My Most Annoying Experiences with Lagos Danfos {+Dealing with the Negativity!}

I’m fed up with Lagos Danfos. Of course, I don’t mean the buses themselves. Oh no. I’m talking about the drivers, conductors, the backseat drivers, the bus traders, bus preachers and those who just never seem to have their T-Fare complete! If you use these buses as often as I do, please, how do you cope? I mean I’ve had it up to here. Anyway, today, I’m going to share with you some of my most annoying experiences with/in these buses, and also how I deal with the negativity that often come with them.

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The ‘Dropped Off in the middle of the Road’ Experience:

This particular one has happened more than I can count, but this particular day was peculiar because it was the very first time such would happen to me. I boarded the bus from Ikeja to Toll Gate at an inflated amount of N250, instead of the usual N200. The journey, of course was filled with the usual – tight traffic, manuvures, occasional jerks and stuffs, but everything was okay, until we got to a place and the driver just decided he wasn’t going to toll gate anymore. Like what?! Everybody in the bus started shouting, ‘Lailai! After you collected 250.’ ‘When you were collecting money, you did not know abi?’ ‘No way.’

But all our shouts just kept going out of his other ear. At this point, It had gotten dark and the road had gotten really busy with reckless driving, but because no other bus was going to park for us to enter, the conductor had to arrange a moving bus for us right in the middle of the road. It then became a hustle-to-enter, survival-of-the-fittest situation. Everybody was running after the moving bus and only those who could jump made it in.

Anybody who knows me can guess whether or not I made it into that bus. You guessed right. I didn’t. And I wasn’t forming tush o. I really did run after the bus. Anyway, that’s how the bus left me and I had to walk all the way down to my bus stop. That day, I could not cry, I could not curse but it was definitely one of my most annoying experiences.

The ‘You are Going with this Bus by Fire by Force’ Experience:

On this particular day, I had entered the bus from Toll Gate to Ikeja. The time was past 7am, which meant that for the corporate workers in that bus, we were already late. You know Lagos conductors now? As soon as the bus gets full, they collect their money. I didn’t use to get the logic behind that action, until this experience.

Our bus was going fine but then, just before we got to Iyana-Ipaja, something sha happened to something under the bus. I don’t know what it was exactly but it was serious – one of the things that’ll require the driver lying under the bus to fix.

When the passenger realized that it was a serious something, we all got down and started asking for money from the conductor to enter another bus. You know what the conductor did? he ignored us like we weren’t even there. Then people started shouting at him – women especially, cos I remember one man opening his mouth and saying in Yoruba ‘This is why a woman can never be the president of this country. They lack patience’. I wanted to shoot the man one look but collecting my own change, at least, from the conductor was more important. So, I clinched with someone who was shouting {Note, I wasn’t the one shouting o. I just clinched. Wherever that person went, I followed.}

Long and short, the conductor refused to give us our money. In fact, he seemed to be enjoying the whole drama because he just kept smiling one evil smile. At this point, a woman was holding him by the shirt and threatening to beat him up. He also refused to put us in another bus. It was a ‘you-people-will-follow-this-bus-whether-you-like-it-or-not’ situation. Hopelessly, I picked up my phone and called my immediate boss to tell I would be late. Then, I went into the bus and jejely waited for them to finish whatever they were fixing. That just seemed like the most reasonable thing to do in that situation, because at the end of all our shouts and gra-gra, we all still followed the bus.

The ‘Corporate Bus Beggar’ Experience:

Another time, I entered a Danfo. I had barely settled in when the guy sitting one person away from me, leaned all the way over asking that I help him with his transport fare. That wouldn’t be the first time people would do that, plus I actually didn’t have enough money that day, so my answer would have been a no, only that I didn’t know how to tell him. I was still beating around the bush with questions, like ‘how much do you need? and how much do you have?, etc’ when the lady seated between both of us just opened her purse and gave the guy way more than he was even asking for.

Jeez! That was right in my face and I remember leaving that bus that day feeling like I was stingy. I carried that guilt with me, until some days later when I entered another bus and found that same guy. This time, he was seated in front of me and he must have forgotten my face because again, he leaned backwards and ask that I pay his T-fare. Again! I knew immediately the guy was just a corporate bus beggar and out went whatever guilt I had been feeling earlier.

The ‘So I have to Buy Something’ Experience:

This one is even very common, but it still remains annoying. So, one day I entered a bus and the conductor refused to give me my change. I kept asking and asking but he kept telling to wait, that he was coming. Ashey the guy knew what he wanted to do inside.

My change was 300, another lady wanted to collect 200 and we were going to the same place. You guys know the rest of the story already, right?

By the time we got to Ikeja, the guy just gave both of us N5oo and said we should go and sort ourselves out. Being an early morning, nobody was willing to break the money for us into bits, which left us with the only available option. Somebody had to buy something. Although none of us talked, I’m sure we were both thinking of who will now sacrifice her own change to buy something she doesn’t need. We both kept walking. In fact, I even sacrificed my shortcut route because of her, still the girl did not buy anything.

At the end of everything, partly because I was tired of walking with her and partly because I thought my change was more, I had to buy coke. The Coke was worth it at the end of the day, but I’m pretty sure I cannot be buying Coke every time that happens, so.


I’ve got a couple more experiences. Like the one time a conductor spat on my face. Not intentionally though. He was talking very loosely and the spit just flew to my face. That was asides the fact that he had been spreading his dirty armpit over my head all morning to collect money from those behind me. This particular experience taught me that sitting directly behind & beside the conductor is a bad idea.

Anyway, I could go and on but I’ll just stop here with this. One common thing that usually unites all these experiences is the negativity that comes with them. Once a bus breaks down or runs out of fuel or the driver keeps making unnecessary stop overs or whatever, the passengers are always quick to start cursing, raining abuses and complaining.

Sometimes, none of these even have to happen before people start saying something negative around you. The hard truth learnt from my rides in Danfo buses is that the bulk of Lagosians are angry, tired and just full of negativity. Recently, one of the buses I took passed by the popular market for cheap, second hand clothes called ‘Super’. Some people know it as ‘Katangowa’. As we passed, one man inside the bus just said ‘Thank God for these clothes in Nigeria, otherwise, people like us won’t have anything to wear.’ He said that in Yoruba and it was obvious he had generalized everybody in the bus when he said that. Some people agreed with him but my Spirit and mind refuted it immediately.

We can’t always avoid people around us being negative. If you can control them, fine, but if you can’t, as with fellow bus passengers, here’s what I do.

I plug my ears with some good, edifying music. Shutting the rest of the world out. 

I find that when I do that, it’s easier for me to think, read a book or even pray if I want to. Plus, I also make sure I constantly feed my mind with positive things, such that when I hear something negative, my mind immediately knows when to reject it.

What about you? Ever had any annoying experience with Lagos Danfos? How do you deal with the negativity around you? Would love to hear all about yours in the comment box below.

Till Later. I love you guys.


PS: The essence of this post is not to pass insulting/derogatory comments at drivers and conductors. They are humans too and I do have a couple of them I like. What we are doing here is simply recalling experiences we may call unpleasant/annoying, share how we deal with the negativity and at least have a good laugh.

If it's worth sharing, spread it.

Author: Seun Olagunju

I'm just a simple 24-year-old girl, living for One and working to make the world a better place than I met it. I love to teach and tell stories, which is what I do as a blogger. I'm also the founder of Beyond the Surface Development Initiative. There, I reach out to teenagers by educating and empowering them, with an aim to curb the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and school drop-outs in Nigeria. When I'm not writing or involved in a social project, I work as a Product Manager with a tech firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

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  • Loooooool. I can’t stop laughing. I can jump out of any Danfo at the sight of BRT (at least, they are preferrable).

    Have you ever entered a sane looking Danfo at a bus stop and as soon as it starts moving, your ears were caned by the noise from its anti-silencer engine in a 45mins journey?

    If I share more experiences, you will have “Danphobia”. Danfo has been hurting me since I knew lagos…

    I take my mind off the situation and sometimes when it’s soooo unreasonable, it turns to humour for me. It teaches one to be hardworking if you know what I mean…

  • Lots of laughs….. this had me laughing real good. I’ve had a lot of experience. The one I detest most is the ”marrying” when you have to pair with someone to get your balance. So annoying!

    That was how i boarded a bus from Under bridge Dopemu enroute Ikeja and gave the bus conductor #500 who refused to give me my balance after so much asking. Long and short, on getting to Ikeja the ‘supposed bus conductor’ disappeared taking everyone’s balance along with him on a Monday morning. Gosh! tears were close to my eyes but they couldn’t slip down my cheek. I am posh! lol

    Funny enough the bus driver didn’t even know him, he only picked him on the way, you know Lagos right?

    I wised up immediately, making sure i have the exact t-fare before leaving the house. My earphone and good songs has been saving lives since 1845. Lol

    Lagos Danfos also helps me to reflect on my days work, what i achieved or plan doing the next day. I get inspired too. But who says i can’t do that in a private car or Uber.

    My long comment tho.

  • Thank God you used the word ‘marrying’. I heard some people actually got married from there. Maybe it’s a joke, but if it’s true, that guy is sharp.

    Ehn ehn, What?! Wait. The conductor went with your change? That’s bad o. Don’t even know they do stuffs like that. You were forming posh? I would have cried. By the way, I don’t believe the driver. Wasn’t he aware that the guy was collecting money from the passengers? I don’t think any Lagos driver would be as slack as letting a total stranger collect his money and run. At least, the passengers would end up paying for it or something.

    Anyway, glad you can maximize your time to think sha. Buses are always a good spot, especially when you are spending so much time in them + earpiece and good songs? I totally agree with you.

  • The most annoying part is when the conductor’s armpit is hairy, wears a dirty sleeveless and has mouth odor, that situation literally takes ones breath away. And God should now bless you with a conductor that can talk and abuse, it is either one has breath cancer or you just find it hard to breath forever.

  • I can’t cope, honestly. That Lagos is just something else. Okay, maybe I can, only with God’s help, but arggghhhh!!!!

  • I definitely had a good laugh…
    OK, scratch that… I was having a good laugh throughout…
    I’ve had a few similar experiences… Most especially with the Bus traders… We all know how those go… Music is always my escape route… But the humor and comedy on display is always worth the ride… But I’m making very sure my kids will definitely don’t experience those rides… Except in their imagination when I tell them the stories… LOL…

  • Lol… a conductor left with my #300 change too, it was so painful. The annoying part was that he was acting “ready” to give me the
    change till he disappeared.
    And I tell you the abusive conductor part, Lagos is mild. Come and experience Ibadan, lol.