By Laju Iren
No matter how rich you are, there’s just something that doesn’t sit right with you as a Lagosian when you pay N100 for a service that you can get for N50. That’s where White Molues come in. They are really big buses that charge half the price it costs to board the regular ‘danfo.’ Danfo refers to the so-badly-managed-accident-waiting-to-happen-but-God-forbid-won’t-happen fourteen-seater yellow buses that form the major part of Lagos’ weak transportation system. Anyway, so back to the White Molues. I must say that they are not to be confused with the BRT buses with their tickets, long lines and instructions not to preach (imagine that). Neither should they be confused with the yellow Molues that are so old, they should not be boarded by people who value their lives. That said, here are the life saving tips promised:
White Molues have two doors: one at the back and another at the front. If you are boarding one, you would do yourself good to sit close to the door. This is because contrary to all rules of organized behaviour, the bus will not wait until everyone has alighted before moving along. So if you do not want to be spat out of a speeding vehicle or taken way past your bus stop, Abeg, kindly ‘near door.’ If however, all the seats near the door are taken, you might need to stand up a short while before your Bus stop and gravitate towards your preferred exit point.
No, not the APC mantra. Abeg, who that one epp? White Molue conductors are especially brutal and don’t take too kindly to being given N500 for a N50 fare. If you don’t have change, the next best bet is to become a conductor yourself. Find out who has change around you. Collect their fare and do the maths before breathing a sigh of relief. If however, your efforts are also fruitless, your next course of action would be to keep your cards right. You heard me. Because they carry many passengers, White Molue conductors keep tabs on those being owed change by given them fragments of Whot cards. Don’t put yours in your bag or pocket please. You will forget. And if you will get your change from the White Molue conductor or any other conductor in Lagos, you cannot afford to forget. You must remember; Not the passive I-got-it-at-the-back of my mind thing, but the active-repeating-it-to-yourself-till-you-get-to-the-bus-stop scenario. White Molues usually have two conductors. But only one collects the money. That’s the one you should keep an eye on as you near the end of your journey. When the bus stops at your destination, especially if you’re not getting to the last bus stop, don’t sit down waiting for your change. Fix your eyes on the conductor and follow him when he steps down.
More on seating arrangement
I must warn you. The seat behind the driver usually ‘houses’ the person selling wares in the bus. I use the word ‘houses’ because it’s a three seater couch and the other two seats are available. Back to the warning. Sitting behind that seat might mean that the seller can spit on you when passionately marketing his wares. Sitting beside him could also mean two things: one, that you will be the first recipient of his ‘perfume’ every time he lifts his hands and two, that he is likely to hit you a few times. My advice? Stay on the other column so you can enjoy the sales presentation from a safe distance. As a rule of thumb, I don’t usually buy things on the bus. But that is a personal matter. If you see something that interests you, by all means help yourself. Just try to restrict purchase of medication to pharmacies alone. If you sit close to the aisles, you’re likely to get stepped on when others are boarding.
Watch your belongings
People steal in small Danfos, how much more big buses. Don’t be a show off. Hold your bag tight. Keep your wallet in your front pocket especially if you’re standing. Keep checking to be sure it’s there during the course of your journey. Tablets and expensive phones don’t mind waiting till you get home before they are used. They won’t complain.
If you wan stand…
Many unscrupulous guys take undue advantage by groping ladies standing in big buses and pretend like they don’t know what it going on. If you’re a lady, don’t stand if you have a choice. Guys, like I said earlier, give your wallet ‘close marking.’ You also need to monitor your surroundings. When someone signifies that they are coming down at the next bus stop, get close to them so you can take their seat when they get up.
If you’re pregnant and can afford it, skip the Lagbus. Except the driver promises to be on his best behaviour. Even then, insist that he parks before you board and alight. Don’t move around or volunteer to stand in a moving White Molue. That’s the exclusive preserve of non-pregnant people.
Be sure the bus stops and is not in the middle of the express when you board and when you alight. It is better to get taken past your bus stop than to end up in the hospital.
Anymore tips I didn’t mention? Please share in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to tell me what you think.