The norms of transportation where I come from is that there’s a fixed price for the cost of transportation and if there’s going to be a hike in transport fare, then it must be as a result of increase in the price of fuel. You can then imagine my shock, when I got to Lagos, and I discovered that the fixed price to certain destinations aren’t fixed at all.
So if you aren’t a Lagosian but you are hoping to visit Lagos one of these days, or you are new in Lagos, this issue of life of a Lagosian is for you. Let’s look at some reasons why transportation fare rises and falls in the Mega City Lagos. Take note that I said some of the reasons, I didn’t say all because believe me when I tell you, prices go up for the most reasonable reasons and even the most ridiculous reasons.
JJC dues: I guess there’s a look that is ascribed to people who have been in Lagos for a while and if there isn’t, then Lagos drivers have the uncanny ability of recognizing a JJC, and when they see you as one, you will most likely become a victim of personal hikes. Personal hike is a situation where by, you are heading to the same place as every other person in the bus, but you end up paying more than every other person in the bus.
My first trip to Anthony from Oshodi, I didn’t know where to get the bus and I made the mistake of asking a driver who was heading to Bariga. In pidgin the man said ” you no fit get Anthony bus, no Bariga bus you go take”. I took the Bariga bus, paid standard Bariga fare, only to discover that Anthony was just about five minutes ride from Oshodi, coupled with that, there were danfo going to Anthony and if I had boarded the right danfo, it wouldn’t have caused more than 50 bucks.
Consider the JJC dues or what you can also call the personal hike a rite of passage. It’s an initiation ritual, welcoming you to the land where all dreams are attainable.
Owambe Weekends: If you find yourself around Ikeja, Oshodi, CMS or say, Iyana Ipaja on a busy Saturday night, where you have lost of people heading in your direction, then be ready for an hike because crowd gets Danfo drivers high on greed, the same way cocaine gets a junkie high. If there’s a perfect example a scenario that blatantly contradicts the law of demand, then the way Danfo drivers hike fares when there are lots of people on the road, will be it.
Personally, I think hiking of price on Owambe Saturdays is as a result of drivers’ belief that passengers are often in cloud nine after enjoying themselves and as such, have a lot of cash to throw away.
Rainy Lagos: “Eko a romi sa legbe legbe”. You know how rain falls 300 days out of 365 days in Lagos? Well if it were possible, rain will fall all year round in Lagos and drivers know how to exploit this. Any sign of anything that looks like rain, be it a gloomy weather or a drizzle, then the next thing you see is that danfo fares skyrocket immediately. The annoying thing about rainy Lagos is that, unlike other hikes where prices are increased a teeny bit, for rainy days, the hikes always hit the roof. For instance a danfo that cost an hundred naira has the tendency of moving all the way three hundred naira. Unfortunately, having no choice on days like this, Lagosians still troop into this danfos and life moves on.
Greedy Drivers: It isn’t rare to find drivers who just personally choose to hike fares as an individual. Where everyone charges 200 naira for Berger to Oshodi, he will decude to charge 250 naira or 300 naira. To add insult into injury, this is quite common in drivers who drive the most rickety buses and it makes you wonder, why should he charge more, when he has the one of the worst danfo that plies the road of Lagos.
Does the increase in price frustrate Lagosians? Definitely, but then it’s one of the spice of Lagos, it constantly hammers into us that just like a member of the boys scout, one has to be always prepared. Go out with enough cash and a little extra. Avoid spending on frivolities when you go partying lest you become stranded in the middle of your journey.
Overall, when I find myself facing the fare hike, I say to myself, “if life throws you hay, don’t wallowed in self-pity, rather, make a ball out of the dry leaves and enjoy a game of soccer”.
Still your nerdy girl,
Thank you for keeping up with the “Life of a Lagosian” series.
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