Integrating formal and informal transit into one hybrid passenger transport system in Lagos, Nigeria

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - africa, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - other, planning - integration


Informal transit, Minibus, Jitney, Modernism, Bus reform, Africa


Informal minibus services dominate public transportation in Lagos, Nigeria. Local, state, and federal government entities in Nigeria have historically only been able to provide woefully inadequate formal transit systems. Informal transit has sprung up to fill this incredible demand. The cutthroat, individualistic grind of this system produces world-renowned problems of inefficiency, safety and, unreliability of urban transport in one of the world’s most populated cities. Still, the lion’s share of public transit trips in Lagos take place using informal services, which confer the benefits of dynamic transport that formalized mass transit generally cannot achieve. Government agencies preach the need for modernist, top-down imposition of bold, physical infrastructure projects and the eradication of the disorder associated with the informal system. This research takes a critical lens to the complex relationships at play in what currently embodies a competing, dual transit system rooted in institutional corruption. This analysis provides the groundwork for a potential collaborative relationship to develop in this place, leveraging the structural benefits of both the formal, ordered system and the informal system’s adaptive nature and situated knowledges. From this analysis, this research recommends the cultivation of operator associations within the informal sector to form the predominant platform for which the government can forge this complementary relationship.


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