Friday, December 01, 2006

Lagos 101- Getting around

How to get around in Lagos

In Lagos, your car is one of the status symbols. “Did you see Finefaces’ new X5”?. It’s also a pre-requisite for getting a girl. . The fact that he is named Fineface has no bearing anymore. Many a time I have heard the phrase “Does he want us to jump Molue together”?, followed with a loud hiss. What counts is that he has an X5 or a beamer, a jag, a private jet etc.

But really getting around Lagos can be a nightmare! I have been stuck in traffic sometimes and gone into trance where I jump out of the car and do a jig as I pull my hair out like Rumplestilskin. Let’s not talk about the road rage that goes down in the streets of Lagos.


Public transport

Molue- Big huge yellow looking buses. They look like the yellow school buses in America.
Danfo- Smaller Version of the Molue
Okada- Motorcycles (I call them Mosquitoes that need to be slapped)
Keke Napep- A cross between motorcycle and a Tico car. Remember those cars that came from Japan?. Mostly seen in documentaries about India.
Taxi- Regular cars painted yellow and black.
Train- Has anyone seen a moving train lately?

All of these are potential death traps as the drivers have no regard for the law and are reckless and a danger to themselves and the passengers. The vehicles are hardly serviced and are just spare parts put together, the tires are usually worn and most times there are no side mirrors, break lights, breaks even. The passengers squeeze themselves into the cars like sardines and the conductor hangs from the side. If not for condition, I don’t think anyone in their right minds would want to use the Lagos public transport. It’s in shambles.

If you need to take a Taxi, please ensure you go to a taxi park where the Taxi’s are registered and can be accounted for. Your safety comes first, don’t jump into a random taxi and especially unmarked ones.

There are a lot of stories of people never reaching their homes after hopping into a random car posing as a Taxi.

Private Transport

Most people have at least one car in their homes and move around with that. It is necessary to get drivers from a trusted source and make sure you get references and know where they live. There have been incidents of drivers stealing the car and its contents and never being found. This is usually because Nigerians tend to be very trusting and not so thorough in searching out the background of the domestic employees.

Guys often strive to have a car because Nigerian girls tend to be materialistic. Guys therefore feel the need to hustle really hard for a job, money to spend on the girl, a car, and an apartment/house. Once you have these things, you can successfully play the field, dropping hints here and there about all your achievements which will dazzle the girls. Whatever happened to struggling and making it with your man? Everyone wants a self made man. The problem is it will probably be you and two or three others sharing this self made man.

Traffic

Lagos is divided into the Mainland and the Island. There are three main bridges connecting them; Eko Bridge, Carter Bridge and the Third Mainland Bridge (very original lol). A fourth Mainland Bridge is in the pipelines. Most of the population of Lagos lives on the Mainland.

There is always some sort of traffic. The only safe day is a Sunday. Rush hour time is between 7-9 in the morning and 5.30-9.0 in the evening. The flow of traffic is usually towards the Island in the morning and away from the Island in the evening.

Lately it’s not been very safe to travel during rush hour except you really have to. In that case

Ladies
-Have a separate handbag ALWAYS in the car filled with stuff you don’t need. It could be an old bag you don’t use anymore.
-A mobile phone no longer in use by anyone should also be placed in the car


Guys
-Have a mobile phone that is no longer in use
-Some cash on you

The reason is that there have been reports of hoodlums aka Area Boys (AB) who go around in traffic (mostly once it gets dark) stealing from people once in a while. I have actually experienced this but only once in my two years and most people have been lucky not to experience the same. The cowards know you have no where to go since you are trapped in the traffic so they move from car to car and then runoff before the police can get there. Now they do this very quickly and fade so they don’t have time to check what you give them. Everybody wins. Another tip is to probably wind the window down if your car is going to be attacked because there have been cases where the windows have been smashed with iron bars. Not trying to scare you guys or anything but it does happen. All they want are phones and bags. You will be bitch slapped if you have neither.

Hot spots (that I know of) are

Eko Bridge
Falomo Bridge (haven’t heard of any incidents lately)
Ozumba Mbadiwe near 1004 flats
Third Mainland Bridge
Lekki Express Way
Airport Road

Caverton Helicopters

The latest form of transportation is using a helicopter to get to your destination quickly. It is quick, convenient and expensive. The helipad is located in Victoria Island.

A note to those coming home for xmas. There will be parties, there will be fun, there will be drinking. Please, those that live on the mainland and go partying on the island should make plans to stay over till its sufficiently bright to go home in the morning. Either stay in the club till then (we know how to party till 6 in the morning literally) or stay over at a friends and catch some zzz's till morning. Also make sure the designated driver doesn't get carried away and have to many drinks. Some people don't know their own limits. Leaving at 2 in the morning to go back to the mailand makes no sense. Stay safe

There you go. Now you know how to stay safe while traveling within Lagos.

TMinx signing out

xxx

29 comments:

LondonBuki said...

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LondonBuki said...

Hmmm... going to Lagos in Jan is going to be VERY interesting for me... Very!

I don't want to take taxi, molue, danfo, okada, and co oh! So whoever I am staying with better organise well!!!

Good idea - the extra bag with random stuff in it. Very Sharp idea.

Enjoy your weekend x x x

TaureanMinx said...

Sorry aaron, the person who threatens wins.

I'll paste your comment though..

AARON SAID

"Molue- Big huge yellow looking buses. They look like the yellow school buses in America"

After yellow school bus has been rolled down a hill?

TaureanMinx said...

@londonbuki....it can be disputed as to who was the first.

The person you are staying with will be very happy not to charge you rent. Just PETROL money. ha haaaaaaaa. Bring the dallaar dallaar bills please

Aaron, yeah lol, rolled down a hill and hit repeatedly with bat

LondonBuki said...

Well, the proof is right here! I was FIRST! and SECOND! :-)

The ticket was expensive oh...
Petrol ke? Maybe I should bring some in a jerrycan from London! LOL!!!

And I deal in ££££s please!

Gbeborun of Lagos said...

Another nice one Tminx. I'm so lovin this Lagos 101 series. its sad I have to wait anoda week for the next installment.

@Londonbuki
Tmink said your being firt can be disputed. well, sheprobably deleted or held earlier comments. LOL. Love your Mummy mondays.

snazzy said...

Nince one, though I wish you had given your take on the time honored tactic of riding shotgun in your friends jeepbimmerlexbenz or JBLB to the club and to all social functions and fronting like it is not a shagari that you are pushing at all other times.

Anonymous said...

you know you're making me homesick right?

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.

adaure said...

What about the LEGSUS AND LEGEDES BENZ....no love for them..lol... funny stuff

BabaAlaye said...

Why do i always get in late?
Anyway Let me add this.
I can't stress this enough if you live on the Island pls avoid Osbourne road at night. Go through an alternative route say Awolowo road for instance.It's safer.
By all means floss till you drop when you're in the right place.But if you find yourself in a rough part of town please don't look obviously "Janded" .

@ Taurean Minx. Please can't we have a mid-week class? This Friday Friday thing ti pe ju now? Kilode?

Anonymous said...

lol..all na efizi jare!...ahn ahn, private helicopter!...when no be say u r 007!...Unnecessary oppression sha...uuumm, but, maybe ill start saving my dollars to try it once this xmas sha..:)..lol....
FRIENDS DONT LET FRIENDS DRIVE DRUNK!...
Thanks for sharing, Tminx.

didi said...

ya tew mush!im loving dis ya friday friday tonic.now i can go prepared to lasgidi.whish one be helicopter na?

Anonymous said...

Good one T-minx...thanks for the extra bag and cell phone tip. I will make sure it is an old God-forsaken purse though. I cant wait to hit Lagos!
lol @ Aaron's comment.

Tutsy said...

Love u Much T-minx.....thanx a bunch for the 411,If not for u i would have been looking like an Amish in the city when i visit in December....lol. But omo, that smashing car window comment scare me small o. God forbid that happens to me on my way home from the airport. Una know say Tutsy no get liver, trust me to make a straight u-turn catch next connecting flight back to DC, biko, i love naija, but not enough to die.

Gbeborun of Lagos said...

Yes Tminx. I'm with babalaaye onthe midweek class. No kill us with weekly expetancy. please o! we dey beg.

The Life of a Stranger called me said...

I will be in lagos in Jan - Im so looking for to the transport system in nigeria. Thank you for making me aware of all the different forms of transport.

NaijaBloke said...

Thx for the info Tminx ..

Other info ..when u r stuck in traffic,dump ur car somewhere and catch an okada to where u r going and come back to pick ur car later.

Did this a whole lot of times in Lagos and PH last Dec cos I bet u ppl going down to lagos from the US and UK will die with frustration in Lagos traffic o ..

I remember going to my brother's house and I was looking at the junction which was like 500meters from where I was and I was stuck there for 4freaking hrs ..Omo I regreted driving o ..

So i have vowed ..no more driving in Lagos except to clubs or when going out of Lagos .. I am voting for my Okada ppl ..I even booked an okada for 6hrs one time self

U have a lovely weekend

Atala Wala Wala said...

Taurean Minx,

Interesting and enjoyable description - I'll add my comments below:

"Molue- Big huge yellow looking buses. They look like the yellow school buses in America."

I think the phrase 'look like' is reaaaaally stretching it here. Molues look like American school buses in the same way that an okada motorcycle looks like a Ducati motorbike. Anyway, I'm not sure if Molues are really a part of the Lagos traffic ecosystem anymore - most of the routes they used to operate on have been taken over by the nearly ubiquitous Danfo.



"Danfo- Smaller Version of the Molue"

And just as beat-up and battered.



"Okada- Motorcycles (I call them Mosquitoes that need to be slapped)"

I call them the saviour of Lagosians who have terrible timekeeping skills and need to be somewhere 30 minutes late instead of 2 hours late. But yes, they are absolutely the WORST violators of traffic law in the entire universe. In fact, if you see an okada rider NOT violating traffic laws, PLEASE DO NOT BOARD HIS BIKE - he's most likely on drugs.



"Keke Napep- A cross between motorcycle and a Tico car. Remember those cars that came from Japan?. Mostly seen in documentaries about India."

I can't figure these ones out. They seem to be suffering from some sort of identity crisis - they have the brain of an okada but the body of a danfo. They're not very common, though.



"Taxi- Regular cars painted yellow and black."

Do they still bother with the yellow and black colour? These are even scarcer than Keke Napep vehicles.



"Train- Has anyone seen a moving train lately?"

It is rumoured that a train still takes people from the outskirts of Lagos to Agege. I can't verify this, though.



"All of these are potential death traps as the drivers have no regard for the law and are reckless and a danger to themselves and the passengers. The vehicles are hardly serviced and are just spare parts put together, the tires are usually worn and most times there are no side mirrors, break lights, breaks even. The passengers squeeze themselves into the cars like sardines and the conductor hangs from the side. If not for condition, I don’t think anyone in their right minds would want to use the Lagos public transport. It’s in shambles."

Now hold on! Just hold on! Yes, it is true that your average Lagos commercial vehicle is in such a sorry state that it is just one major rattle away from spontaneously disintegrating on the road. But the reality is that if the operators of these vehicles were to charge what it takes to keep their vehicles in tip top condition with air-conditioning and leather lined seats, people would have to walk to work.

Anyway, you're exaggerating the danger of accidents due to vehicular malfunction. This
is mitgated by the zealous programme that the state government has undertaken to construct numerous speed holes on Lagos roads to slow down the traffic. For the more recalcitrant speeding motorist, the government will fill some of these speed holes with water to completely cut out the engine!

Dami said...

hmm
i think i will pass home coming this xmas

then when you do another great post on the Nepa issue; i'll pass home coming again

i still wonder how people live there

lurvchild said...

T Minx, please note that your Area Boys have gathered more liver oh; they not only rob at night but in broad daylight as well, mainly unsuspecting innocent looking young ladies like myself though.
2 hilarious encounters with 2 Area Boys in 2 successive months is proof of this.

Ladies, if during the day you're stuck in traffic, on Ozumba Mbadiwe to be precise and you're in the car on your lonesome ensure your windows are wound up.

The AB's won't want to draw too much attention to themselves by breaking your window in broad daylight.

Klara said...

I have 2 visit Lagos!!!

Anonymous said...

LOL..I always say that in Nigeria, all you need is a Horn. You don't need mirrors or anything, just a friggin Horn.
I don't think i can drive in that country.

angie said...

lol@ "Molue- Big huge yellow looking buses. They look like the yellow school buses in America". actually they r yellow school buses in America that was used in the 60s.
"Train- Has anyone seen a moving train lately?"
i saw one in yaba(tejosho market) recently and my jaws just dropped to the ground. All i can say is that i dunno if i want my enemy to be in that train..its worse than the molue and it was surprisingly packed full

Anonymous said...

Good post as usual - i'm loving your 101s. At first they made me Nig-sick (I no longer consider it my home) but now I'm just worried. I've exprience and heard too many stories of armed robbers and it just seems to get worse.

Last time i was there though, i saw these white buses which looked fairly decent and weren't your typical danfo buses. What are they called?

Mona said...

hehehe

Dimples said...

Nice guide!!!All ya'll going back home...take the advice o...for your own good.

Have a FAB holiday...enjoy it.

Mona said...

This is really good Enimien, keep it up..I really like it....and about that window smashing its not a lie, they smashed ours to ger our phones with a hammer on the bridge at Night on the way to church for New Years' watchnight service...and passers-by were just doing their own thing (as usual). God help us!

Parazone said...

"Whatever happened to struggling and making it with your man? Everyone wants a self made man. The problem is it will probably be you and two or three others sharing this self made man"

High five on that comment