A good number of Nigerians, especially younger Nigerians, have embarked on inter-state journeys at least once. For many, being with their family members or friends, as opposed to going solo, defined the experience.
Travelling alone is a different affair entirely, and the present context is no exception.
Whether for festivities, business appointments, weddings or burials, one must be mentally prepared for the terrain of inter-state bus travels on Nigerian roads.
For starters, proper early planning beats any last-minute rush. Ideally, a prospective sojourner should secure their ticket at least a day before the trip.
While commuters typically purchase their tickets at the bus park on the day of departure, transport services in Nigeria and commuters alike are warming up to the practice of online booking. This means that all the spaces in one’s desired bus may be taken up a day before the trip.
To mitigate uncertainties, a first-timer should endeavour to secure their tickets before departure day by booking online or physically going to the terminal of their chosen transport service to purchase their ticket.
A first-timer must be mentally prepared for uncertainties, regardless of the transport service. Even with the most meticulous plan, things can go sideways. For example, a bus may not be as comfortable as expected. A bus may also not depart at the stipulated time or break down, even after passing prior routine checks.
Given that pitfalls unsettle even the most experienced travellers, first-timers must brace themselves.
First-timers should also strive to comply with the luggage requirements. While commuters typically pay an extra amount for additional luggage, a first-timer should strive to ensure that only essential items make the trip.
Refreshments and Outfits
Inter-state bus trips also feature periodic stops. On most occasions, the buses stop to purchase fuel. First-timers should take advantage of these stops to stretch their legs and purchase snacks as well as beverages. By implication, first-timers should have enough money on them—even for seemingly short trips.
At the same time, first-timers should be discerning in their choices to minimise instances of being pressed during transit, coupled with subsequent health issues.
Furthermore, first-timers should opt for comfortable outfits with a jacket or hoodie on standby for abrupt weather changes. Slides and palm footwear are also preferable to sneakers, to forestall leg discomfort.
Prior to departure and upon arrival at the destination, a first-timer must closely monitor their luggage. First-timers may also opt for e-hailing services when available to convey them and their luggage to their temporary residence.
Even when regular taxis are engaged, first-timers are advised to spend as little time in bus terminals as possible to avoid being preyed upon by swindlers and other sinister elements.
Average Rates and Bus Types
Trips between two or three states typically demand fares between N5,000 and N10,000, with anything more than three states falling within the range of N15,000 and N30,000. Rates surge during the month of December and early January due to demand, but remain largely stable all year.
Popular bus types include microbuses, minibuses, and airport buses. Some transport companies also run a fleet of minivans, popularly known as Sienna buses.
Inter-state bus travel may not always be convenient, but it is memorable for the most part. If anything, it offers the opportunity to appreciate the Nigerian scenery.