Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Public Transport

Public transportation here really is just loosely governed private buses. The government awards levels of certificates, Level 1 being the best and Level 3 being the worst, based on driving experience, and controls the prices between cities based on mileage. There is also a law about how many people can be on a bus at a time.

Buses are privately owned, they don't run on a set schedule. They leave a station when they are full of people and you may be sitting in a seat for over an hour waiting for a bus to depart. And then you have drivers who just decided to not work for a day, meaning the lack of a bus might mean standing in the sun for an hour waiting for one in the station.

Being eager for bir, it's also not uncommon for bus drivers and radits (assistants whose job it is is to find passengers, handle paperwork, and collect money) to fit three people in a row of two seats and pack the aisle and a small space next to the driver with passengers. This results in a cramped bus where you're breathing in the sweat of others, someone's elbow really needs to get out of your side, and the windows are shut tight with drawn curtains. You're hoping and praying that the police won't pull the bus over and let you get on your way.
Road near my house, the donkeys didn't move for like a full five minutes and the bus kept honking and honking.

I rather imagine sneaking into Arizona from Mexico to feel the same way.

Of course, since I've been here the cops have been better about checking passenger numbers. It's been months since I had to sit on a bit of space the size of my fist or stand smushed between people and bracing myself on an overhead rack over bumps. But I still wait over an hour at least twice a month for buses. At least the local bus stations have some semblance of order now, be it lines or ticket numbers, no more mad pushing to get on a bus!


Corinne said...

It sounds like one of those adventurous things that gets a little old after a few times!

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