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How to Get Around in Lagos (The Transport System in Lagos)

by | Guides

Jul 20, 2022

Getting around in Lagos can be confusing for a newcomer, knowing which vehicles to board and which bus stops to board these vehicles. In this article, we make clear the transport system in Lagos, making it easier for you to navigate your way around Lagos.

Online Companies

When you first arrive in Lagos, your best move will be to rely on transportation companies. There are quite a number of them in Lagos, and they include Taxify, Uber, and Bolt. 

These are all online companies where you can order a ride from wherever you are located in Lagos. The process is simple. You log on to the apps or websites, create an account, and order a ride. A driver would arrive at your place to pick you up. 

The downside to this transport system is cost. In a city like Lagos, every minute spent on the road is money. And due to the traffic system, you may even have to spend a few hours on the road. This means you will be spending a lot. And this is exactly why not many Lagosians favor online taxi systems. 

You should be careful with transport system in Lagos at night. There have been a couple of reports that cab drivers rob their clients. You should be clear that your driver knows exactly where you are headed so you both don’t go missing. 

When you order a trip, the driver usually calls for more clarity. When he or she calls, ask if they know where you are headed towards. 

Read: What is it Like to Live in Lagos

BRT 

BRT is an abbreviation for Bus Rapid Transit System, and you can use them to get around in Lagos. The Government of Lagos State controls it. BRT is a network of large buses which may be able to evade the regular traffic of Lagos. In some areas, they have ‘corridors .’ This means an area on the road where only these buses are allowed on. 

Boarding a BRT bus means you will have more space. Since the buses are large, you won’t feel stuffed. 

There are two types of BRT buses: the red buses and the blue buses. Most people favor the blue buses because they are air-conditioned and more comfortable. The Blue buses have a particular route; they move through Ikorodu, passing a number of stops until it reaches their final terminal at the Tafewa Belewa Square. 

Red BRT buses, on the other hand, move along major roads. They move within Ajah, Ikeja, Alagbado, etc. 

I’d add that BRT buses are relatively cheaper than Uber and Taxify. To board BRT buses, all you have to do is visit a BRT bus terminal and pay for your ticket. There is the option to pay with either card or cash. 

Fill in the information currently, as BRT buses are quite strict on this; they will drop you at your documented bus stop. Since they are managed by the government, BRT buses are quite safe. 

The driver’s course is within a speed limit—and you are free from the trouble of being stopped by security officials who operate certain Lagos checkpoints.

Read: Where to Find Car Dealers in Lagos

Lagos City Taxi

Lagos Taxi is also another preferred means of transportation for Lagos residents. These Taxis are commercial sedan cars, like Audis and Toyotas, with a distinctive color. You can always tell Lagos City Taxi when you see one. The colors are yellow, with some red lines. Sometimes, they are just black lines. 

Lagos City Taxis are basically everywhere in Lagos, especially in busy areas. When you board a Lagos Taxi, be sure to board cars that make you feel comfortable. Look at the car, and assess its roadworthiness. 

If it looks road-worthy, you can go ahead and board it. If, on the other hand, it does not, you should move past and go pick another. 

The price you pay for Lagos Taxi services depends on your destination and your ability to beat down costs. In Nigeria, negotiation is one skill you do not have to overlook. If you seem like a rich person, or a person who does not know his way around, the drivers might bill you much more than your trip is worth. 

Most rides should not cost more than ₦5,000. Some even cost far less. 

Be safe at night. If you notice any suspicious movements when you board your taxi, have the security operatives on speed dial.  

Yellow and Black Bus (Danfo)

Danfos are commercial buses in Lagos, scattered everywhere along the city. You can get around with them anywhere you find yourself in Lagos. If you have ever seen a picture of Lagos Street, then I bet you have seen Lagos Danfos. They are painted blue and have black stripes—one or two black stripes. 

This is the favored mode of transport for the regular Lagosian who now knows his way around. Danfos are very cheap, and they reach everywhere in Lagos. From the Island to the interior parts like Oshodi or Badagri. 

When you get to a Danfo bus stop, you will hear calls from the conductor. These calls tell you where the bus is going to pass through and where its final bus stop will be. So, yes, it serves as a map, sort of. 

You don’t have to board any tickets—all that you need to do is have your money in hand. Have some change—the conductors complain quite a lot when you don’t have change. 

The downside of using danfos is that you may have to struggle to have a seat, especially in the mornings and evenings. 

Read: Lagos Travel Guide: What to See, Do, and Eat in Lagos

Maruwa

Maruwas are tricycles, also called Keke Napep, and you can use them to get around Lagos easily. I believe you know a tricycle when you see one. Lagos tricycles are painted yellow and can be seen everywhere in Lagos, especially on the mainland and in markets where you have to move far distances. Kekes do not drive on major highways. And they are quite cheap. 

Okada

Okadas are motorcycles, also known as bikes. They sure may scare you, but here is why Lagosians board them: they can maneuver through traffic. And save time. However, you should not board them if you have not boarded a motorcycle before. The drivers go too fast, so you just might fall off if you do not sit properly.  

The Lagos state government banned Okadas from operating in several local government areas in the state. So you may want to think twice before riding on them.

Photo by Sheyi Owolabi on Unsplash

By Allison

Allison is enthusiastic about finding information and sharing guides about Lagos. He also covers all exciting topics about Africa at Lonely Africa. He lives in Lagos with his wife Antje and cat Leo and loves fabric crafting, and watching TV in his spare time.

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