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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Navigating Lagos traffic with less stress

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Lagos State is infamous for its snarled traffic. With over 20 million residents and the sixth-largest economy in Africa, moving around in Lagos can be chaotic, exhausting and traumatic. With ubiquitous yellow taxis, hailing rides like Uber and Bolt, danfos (yellow buses), tricyles (keke NAPEP), motorcycles (okada) and private cars, and the appurtenant gridlocks, you’ll need to be discerning to navigate Lagos traffic.

Every day, most commuters spend at least three hours stuck in traffic, with not-so-commendable statistics of fatal accidents and environmental pollution five times more than the acceptable limit. What about the mental health and the impact on the productivity of Lagosians.

Traffic congestion in Lagos has been attributed to a number of factors including unplanned urban growth, reckless land-use distribution, bad road networks, urbanisation and indiscipline among motorists.

The economic loss of traffic congestion is unquantifiable, and knowing this the state government are building infrastructures to solve traffic problems in Lagos. The waterway transportation are being developed and the rail systems would soon become operational. In fact the Lagos Railway Mass Transit Blue Line will become operational in August of 2023.

According to a CNN report, “More than eight million people, moving in five million vehicles cram into a tiny network of just 9,100 roads every day. This is the reason why Lagosians spend an average of 30 hours in traffic each week – or 1,560 annually – while drivers in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic spent only 128 and 210 hours respectively in the whole of 2018.”

With the creation of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to coordinate transport policies, programs, and actions of all agencies at different tiers of government, Lagos State is poised to resolving transportation challenge in Lagos.

On the other hand, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) was established to transform the state transportation system to ensure free flow of traffic in the state and to reduce accidents, and the officers are doing the best they can to bring about sanity on Lagos roads.

Find below some tips for navigating and surviving Lagos traffic:

1) Make Google Map and InstantStreetView a companion

Having a good understanding of Lagos, the road networks and possible flash points for traffic congestion can be very helpful. This helps you monitor when when traffic is at its busiest in the morning, during the day, closing hours, in the night and during weekends. So learn how to use Google Map and InstantStreetView.

2) Consider moving closer to your place of work

Where it is possible, you may consider renting a home or apartment closer to the place where you work. It may lessen the energy-sapping criss-crossing between mainland and island at times. If you are married, consideration for your places of work and the children’s schools should be of high priority.

3) Be sure to leave early from home

One of the main strategy for surviving Lagos traffic is to leave home early enough to your destination. Many Lagosians’ lives have been defined by leaving to work early and arriving late back home. The drawback is the consequences on families where parents and childrens see each other, most times, for very few hours.

4) Monitor traffic situation on mobile apps and social media

There are a number of mobile apps and social media handles that offer real-time report on traffic situation in Lagos. You may do well by installing the apps and following the social media handles.

5) Make friendship with Lagos traffic radio shows

When driving, endeavour to tune in to the Lagos State Government established Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1 FM for traffic updates. The radio provides reliable real-time traffic data on congested traffic, with advise on detours, troubled areas and diversions.

6) Stay current with social and corporate events around your destination

It can be helpful to be abreast of social and corporate events around your destination. We love to enjoy life in Lagos. It may be the annual marathon races around your destination, some mega churches may be having a major event, or there is a cultural or owanbe event going on, you have to re-strategise on how to get to your destination.

7) Consider hailing a ride or use the BRT buses

Driving a long distance can be exhausting and sometimes being driven can help you survive more in Lagos. Sometimes you may have to consider hailing Uber or Bolt, or use any of the taxi parks to get to your destination. The government-owned BRT buses provide a stressless way of commuting at times.

8) Safety in Lagos traffic is gold

It won’t be a nice idea to fall into the hands of traffic robbers, so it is advisable to keep your car windows wind up when in traffic. In the same vein, it is also not advisable to buy anything being sold while in traffic.

Fiinally, there is nothing really to be afraid of in Lagos traffic. Plan well, strategise and be discerning, and you’ll enjoy Lagos, the centre of excellence.

Welcome to Lagos!

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