July 10, 2010

All Aboard

Who needs amusement parks when you have Lagos public transportation? I had seen yellow Volkswagen minibuses whizzing by constantly, packed to the brim with people sitting on top of people on top of chickens, and always with someone standing and leaning out the side door like a trash collector. When my hostess explained these were public buses, and we’d be taking one home, I was a bit thrown off. They operate like this: there are no “bus stops,” but passengers flag the minibuses down like they would a taxi. The man hanging out the side door is the “conductor,” and he takes 50 Naira from you and asks where you’re headed. You then squeeze in, somehow, and sit tight until the bus has gotten near enough your destination, at which point the conductor bangs on the bus roof and the driver pulls over and gives you about five seconds to jump. I’ve seen conductors racing after their own buses that start driving off without them.

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