The roads are quite correct, at least compared to those of some neighbouring countries.
Buses and bush taxis
Several private bus companies travel around the country. The most reliable at the moment are ATT and La Poste buses, but there are others.
Beware, it evolves quickly, vehicles wear out and are not always maintained or replaced, some companies disappear, others are created. Find out more on the spot.
In Cotonou, each company has its own bus station. In other cities, they are sometimes grouped together on a single site.
Otherwise, there are of course bush taxis (minibuses with 12 to 20 seats or bush taxis with 5-9 seats). Official prices for the main routes and frequent departures. In each city, they are grouped together in the same station. The road network is rather in good condition in the south as well as in the north, despite some difficult stretches, which we point out city by city.
In cities, the most practical and economical way to get around is the motorcycle taxi, or zemidjan (a word meaning “take me fast” in Fon), abbreviated to zem.
Depending on the distance, a ride costs from 100 CFA francs and almost double that at night, while it starts at 125 CFA francs for a collective taxi, but they are much rarer. In Cotonou, they tend to modulate their prices according to the colour of the skin.
Zems can also be used to cover longer distances, to link two bush villages for example.
Don’t hesitate to ask the driver to ride slowly, or even, if you are a biker, to take the handlebars, passing the driver at the back. Wearing a helmet is compulsory.
If the development of the zemidjan has become alarming, mainly in Cotonou, it is largely due to the lack of an urban transport policy: no buses, fewer and fewer archibundated and worn-out collective taxis, but above all massive fraudulent penetration of tampered (and therefore cheaper) fuel from neighbouring Nigeria.
We are talking about 30,000 officially registered zemidjan and 90,000 actually circulating. The number is clearly visible on the back of their waistcoats, in different colours depending on the city (yellow for Cotonou).
Add to this the motorcycles of private individuals, even more numerous, and of course all the other vehicles, and you will have a small idea of the intensity of traffic in Cotonou, the noise and the breathability of the air that results. Because tampered petrol implies dubious gas emanation. Besides, Cotonou is constantly covered with a thick veil.
Officially, the country has embarked on the fight against pollution, but, at the same time, petrol smuggling from Nigeria continued to be tolerated and the resale of the precious liquid on the roadside was still flourishing. And the increase in official petrol prices only made it more attractive to buy smuggled fuel .
The government had intended to ban the sale of contraband gasoline, but momentarily gave up in the face of violent reactions.
Cotonou-Bohicon-Dassa-Savé-Parakou: passenger traffic on this mythical line has been stopped since 2006. And we hardly know if it will resume…