But on Monday Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said he plans to banish the buses by the end of this year because they are “not acceptable and befitting for a megacity”.
Ambode’s drive is the latest attempt in a seemingly never-ending campaign to tame the wild streets of Lagos, which is renowned for its traffic gridlock and crumbling infrastructure.
The governor’s goal is to replace the buses — as well as motorcycle taxis and three-wheeled motorised rickshaws — with a modern public transportation system.“When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses and see okada (motorbike) and all kinds of tricycles and then we claim we are a megacity, that is not true and we must acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running,” he said.
“We want to banish yellow buses this year,” he said in a speech, according to a state government news release.
“We must address the issue of connectivity that makes people to move around with ease and that is where we are going.”
Like other fast-growing African cities, Lagos, which is home to some 20 million people, has seen its population boom without the infrastructure to keep up with demand.
The first phase of a rapid transport rail system was originally due to open in 2014 and then in December last year, while there are even plans for a cable car system.The buses may not be pretty — many have doors missing and spew noxious clouds of exhaust fumes — while their drivers seem only vaguely aware of the highway code, indicators and the brake pedal.
But as a cheap form of transport, strictly enforced by a daredevil conductor often found hanging off the side of the bus, they are the preferred form of travel for many workers.