Lagos is a city of BUSES. Yellow buses. White and green buses. Red BRT buses. Blue BRT buses. I didn’t grow up entering buses. Cabs were the only things I could relate with and I had to do a lot of adjusting – psychological adjusting.
There are are cabs in Lagos though, but they are expensive and are not as regular as buses. Everyone jumps the bus. And truth be told, the buses in Lagos are horrible. Being in it just makes me feel as though I am being sent to a prison. In Lagos, the seats are equal to benches, nothing on the seat to make you feel comfortable, just wood – hard wood. Five people sitting down on a wooden bench meant for four…
After seeing the horrible state of the buses, I knew I had to find an alternative. Something more comfortable. I was told about the LAGOS BRT BUSES – LAGOS BUS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM. The BRT buses are cheaper ; while you pay #250 in the other smaller buses you could pay #150 in the BRT buses. With the BRT buses I did not have to squeeze myself and subject my buttocks to hardship.
Everyday after work, I would walk down to the Oando fuel station at Marina and join the line for the bus. Some days I get lucky, I do not meet any line and other days I am so unlucky that I join a very long line. Most days, two buses get filled up while I am still on the line. But not even the long line could stop me from using the BRT bus. There are even times when there are no buses at all but I wait…thirty minutes…one hour…one hour thirty minutes… I wait…
I was so bent on using BRT all the time that I wrote poetry.
BRT was beginning to feel like home, a safe place…until one day. ghen ghen ghen
One day like that after work, I walked to the Oando station to wait for the BRT bus. ONE HOUR THIRTY MINUTES LATER, I WAS STILL STANDING. Waiting for the bus. I left work by 5:00pm and 6:45pm I was still waiting for the bus. They had sold the tickets to us already and in the waiting process I bought an MTN recharge card. Now, when I was done loading the credit I squeezed it and threw it away, what I didn’t know was that in the process I had thrown half of my BRT ticket.
Now the bus came by 6:50pm almost 7:00pm and just when I was about entering the guy collecting the tickets said I couldn’t…just because I had half of the ticket. To think I was first on the line!!!!!!!
“But you saw me buying the ticket just now? Why can’t you take half of it knowing that I just misplaced it like 10 seconds ago?”
“Heis, if you no get talk abeg commot, we no go take your half ticket”
“So after standing for two hours you are saying you will not let me enter the bus even after collecting my money from me?”
The other ticket collector said they could not collect the half because they always have to remit and account for the other half to the authorities.
While all this was going on, a very nice lady reserved a sit for me, hoping that they would let me in. For where!!!… They did not let her. In fact they were fighting with her. The woman was screaming;
“It is not fair. This lady has been here, standing for almost two hours, you sold the tickets to her and you know it. Can’t you people be humans for once?”
I was about crying, but God-forbid that I drop a tear for these miscreants. One man was busy looking around for the other half, and he found it squeezed up with the recharge card I had thrown away. But by then their stupid bus was filled up and these idiots in human form refused to give me back my money…
THAT WAS WHERE MY MADNESS STARTED!!!
People suggested that I buy another ticket. I refused. I was angry, disgusted, frustrated, irritated…
I finally got back my money and found my way to the prison-like bus area…
It’s been over a month now. I have gotten used to the prison-like buses.
It’s a terrible thing but I am surviving.
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Chimdinma Adriel Onwukwe