So, prior to about the middle of this year, I was lost. I was still disoriented about Abuja and how it worked, so I stuck to expensive means in order to get to and from school. These decisions left me penniless and pathetic on many occasions.
However, I one day woke up and took charge, the scales fell from my eyes. It all began with a question – what would happen If I started trying public transport? You see, I’d been patronizing cabs like no man’s business, and I was tired of it. Sure, cabs mean you go straight away to your destination, but they also call for that coin. I even contemplated why I, with such a small, barely existent derriere, would be sitting in a 5 seater car. So, I took the plunge, and it’s been pretty amazing.
While it’s increased the number of times I’ve been late to class, I have saved a lot of money, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also feel less guilty for having a small derriere, so everybody wins, right?
Inspired by my public transport experience, I’d like to share some of the 4 most awesome feelings I’ve felt while using the public transport system. When it comes to transportation, you can either use ‘drop'(just you in the car, aka cabs) or ‘along'(shared transport aka public transportation). I’ve gone three ways to my destinations (Area 1 is my hood now) using Keke (tricycles), Okada (motorcycles) and the occasional motor.
Firstly, I’ll break down their awesomeness:
Okada: What’s to love about Okada? They’re motorcycles, and so they’re swift and small. Though this causes problems as they sometimes give the drivers ‘license’ to be rough and risky, they’re pretty efficient for short, and even sometimes long distances. PS If you’re scared of crossing roads, don’t tell the Okada driver to drop you on the other side. You end up being denied, or you get into accidents like I did. Whoops. I love okadas, especially when there’s traffic, because they glide with ease while cars stay stuck.
Keke Napep: Another awesome form – which also may sometimes give the driver faux confidence. I love Keke because they can actually maneuver through traffic, unlike cars. The fact that there are no doors also cause the wind to hit you in the face (ha! Take that, cabs with and without air conditioning) Unfortunately, this means dust can also hit you, as well as smoke, putrid smells and rain. If you have that weave laid, wear a scarf or tie it into a ponytail pls, I’ve turned from slayed to mane by not following my advice. Still, pretty efficient for getting places.
Cars: Keke are my favourite mode of public transport because the back seats take 3, and whoever sits at the front does so at their own risk. Nobody will be forcing you to shift for a fourth person, and even when it’s hot, the breeze is always a welcome addition. That brings me to cars. Cars can be good but suck when you don’t get a good seat. They especially suck when the driver crams 4 people into the back when we all know good and well it’s meant to be 3. They also suck when it comes to traffic dodging. Gosh, why did I even list them?
Now I’ve laid out the good and the bad, I’ll tell you my best feelings when using public transport.
Cars: When You Get the Front Seat
Carpe diem? Nah, carpe de seat (get it? I’m hilarious.) Like I mentioned above, cars tend to have 4 people crammed into the back seat instead of 3, so there is no feeling as glorious as being the first person. You know what the first person means? Front seat! The other day I hailed a cab and used my ostrich genes to stride majestically, snatching the front seat which I rightly deserved. I didn’t even know some other guy was going for the same seat, and he walked away in defeat when I balanced my small derriere. Victory.
CAR & KEKE: When You’re Skinny, So You Don’t Have to Struggle
Oh man, I love when it’s all skinny people. Life’s just a tad easier than if there’s like 2 bigger people who alone could take up the seat of 2 people. Those rides are so comfortable! It’s better having bigger people in a Keke because I just settle well into my space, and they struggle for whatever space is left. I like being skinny in these moments. No shade to bigger people though.
When you get another awesome seat
I love the seat at the back where I don’t have to come out every few minutes just because someone needs to get down. I can just balance like the Queen of the Roads, imagine a fabulous life & come up with blog post ideas.
Being the Queen of Change
Ah, my favorite. I usually have N500 notes, and I love when I break them down. My best streak for change was having 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Naira notes. There’s just such power that comes with change. I don’t know, would you rather have N500 & N1000 notes? Different situations call for different types of money, and change is power. Trust me, getting into a fight with a driver over change is never cute.
Public transport is the way to go, for those looking to save money. I’ve saved a lot and learned a lot from using it. Though I still don’t know my way around 95% of Abuja, it’s all a learning process. There are times you need to use a private cab though. This is because things can be unpredictable sometimes, like if the police show up and suddenly everyone is running away and doesn’t care about passengers.
The other day, there was a fight between some forces and some drivers near my place, and I was so late to school because they were protesting over the death of a fellow driver. That day, I heard the loud pop of tear gas for the first time, and I hoped never to experience war. You can’t just predict these things.
That being said, I don’t think I’d survive public transport in Lagos.
Where do you stay? What do you use more? Public transport or Cabs?