Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

So I experienced a new first using public transportation in Jamaica. As I mentioned in an earlier post, public transportation here is very cheap and abundant. So abundant that I’m pretty sure 4 out of 5 cars in Port Antonio are taxis.

Last week I had the need to ride a coaster bus (see pictures below.) What is noteworthy is that without exception, the buses are packed beyond capacity. A typical coaster bus will “seat” 29 people. However, a typical bus driver will allow 35 or more people to ride the bus. There are about 5 rows in the back of the bus that seat 4 people across but almost always a 5th person is squeezed into a row so it now holds 25 people. Then there are 2-3 shorter rows that contain 3-4 people. Finally, there are 2 seats up front for passenger use.

It is a common practice for the bus not to depart until it is at capacity (or over capacity, as it were.) In addition to being over capacity, when the bus leaves the station, it also stops to pick up passengers along the way. I couldn’t count exactly because I was in the last row, but the bus was full (as described above), and there were 7 people (to the best of my knowledge) huddled together near the front of the bus, as well as, get this, 2 people outside the bus!

The people outside the bus were standing (on I don’t know what) and were pressed against the bus with their arms extended inside the windows and hanging on to the door.

What’s so amazing about this is rarely do the passengers comment or complain about being overcrowded. For the most part, it is accepted that the bus drivers are trying to make as much money as they can and well, “God bless them.”

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2 Responses to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

  1. Jenny Offt says:

    Hey Mary, this is how it was in Kenya and Thailand, too!
    The buses in Kenya were called matatu’s because they cost two shillings ti ride, the buses in Thailand were called tuck tucks because they were loud and spewed blue smoke!

    Thanks for the update!

  2. Joan Van De Moortel says:

    When a friend returned to the U.S. after living in the Philippines, the first thing she said, looking at roads, was, “There’s no excuse for ANY accidents in in the U.S.!”

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