouthed marketer board the bus with you. You might end up having your ear filled with the marketer’s ranting till you alight the bus. A deafening earpiece comes in handy at this moment.

3. Nonchalant attitude of drivers

If there was a Guinness World Record for the most cursed human beings on earth, Lagos commercial bus drivers would be the rightful owner of such accolade owing to their reckless driving habit. There is 100% chance that these drivers would get on your nerves and mind you, they never care. If you so wish, scream and curse at them from now till tomorrow, they will never move an inch. Some of these drivers even take the abuses as a motivation to drive more recklessly. You don’t need to go to a cinema to watch ‘Fast and Furious’ or ‘Asphalt’, commercial bus drivers are enough to mesmerize you. Just stay calm, grab your popcorn, and pray to alight safely because you are in for a rollercoaster ride.

4. Be 100% alert

One of the most important laws of hustle in Lagos is to never loose guard — not even in the bus. Under no circumstances should you be engrossed with your phone, when you’re sitting close to the window. The chance of losing your beloved phone is high, particularly when stuck in traffic. Hooligans and street urchins often lurk around stranded vehicles searching for unaware commuters whose gadgets are within their reach. And if you unfortunately fall victim, welcome to Lagos, the land of hustle.

5. “Enter with your change”

This catchphrase has gone on to become the signature tone of bus conductors. They never for once have ‘change’ – even with their hand filled with every denomination of Naira notes. It’s better to have the actual t-fare to avoid being ‘conjugated’ with another passenger when you alight.

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