A Danfo Bus Experience
The Danfo bus is regular to the mega city Lagos.
Without the Danfo shuttle buses it would be virtually impossible for millions of Lagosians and to go to various places. They are found in almost every metre of the bustling mega city.
The Danfo bus dates back to a really long time (talking decades) and they are part of Lagos culture. The buses are typically Volkswagen buses redone with the signature yellow and black colours with an artistic or somewhat crude vibe to it.
Danfo: Means noise.
Fig 1: A regular Danfo bus
Fig 2: Regular art on the buses
My Experience(s) in a Danfo bus.
My first experience on a Danfo bus was rushed so to say. My mom had always wanted me to experience the feel of public transport since I was becoming too much of a “omo bota.” At this time, I was 13. So a school morning provided an opportunity for me to experience it.
Pro tip: aim for the front seat (it is the best seat in the bus 😂)
It was quite an uneventful experience which is rare, but other ones were really memorable. There was a time that I almost fell off the bus because of the driver’s road madness and I was sitting close to the door (they are not usually closed) . Another time I witnessed a huge fight between the bus conductor and an agbero boy. There is hardly ever a dry time in a Danfo bus.
Tips & Things you should expect in a Danfo bus
- The Driver and Conductor are not good listeners:
To make sure they listen, you have to raise your voice. You have to do this especially when you are boarding and leaving the bus. If you don’t make clear where you want to go or stop, they may drive farther than where you want to go. Normally you say “O wa o”. But most times they call bus-stops ahead.
- They can be very dodgy and they might unfairly inflate fares:
For a first timer you can and will be cheated, there’s nothing really that you can do, except you watch how much other passengers going your route pay. When you notice that you are about to be cheated, be bold and raise your voice.
Let’s say for instance; when you alight the bus you pay waso (₦50) the conductor may ask for more. The best option is to wait it out, the bus has to go sooner or later. Or you could convince them that you don’t have any more money.
(You have to be dodgy too sometimes 😜)
- Always be prepared to hear some stories 😂😅😂
As I have said before you can’t be bored in a Danfo bus, there are always stories tell and hear. I remember one time in the bus, I overheard a man’s conversation on the phone (to be fair he was talking really loudly) about his brother’s betrayal to their family. You can always hear market and business tales and some interesting gossip and badmouthing. ‘God punish the government” you will usually hear, as Nigerians never stop talking about our government.
- Always have extra money on you ( Danfo buses keep you on high alert)
I say this for the following reasons;
- The bus could break down at any time because they are usually faulty. When this happens, the conductor is usually hesitant to give you back your money, especially when you have gone more than half your route. If you have places to be at, you better leave because the driver tries to fix it himself.
- Sometimes when there is traffic the driver offloads you to a driver who has no passengers, so he can turn around and get new passengers. Sometimes they pay the free bus, if not OYO LO WA
- There’s a lot of advertisement and preaching
Especially on long trips, there’s always someone advertising beauty products, medicine products and so many others. Most times it can be very annoying as they go on talking about their products benefits and ingredients.
On the other hand you can find stuff that you are looking for. Also, there is usually someone preaching and singing the Word of God on the bus.
- There are always antics
There are so many funny people in a Danfo bus. Sometimes there are funny moments like when there’s a problem with money, especially when the conductor notices that not everyone hasn’t paid their transport fare. Or when a traffic seller steals your change when you buy drinks or snacks.
- Bus drivers know everywhere. Sometimes if there’s hold up the driver takes shortcuts. But don’t fear you’ll still get to where you are going. Note: Remind your driver your bus-stop because a shortcut may be a little far from where you are going.
- Be cautious
Even though it’s a funny experience, you have to be careful about a Danfo bus sometimes.
- Don’t board a bus when you notice not many people have boarded the bus because they could be one chance buses.
- Try not to fall asleep; you can miss your stop
- Keep your belongings safe; there might be pick-pockets around.
- Inside the bus may be noisy
Since there are a lot of people there, it tends to be a lot of talking, so it’s advisable not to make a phone call on the bus.
- Don’t enter the bus if it is virtually filled
This makes things worse for you believe me. If you are cramped in the bus, you will hardly have air to breathe, or some level of space. Plus there would be a lot of smells and sweat.
- Bring a fan (hand or small electronic) along, it can get hot in there.
There’s not any room for an AC in a Danfo bus so bring a fan along.
- You need to understand a bit of Nigerian pidgin and slangs or (quotes)
Not many Danfo drivers and conductors understand a lot of English, do you need to speak a few pidgin words like;
- “I don pay”
Meaning of the word emboldened and Italicized
Driver: The person who drives the bus.
Conductor: The person who informs the route, fares and number of seats on the bus. Usually, loud and demanding.
The life of a conductor is tough because;
- He/she deals with Agbero boys who collect money from the
- Dealing with police officers
- Dealing with unreasonable Passengers.
Omo bota: A child that is used to a very easy life.
Waso: It means ₦50. It is derived from the 50 Naira note which has an inscription of WAZOBIA meaning come combined from Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.
Abeg: Means please in Nigerian pidgin.
I don pay: Means I have paid in Nigerian pidgin
OYO LO WA: You are on your own
Hold up: Traffic
Agbero boy: Thugs who collect dues from buses.
One-chance buses: Kidnappers
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