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Lagos Traffic: A curse
As y’all know from my last post, I went on a vacay in a city called Lagos in Nigeria which I (maybe you too) think is an irony. Nobody goes on a vacation to Lagos if it’s not a holiday, a honeymoon or they aren’t staying in a hotel. This is because everyone is goddamn busy! Visiting someone in Lagos doesn’t make sense if they aren’t going to be available for the most part. The only time you get to see them is at night when they are most likely exhausted or maybe weekends if they have no plans…
…and here’s why: Lagos life is HARD!
Everyone is always on the go. Some people get up as early as 3am, leave their houses latest by 4 or 5am (depending on how far the distance is to their workplace) just so they can avoid traffic because they know if they don’t, shit is gonna go down. The Lagos traffic is horrible! Horribly terrible!
On a good day, if one’s house isn’t far from where they work and they close by 5pm, they can get home in an hour or less. On a bad day, an hour plus. It is worse for those who live far from where they work. On a good day, even if they close at 5 or 6pm, they can get home at 9pm or before. If it isn’t a good day, then 11pm and anywhere up. Oh and FYI, bad days are Mondays and Fridays but they can also appear on any other day too. Crazy!
During peak hours (which are either when people are heading to work or coming back) the cost of transportation usually increases. People who are desperate to get to their destination just accept the costs. Others who aren’t or just don’t have the money wait till the price drops. What a life!
I remember when I went to see my Cousin in her office. I dressed up in my knee lenght pleated skirt, my light turtle neck top and flat cooperate shoes, looking and feeling so fly only to get to the bustop to see the humans of Lagos all queued up waiting for buses. It was such a heart wrenching sight. As any bus stopped, people would struggle to get in, and by struggling, I mean literally pushing everyone and forcing their way into the bus till it was filled up.
Me: Oh wow! This is babaric. I think I’ll wait till the number of people reduce so I won’t have to struggle.
* Several buses and more people later*
My brain: If you don’t act fast, you will definitely sleep here.
Me: Entering the bus like hulk! Pushing, punching and kicking people just to get a seat.
Let’s just say I was victorious 😀
But there and then I understood what people mean when they say ” everybody is mad in Lagos”. Lagos traffic and struggle can make one mad. Imagine being stuck up in traffic for several hours after struggling to get into the vehicle on a trip that ought to take 20 minutes. Mad is an understatement. Rage and anxiety is what you’d feel. Is this not a curse?
It was also at that point I understood why some people just come out of vehicles and commit suicide by drowning. Everything is just frustrating. First, the uncushioned seats, then the unbearable heat and the amount of sweat dripping from everyone’s body like they are in a shower. All these coupled with the consistent demand for change from the conductor.
People would opt for uber rides if they could, but it makes zero sense to order for a ride when there is traffic because one would still be stuck and would pay so much. The amount it will cost to take such a ride would be enough to transport one to another state entirely and in some cases, even bring one back.
The humans of Lagos suck it all up and have adapted to the hard life. At the end of the day, it seems easier and wiser to endure the discomfort of public transportation for a token than to enjoy the comfort of an Uber at a price one can’t afford.
Thank you for reading. What do y’all think?
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