In a country with an average daily income of about ＄2(₦2,000), ₦200 might be a significant amount. It’s the price for a bottle of water, roadside snacks, maybe even a bus ride. But for some Nigerians, it has become something else: the price of dignity.
The BRT has become one of the most popular ways for people to move around Lagos, especially for people who work on the Island and live on the mainland or in neighbouring states. However, the BRT(Bus Rapid Transit) system is well-known for its long queues and delays as passengers have to endure hours of waiting often under the scorching sun.
Amidst this frustration, the alleged queue-jumping scheme has become well-known. For ₦200, passengers can allegedly bypass the queue and gain immediate access to the bus.
It was even more frustrating as there were fewer buses available, and people had to endure longer hours of waiting before they could finally board a bus. Unfortunately, the bus officials did not relent in their queue-jumping scheme.
Speaking to Mrs Ola, she shared her ordeal, saying, “I got to the terminal around 6:30 am and left there around 9:30 am. I watched people who arrived later than me enter the bus while I waited in the queue for hours.” Her frustration mirrored the experiences of many other commuters.
Another passenger, Joan, recounted her experience after work, saying, “Yesterday at Obalende, I stood at the same spot for one hour and watched 3 buses get filled before I could even get a chance to board”.
Mr Timothy highlighted another troubling aspect of this practice: “These officials even drop bags on seats for people and wait in the bus, guarding the seats until the passengers get in”.
These firsthand accounts emphasize the urgent need to thoroughly modify the BRT system to ensure it serves all passengers equally.
As commuters face these challenges daily, the call for fairness, transparency and efficiency in public transportation becomes increasingly urgent.