After a lengthy bidding process, the two-line Lagos Rail Mass Transit project is set to break ground in September. This comes on the heels of the successful revamp of the city’s bus service, which now carries 180,000 passengers per day.
Can the rail project ever come to fruition in a city as chaotic (and chronically misgoverned) as Lagos? There are plenty of skeptics, given the recent failure to build two regional lines amidst charges of corruption. And, of course, whenever I hear about transportation in Lagos, I can’t help but think back to George Packer’s New Yorker piece from 2006, in which he described the life of an agbero—a transportation worker whose sole job is to negotiate payment disputes between riders and bus drivers.