Public transport is the backbone of Lagos. Believe it or not, a whole new world exists in the various means of transport, a world you experience in short moments every day. Just as every other sphere, there is the good, the bad and the unbelievable, therefore surviving Lagos trips is a testimony. Here are tips to help you when you use public transport.
Sit close to the window except for the conductor’s row
Public transport in Lagos is an extreme sport and as such, you need the best seat in the arena. The first tip for surviving Lagos trips using public transport is to sit close to the window. This tip in unique to buses called danfo because only then would you have someone sitting on the same row as the conductor. For those who may not know, the conductor seats at by the door and as such that row has a 4 seater bench as opposed to 5 seats. Sitting by the window allows you to catch a breath of fresh air amidst the internal and external pollution. However, never sit on the conductor’s row because four people will sit there and the conductor will join in to make it a five-seater. It won’t be comfortable.
Always have change
Public transport is relatively cheap across Nigeria and most times, transport fares are paid in some of the lowest currency denominations. For bus a ride, the fairs range from N50 to N200, depending on the distance. The same goes for Kekenapeps, Okadas, BRTs and more. To avoid any form of embarrassment from drivers and conductors, simply hold change. If possible, always have your exact fare because this will save you a lot of trouble. It will also not give the conductor or driver a chance to keep your change. Failure to do this will expose you to unnecessary embarrassment which may include physical assault.
Know your terms
With public transport, you have to be smart so when in Rome behave like the Romans. There are various terms that you must use when commuting by public transport. The most essential being “O wa o!”, in English, translates to “it is here!”, is used to signify your desired stop. If you fail to say it, you will miss your stop. Do not be ashamed to use the Yoruba term, if you attempt to speak Queen’s English, you are deceiving yourself. There are other terms to know which include bus stops along your travel route, this will help you pick the right public transport.
Avoid wearing fitted skirts
Like the aforementioned, public transport in Lagos is an extreme sport, therefore, a fitted skirt is not the best clothing piece to play in. Though some fitted skirts are stretchy, they are most functional if you are using a cab, kekenapep or BRT. As for danfo and okada, that skirt won’t let you make the necessary jumps and climbs. On an okada, you risk not being able to sit securely on the motorcycle and you will have to pull your skirt up if you want to. Likewise, when trying to board a danfo bus, that big leap requires a lot of allowances, allowances that skirt won’t give you.
Be ready to unleash your inner tout
Anything can happen to anybody any day, any time in public transport. The negative occurrences can never be handled if you are calm, you have to show that you too have a fighting spirit. Whenever you are about to be played for a fool, probably over incomplete change or an overcharge, prepare to unleash your inner tout. This aggressive part of you will scare your opponent and let them know you are also street smart and not a pushover.
Pack your valuables properly
It is important to be ‘package’ yourself properly when commuting via public transport. This is because a disorganised you is a business opportunity for pickpockets. Not just that, having too many items in your hands will cause you to misplace one of them. If you wish to use public transport, carry a bag, preferably small. A bag that can hold all your items seamlessly in its’ inner corners. Knowing not everyone carries bags, wear tight jeans if you need to slip something in your pocket. If it is your phone, hold it firmly in your hand.
Don’t talk to anybody
Unfortunately, for years, numerous scams have been perpetrated in public transport, with the use of conversations. Thousands of people have been scammed, robbed, kidnapped and used just because they spoke to someone they shouldn’t have spoken to in public transport. whereas some stories highlight the use of charms, coercion, weapons etc. There are different scripts to such scams and some people encounter more than one unfortunate method. However, it all starts by speaking to somebody.
Know where you’re going to
If you do not know where you are going to with public transport, you are on your own. You will waste your transport money going in circles and only good Samaritan will help you. The worst thing that can happen to you is not knowing the name of the bus stop. Neither the conductor nor driver is up for your vivid descriptions, they only know the name of the bus stop. If you do not know that, you will miss it.
Never sleep off
Never should you sleep off in public transport. What may sound almost impossible is actually very possible and has happened to numerous people. By sleeping in public transport you may be robbed, harmed, kidnapped and more. In the case of an okada ride, you can get injured.
The saving grace of many, earphones have saved many young lives from the woes of public transport. In this context, the woes refer to the intrusive individuals who sit by your side on the ride. Sometimes, some people disturb other passengers with loud phone calls, unending questions, sermons and forms of intrusion. At this time your earphones will shield you from the shenanigans and act as a deterrence for intruders you meet in public transport.