Weekly Column: Trials of a Commuter

By Omordia, Efe Alexandra – Lagos is worse than the stuff nightmares are made of. This is because nightmares at least come to an end. However, for the commuter who has to travel a long distance everyday it is a reality that may last for a life-time. For the average Lagosian it is a given for the individual to get up with the roosters and to sleep long after the roosters have settled down for the night. Due to the astronomical rates of accommodation in the residential areas close to commercial centers, workers have to live quite a distance away from where they work and the journey to and fro can be quite a testy one. Most of the buses available are cramped and quite uncomfortable and the traffic jams and uncomfortable roads don’t help matters. The often grumpy and over-confident driver (who wants to make the worst of a bad situation) is quick to tell passengers who complain about the fact that the buses are overcrowded to get out if they can’t stand the heat(after all he probably has an army to feed at home). He does this because he is aware that he will always find desperate passengers in the overcrowded bus-stops and the passengers often have no choice but to grumble all the way to their destination. This often leads to fists being exchanged at the slightest provocation by either of the parties. Commuters in Lagos can be really mean and horrible but one doesn’t need a shrink to figure out why tempers often flay. It is so obvious, from the state of the vehicles that convey them to the state of the bumpy road that it would only take a saint to be friendly in such uncomfortable surroundings.