10 Reasons why I absolutely love taking public transportation in Zambia

Note: By “public transportation”, I mean the bus (see below).

Public Bus at a Bus Stop

Public Transportation

10. Who wouldn’t want to be wedged between two people of significantly larger masses who then use my waist and belly for armrests. Now I am acutely aware of my love-handles and who doesn’t love that?

9. I truly love it when Mr. “I haven’t taken a bath in 3 weeks because I love the smell of my funk” Stink, sits next to me because then I can’t breathe and boy, does that give me a rush.

8. Sometimes especially when I’m in a hurry and need to get someplace, my bus conductor is absolutely horrid at filling the bus with patrons and so we stand at a bus stop for 15 minutes (sometimes more), the length of time it would have taken me to arrive at my destination by broomstick (haha)… jk… by other buses with other conductors.

7. Mini bus drivers are a law unto themselves. Case in point, when rush hour grid lock traffic means every other other car is not moving, they convert the sidewalk into another lane, one that conveniently is without heavy traffic.

Off-Road Bussing

Off-Road Bussing

Bus on "sidewalk"

Bus on "sidewalk"

6. Each bus has it’s own unique quirk, some have doors that open from the wrong end, others have seat that look convincingly like 2 by 4 planks. All are prime for transporting livestock.

5. Talking about livestock, when I’m on my way to important meeting where I’d like to make a good impression, the best finishing touch is your chicken’s crap all over my new pumps. Love it!

4. After I ride the bus, I love the massive headache that I get from the smoke coming out from the bus and the wonderful that nothing I can do and no medication (sorry Excedrin, not even you) can take that pain away.

3. When I don’t have exact change, that automatically means that I want you, Mr. Conductor totake my money and charge me a “fee” for paying my way and not tell me about it, but let me find out while I’m counting my change and you’ve roared off into the sun.

2. The l0ngest distances are easiest to get to, and may only need a bus or two. The shortests distances of course require 2 and more buses and take even longer than the long distance. Fun! Fun!

1. It’s an opportunity to feel super-skinny. How else do you fit 5-6 people in a space meant for 3-4.

Bus Bus

Bus Bus

Disclaimer: Riding the bus wasn’t always as dreadful as I make it out to be. I appreciated the opportunity to observe people and their humanity as I have come to refer to it,  from such close proximity. I did find out that the bigger buses were more comfortable as I had been told but the little ones were zippier and there were many more of them around.

And yes, I will ride the bus again if the opportunity presented itself, love-handles and all.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Thanks for a lively view of Lusaka (Zambia) mini-buses! I ride on them quite a lot and, four years later, they are still as you describe. However there is more traffic and they are even more inventive in creating extra lanes. You forgot to say how cheap they and convenient! Charlie

    • 2

      Nkem said,

      You are spot on Charlie. They are incredibly cheap and convenient. I had just assumed that was a given, especially regarding public transportation in many African countries.


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