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by - October 05, 2019

Lagos Nigeria, seaport

Growing up, I remember my mother telling me how important it was for her to relearn how to drive because she was moving to Lagos in her twenties, and I thought it was pretty ridiculous. 
At eighteen, I got my first job as an intern, and had to transport myself across the city and took that back.

This piece is to guide potential Lagos visitors, and people may be thinking of relocating to my city.
There are two kinds of road users, the drivers and public transport users, if you’re in the group of people who perhaps only stick to the private transport companies like Uber, I consider you to be in the 'drivers' category.

Unless you just love reading, If you fall within the driver's category, you can skip straight to the second part of this post that encompasses all you need to know about driving in Lagos, now our transport users shall we?

Buses in lagos, Nigeria
Bigger than usual Danfo buses, usually sits five people per roll.

So you just moved to Lagos and you want to use public transport, let me begin by telling you welcome.
There’s no shame in using transport here, but there are few things I believe you should know to ‘not enjoy’ using buses or bikes but to make the experience tolerable.

Here’s my list of the things I expect you to learn before joining any bus;

Which buses to enter

My ultimate advice is, always use the BRT or New terminal buses, but I know this isn’t available yet on all routes across the city, so if you have to settle for the yellow uses it’s important you test them before you enter, does it have a flat tyre, do the engines sound funny and other quick questions.
Also, buses that have officers either in the police or army (preferably army) are most likely to get to your destination faster than one that doesn’t.

Where to sit?

If you’re getting in a danfo or yellow bus, there are three common spots that are the best places to sit that are;

1.     The seat in front closest to the door away from the driver where you have can communicate your stop to the driver and get off with ease.

2.     The middle row, by the inner window, is where you get the best ventilation.

3.     The seat closest to the door at the last row is likewise a perfect spot to get off from unless the bus is bigger than the usual, stay away from the seat because the conductors are likely to seat five people there.

How to sit

If you help it, sit upright, you know like the ideal posture to prevent getting backaches, and from discouraging perverts from trying to touch your butt from underneath the seat. A very helpful tip with dealing with the thought of perverts on buses which I have used for years is looking back to stare the person straight in the face, a kind of letting them know you’re not afraid to shame them if they tried anything funny.

Getting your change

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about conductors and giving change on buses is that 80% of the time passengers yelling does little in getting your change and mostly ends in a verbal brawl between the two parties. So if you’re ever in a position where a conductor is holding your change, remind him/ her from time to time, and you’ll definitely get your change before or at your stop.


Some conductors are naturally troublesome so gathering a bit of change before heading out to do that complicated maths they do with change could be very helpful.

Getting off at your bus stop 

If you don’t think your voice would be loud enough to scream the recognized chant for reaching your stop, ‘OWA’,
Inform the conductor or driver you’re not sure where your stop is, trust me; they would look out for you till you drop.

Also, try not to be one of those passengers that make the bus drivers distracted by insisting they drop you off somewhere that is not an actual bus stop, just don’t.

Be mindful of your environment when getting off, especially if many people are getting off the same time as you, that’s when pickpockets do their best work.

Lagos nigeria traffic
victoria Island, Lagos.

If you’re already driving and thinking of moving to Lagos, there are two things you need to know to remain sane, and yes you read right, I said to stay SANE, like the common gridlock times, using alternate routes, dealing with road rage and bus drivers.

Common gridlock times

I’ll start off by letting you know that there are two days popular for intense traffic, and that is Monday mornings and Friday evenings.
Other times where the traffic gets overly intense is usually because of the weather and situation of the road, for example, if it rains during the day, there will be traffic after the rain stops.

It is also important I let you know there are certain parts of the city that there is always traffic, and no matter the condition like Apapa, which is why these days it’s important to use apps like Google maps to know how intense traffic is and perhaps learn alternate routes.

Dealing with bus drivers and other road users.

While most bus drivers have issues with drugs, a lot of them are more self-aware when driving than they’d have you believe.

I found that a lot of times passengers are responsible for some awful driving these bus drivers do.
Also, I would encourage overtaking a bus from the right; a lot of them have gotten their mirrors taken out by the resident area boys making them blindsided, so attempting to overtake them from this side could cause an accident.

Honestly, I wrote this because transportation is one thing that makes the living in Lagos difficult, last year they ranked the city one of the most stressful cities in the world and I couldn’t agree more.

Don’t forget to share this post with friends and anyone you know who’s thinking of moving to the city and share your experiences driving or riding in Lagos.

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