Have you ever jumped buses (danfo) in Lagos? Here I describe the pros and cons of buses (danfo) in Lagos and I share some types of people you encounter on the buses. I also share the Danfo Story told by Micheal Umoudit owner of Umoudit Designs and his latest upcoming project
Let’s start with the pros:
THE PROS OF BUSES
1. It’s cheap, like realllll cheap
I mean this is the main reason I had to use it. Plus using a cab/Uber/Taxify daily to & fro cannot just agree with my pocket because a girl is broke. I’ll just be thinking of all the things I can buy with the money instead.
2. Organized to an extent
Now it clearly cannot be compared to the abroad where they have bus schedule and maps. However, if you know where you are going figuring out the bus route to your won’t be rocket science.
The best method is to ask someone that might be familiar with that route or to ask bus drivers. I am specific with bus driver because some Nigerians are terrible with directions and can lead you astray.
But most times standing at a specific junction, bus stop or landmark in Lagos you’ll be able to figure it out (most times sha, can’t vouch for everywhere)
3. They are good at skipping traffic
Buses tend to pass shortcuts or use the “extra lane” they create. They are skilled at cutting corners to skip traffic. Although, it is usually an extremly bumpy ride. It helps sometimes which I can never be mad at.
THE CONS OF BUSES
1. Poor condition of buses
The super old buses that make more noise than a train engine. There was this one time I was on a bus and the exhaust pipe just casually fell off. They also casually just wasted our time fixing it back but that is a story for another day.
3. Reckless driving
There are some extremely rough drivers that would rather drive on bumpy ass roads to get ahead in traffic than care (or pretend to care) about the comfort of their passengers.
Lol, I laughed at that point cause even educated Nigerians don’t know a thing about customer service so you can’t expect any better from them.
They really just drive madly most times. They would speeding and breaking traffic rules in their buses that are almost falling apart.
I liked to imagine it as a ride in a theme park sometimes, as I hang on for my dear life.
4. The “I no get change” situation
5. The “Jumping” aspect of busing
The slang for the act of getting on and off buses is called jumping. You literally have to jump down to get off most buses. There aren’t any pull-out steps or any of those pleasantries.
This part could be quite hectic when I’m wearing a fitted/short skirt or dress. Or when the bus is very high and my short legs are not really helpful at this point.
Then there are some drivers that would keep moving when you’re trying to get in or out of the bus. I would just be thinking to myself like, uncle if I wanted to jump out of moving buses perhaps I’ll be a stunts woman in Hollywood. Not tryna be one on the roads of Lagos.
6. Toxic smells
Now let’s move to some types of passengers you would probably encounter if you are regular commuter on buses.
These people come with the sole purpose of selling you something (and it is most times ridiculous). You see things like a very slim book that magically contains all the hymns and worship songs you can think of.
Or the cream that cures everything from eczema, acne, helps hair growth, cures headaches, relieves stomach aches… Need I say more? They are usually funny sha so I can’t even hate on their hustle.
Extremely loud talkers
These people confuse me, because I’m not sure if they trying to have a conversation with the entire bus. Or they just don’t know how to talk in lower voices.
Basically, they involve you in their phone conversations by being unnecessarily loud. Then some even have the nerve to put it on loud speaker.
Some people could just start having loud monologues (is the bus your theatre perhaps?) or singing super loudly (it’s a bus not The Voice/ Project Fame oh!)
I am here for spreading the gospel everywhere you go and being an ambassador for Christ. But some of these people do the absolute most, I cannot lie.
A particular morning, a lady got on the bus, she was already displaying E.L.T (extremely loud talker) vibes but we got past that. Next thing she starts singing gospel songs loudly I’m like go girl you’re praising your God & probably having a good morning.
Anyways the E.L.T starts preaching and directing her sermon to another passenger (I’ll refer to her as bad bitch here on). She was saying things like before she used to feel herself & think she was the hottest thing till God came into her life.
That she had the longest hair, but Pastor “so so” showed her the way… bla bla bla. She goes on praising her pastor whoever he is and saying more things along those lines all directed to the bad bitch.
I felt quite uncomfortable on bad bitch’s behalf cause my girl was just trying to be cool. Just to have someone shouting in her ear & telling her not to feel herself, like why?
My problem here is preaching should never be an attack scheme, go about it with love, is all.
Women with children & breastfeeding mothers
We all know being a Mother isn’t easy. But honestly sometimes it’s nice to be considerate.
There are some women that would come with their little kids and want to lap them which is fine cause that reduces their bus fare. Some others would come with 3/4 kids and still want to pay for just one seat! Like how is that going to work when the bus is already crowded enough.
Some would now try and beg other people to carry their children for them, like that’s just unnecessary pressure no one wants to feel. You’ll now seem like a wicked soul if you refuse, which is very awkward.
Then as for breastfeeding moms, I have no grieve with them cause their babies are hungry, so what can they really do. But I won’t lie it is very difficult not to look especially in such a tight and constricted environment.
There was a time I was sitting next to this lady, then she just whips out her boobies. I was just not expecting that, so yeah I was taken aback and had to regain composure quickly so I don’t start staring.
Now we all know that not everyone is going through their own shit especially when you are living in the 3rd most stressful city in the world. There are like so many people that are moving mad in Lagos.
In the bus, you just see different fights breaking loose. Some days it is about change or someone being rude to someone and it even gets physical too at times! It is all really dramatic and funny.
I like how sweet the insults sound especially when said in Yoruba or Igbo. Most times I just looked out of the window and struggled not to laugh because I had to keep it together plus I didn’t want anyone to move mad with me.
Dozing on Buses! I saved this one for last because I am part of this category. Dozing on a hot, stuffy and uncomfortable bus on a sunny afternoon is such a typical one for me.
There are different types of dozers. The ones that let their heads fall on the shoulders of the people sitting close to them. I am not one them.
The people that just full on lean forward to rest their heads and sleeep. Truly, this makes the most sense, especially if you are extremely tired. But I fear I might miss my bus stop if I do that.
The ones that just doze sitting still and upright in one position. That is me, I am one of them. I like this style because it just keeps me uncomfortable enough, to keep waking up to check for my bus stop.
Just be sure to know when your bus stop is coming or you could ask a seat partner to wake you at your stop. But this might be followed by a sermon, a hiss or a lengthy excuse.
Some friendly and cordial people would gladly wake you up though. My advice is, choose wisely.
I would end by commending the Lagos’ busing system in the sense that it is very convienient and is available almost everywhere in Lagos.
Going off topic, I’ll just like to say What we really need in Lagos are trains! Overhead ones, undeground ones and on the ground ones. It would take a huge toll off the amount of road users and probably the roads would not wear out so quickly.
If a properly managed train system could be implemented it would take a strain off so many Lagosians lives. They would finally be able not to waste most of their lives in traffic. If it can work in New York, why not Lagos?
The beautiful pictures featured in this post are by Michael Umoudit of Umoudit Designs
He is the Creative Director of Umoudit Designs, he creates afro-inspired drawings as body art, face art and on accesories and clothes.
He recently added Danfo (Buses) to the list of his medium, to share the Danfo story. The Danfo story according to him, tells the tale of “a mobile palace transporting dreamers from diverse cultures, religions, occupations and generations, that possess unique dreams and aspirations.” He believes that this four-wheeled bus plays a major role in the life stories of a great percentage of the Lagos population.
His latest project is The Danfo Story LIVE, an event where he would be designing the bus with tribal, afro-inspired drawings live. He would also be enlightening the audience about the theme of symbolism in the events that surround the danfo.
To stay updated with more of his upcoming projects be sure to follow him on imstagram @michaelumoudit
You can also buy his tribal design inspired accesories, or book him to do body/face art designs for your events and shoots. Be sure to contact @umoudit_designs on Instagram.
THANK YOU for reading and please be sure to share your busing experiences with me in the comment section. Hit me up on social media too.