Lagos Goes Cashless

Lagos Goes Cashless: BRT System Paves Way for Smart Commutes

The BUS RAPID TRANSIT (BRT) system in Lagos is an important infrastructure in the public transport sector Addressing the need for effective and efficient sustainable mobility solutions.


This article aims to look into the evolution and the importance of cashless transportation within the Lagos state BRT system in the aspect of benefits,  the challenges faced, what implementation strategies are applied with the cashless policy to improve urban mobility on how it can be made affordable,  accessible and convenient for its users.

Background of Lagos BUS Rapid Transit (BRT)

The Lagos BUS Rapid Transit system also known as the Lagos BRT which is under the control of LAMATA and is being currently operated by the Transport Services Limited.

Lagos Bus Rapid Transit was created in the year 2008, 17th of March, by the then government—His Excellency Bola Tinubu Ahmed which was originally scheduled to open in November 2007 but later start its operations in 2008 with buses running from Mile 12 to CMS, to provide commuters with a clean, affordable and reliable means of going around in the city of Lagos.

Lagos BRT was created with the sole purpose of reliability,  convenience and faster movement than regular bus service.

The Lagos BRT system utilizes 220 buses to transport over  200,000 commuters on a daily basis.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also led the administration into sparing no efforts in standardizing transport situations in the state.

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He commissioned the Mafoluku, Oshodi, and Ajao Estate landscapes,  providing buses primarily to Oshodi Interchange, Ikeja Bus Terminal, Mile 2 and various parts of the city.


The Objective of the BRT Lagos system is to integrate bus lanes with high quality bus stations and vehicles,  infrastructures, and most importantly, to utilize branding to attain performance and quality standards of a light rail or metro system while maintaining the effectiveness of bus systems.


Public transport system is now headed towards being cash-based, especially for the intra-state services.

1: In early 2018, Sterling Bank launched FarePay, a contact less card which is driven by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority(LAMATA) for BRTs on the ikorodu road to Tafawa Balewa Square corridor.

This allows commuters to be charged exact fare and they don’t also have to worry about getting a ticket anytime they are about to use the BRT.

2: in 2020, the Lagos state government also

Introduced the cowry card, a no cash policy drive which is use as a means of payment for BRT users.

The card is sponsored by Tap and Pay Technologies, a central payment system that collects the fares for all transport service providers that is being managed by the Lagos state government, and there is a fraction remittance to the bus operatives.

3: The Europay Mastercard and Visa (EMV), a “tap-and-go payment system” specially created to make payment easier and faster as commuters can gently tap their cards on a console to board a BRT bus.

These are important steps taken to ensure an intelligent Lagos and a Nigeria that relies less on cash.

Lagos Goes Cashless: Importance of cashless transactions in the public transportation

The main goal of introducing cashless transactions in public transportation is to introduce new bus routes and get rid of issues related with collection of bus fares, by using EMV payment cards that are issued by the bank.

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The EMV card has been created in such a way that it can identify passengers, on which fare was charged using the Check-in/ Check-out framework.

Another importance of cashless transactions is including services and supervising the solution,  such as a 24/7 help desk for dealing users’ complaints and enquiries.

Implementation of cashless system in the Lagos

Using the Cowry Card would enhance a more effective and efficient service delivery to commuters, which have helped to promote seamless travel experience by commuters.

The cards can be used on ferries and trains and also to reduce waiting time at the BRT terminals

How do you use the Cashless payment in Lagos BRT?

Cowry helps you beat the hassle of waiting to board buses when traveling.

The Cowry Card is a digital wallet for making transport payment in Lagos.

After downloading from your app store, sign up, add money to your wallet, and you can pay for trips on buses, trains and ferries by tapping in your phone or at the payment terminals.

You can also transfer funds from your wallet to your COWRY card by using the self service devices at the bus terminal.

CoralPay and Touch and Pay’s collaboration leaves an important touch in the lagos commuting landscapes making commuters daily travels smoother and more enjoyable.

Technology is the future and the cowry platform is of great help making it more convenient for commuters using public transport.

If you are a Lagos commuter,you should try the Cowry card, CoralPay and Touch and Pay to try for a commuting experience.

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Major Challenges faced by the cashless payment in BRT Lagos system

The downside to cashless payment in public transport is majorly lack of reliability. From inaccessibility of payment machines to shortchanged commuters.

Most commuters complained that the exit payment machines are always faulty and make them pay higher than the normal fees.

Another passenger stressed that some BRT were not yet optimized “to allow you tap-out when alighting.”

Another also complained that the service providers are more determined to frustrate customers.

The good side of using the cashless payment system is that the commuters don’t always have to be bothered about getting a bus ticket anytime they are to use the bus.

Improvement and expansion plans for the BRT cashless transportation

1. Making sure to integrate  cashless payments with other modes of transportation like taxis,  ferries, and trains.

2. Creation of mobile apps that are user friendly, allowing passengers  to plan their routes, check buses available and making seamless payment.

3. An online website that allows users to report issues or how to improve, which can help in redefining the system.

4. An education system that educates non users on the importance of using a cashless system and how to use it effectively.

5. Accessible to those without smartphones or bank accounts by creating designated kiosks or smart cards.


The Success of the BRT system relies on designated lanes to ensure swift movement of buses, thereby reducing congestion.

Also, the integration of cashless payment with other modes of transportation is to provide passengers with a seamless travel experience by partnering with other means of transportation when navigating the city.

Having easy access to payment systems to all residents should be introduced. Likewise,  the ticketing booths can be placed at the bus terminals for easy access to make cash payments and account top-ups.

Embracing feedback from customers, both positive and negative reviews will help the system to know the aspects to improve on.

In conclusion,  the Lagos BRT system requires a strategic approach that addresses the payments,  mobile apps development,  feedback, education and accessibility that will enhance mobility.


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