The following summary provides an overview of findings from WhereIsMyTransport’s mixed-method research (surveys (online and offline), ride-alongs and focus group workshops).
In Lagos, 90% of women reported frequently travelling alone. However, another 14% said they also usually travel with their children on public transport. The link between public transport and children’s schooling came up frequently, with a major concern being the long waiting times for school buses or the lack of public transport options that results in children not attending school.
Survey findings further indicated that care work and trip-chaining largely impacted the women’s movement and transport use throughout their days. Over half of the women respondents (51%) travelled daily for school runs and child-care related activities. Childcare and school runs came up as the second most cited reason for travelling daily, after work.
While 75% of female respondents indicated that they relied on danfos (privately-owned minibuses or vans hired to carry 16-18 passengers) as one of their main regular modes of public transport, 39% also said that ride-hailing apps (such as Bolt or Uber) constituted their main mode of transportation. Working professionals in particular indicated that e-hailing was the preferred mode for getting around, and owning a car to reduce the stress of public transport was also an aspiration voiced by the majority of working professionals. However, if comfort and efficiency emerged as the main motivating factors for using e-hailing to get around, taxis and ride-hailing apps were not necessarily synonymous with more safety than on public transport.
The general sentiment with public transport in Lagos is one of dissatisfaction. Of all the women interviewed in the survey, 52% indicated being dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with public transport. The main reason given for being dissatisfied was the high cost of public transport (78%), followed closely by nearby public transport options not existing (51%).
When asked ‘what could be done to improve your public transport experience?’, “cost reductions” came up as the most frequently cited answer (34%), followed by “improved infrastructure (better roads, better vehicles)” (30%) and “more safety” (29%). These survey answers contrasted with the prevailing sentiment in the workshops, where the question of safety was more prevalent than the question of costs. We hypothesise that women-only workshops or focus group discussions play an important role in creating a safe and trustworthy environment where participants feel more comfortable and open to share their true sentiments and stories of public transport violence/harassment, in a way that survey questionnaires may not.
For young women, safety is more of a concern and public transport can be a particularly difficult experience. Students expressed concerns with verbal sexual harassment and catcalling especially. This stood out in contrast to older women, who were less vocal about having experienced verbal or physical harassment. In fact, survey findings showed that women aged 18-34 represented 85% of women having experienced verbal sexual harassment like catcalling, as opposed to 15% for women aged 35-59.