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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

GETTING AROUND IN LAGOS

Lagos, Nigeria has been compared to New York, London and other crowded cities around the world. The traffic in almost every part is well-known. Although Lagos is widely visited by tourists and business travellers, most of  them do not explore the city as much as they ought as getting around is rather tricky. 
Lagos City
Truth is, finding your way around Lagos is quite easy. It is an undisputed fact that Lagos is one of the best-connected cities in Nigeria. The flyovers, connect bridges, numerous bus routes and thousands of taxis amongst others show the commute flexibility in the city. If you are visiting Lagos and you are at loss on how to move around, Jovago.com , Africa’sno. 1 Online Hotel Booking website brings this breakdown on the different ways you can move around Lagos.

Walking
While walking is not a popular as a means of getting around, many people in Lagos, including visitors walk . This is most common on the Lagos Island, along Marina. Walking is best for people who want to get a feel of the city. You will never get bored while walking. Sometimes walking from one district to another can make you feel like stepping into a different place and culture. Lagos can be quite rough as well, it important to always pay attention to the traffic flow. Pay attention to what’s happening in the street, even if you have the right of way. Also, do not wear anything flashy or carry too much luggage while walking, that way you stand less chance of being harassed.


Motor Bikes
Motor Bikes are generally referred to as Okada in Lagos. Although they are generally cheaper and faster than regular taxis, they are not allowed access on major roads and bridges. The government put a ban on these to minimise the number of road casualties. They can be used within estates or on narrow roads not easily accessible by car, prices range from 50-100 Naira depending on the distance. While the Okada might seem like a good idea as it is fast and convenient, travelers should avoid them completely at nightand on rainy days.

Tricycles
Tricycles, popularly referred to as Keke Marwa, became very popular in Lagos after bikes were banned. Like bikes, their movements are restricted as they not allowed on express roads.  They are cheap and can take as much as four passengers. They are available for charter which works the same way as with a taxi cab, but cheaper. Keke Marwas are a good alternative to a taxi if the distance is not too far.  The drivers manage to squeeze between traffic, saving you some commuting time.

Taxi Cabs
This is the easiest and most comfortable way to get around Lagos, especially if you are in a group of 2 or 3. It is impossible to see a Lagos street without a single yellow taxi cab. They are everywhere, all the time and they have parks at strategic junctions. Taxi cabs might be considered one of the most expensive option of transportation – an average of 1,500 per hour – but they are convenient. Aside from taxi cabs that charge per hour, in Lagos, you can also find a few that would negotiate the price based on the distance to your destination. Cabs can be hailed on any street, provided you find an empty one - often simple, yet nearly impossible between 5- 7pm as the traffic starts to build up in most places. While taxi cabs are safe and convenient, be aware that some taxi drivers tend to “miscalculate” your fare, adding more to what you are supposed to pay, while some are known to “detour” from the shortest route if they see you are unfamiliar with the city (like most tourists) for more gain.

Bus
In Lagos there are different kinds of buses. The first and most prominent is the Molue, a large yellow commercial bus, usually old, rickety, overloaded and overcrowded. The second is the Danfo, yellow minibuses that travel particular routes around the Lagos Mainland and islands (the ones on the island are now mostly painted white). These buses are also often overcrowded and not always reliable, but are much safer than the Molue. Third is the red or blue BRT  which runs between the mainland and the islands of Lagos on their own special lanes. While it might be the safest and most convenient bus option for now, it can be an exasperating experience, as there is always long queue at the station and the buses are overcrowded, particularly during rush hour. Pickpocketing is common on these buses.

Ferry:
Ferries are not as popular as other forms of transport in Lagos, despite the fact that the city has a lot of waterways. There are a few regular ferry routes between Lagos and Victoria islands and the mainland, however, not enough ferries or boats. There are some private boats that operate passenger services on the lagoon and on some creeks, but most of these boats and ferries are poorly maintained and pose a huge risk. If you must go by ferry, it is advisable to bring your own life jacket along or rent a good quality one. Also, ensure that you can swim. The cost of ferrying is not very expensive, from a low as NGN 200 for short distances.

While these are stand-alone means of moving around in Lagos, a combination can help you get to their destination quicker as well. Again, the launch of platforms such as Traffic Chief Nigeria , an online crowd-sourced traffic visualization and notification as well as Traffic Radio Station 96.1FM has been very helpful.

Do you have more ideas on how to move around in Lagos? Share your ideas in the comment box below. Also, don't forget to follow us on Instagram @jovagotravel, Facebook @Jovago or Tweet us @JovagoTravel.

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