Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vans

Nasim Tamimi is telling us about the snazzy new busses being put into service in Amman. While I salute any modernization effort in the country (even in Amman), I would like to let people know what public transportation is like in the rural areas in the country, just to keep some perspective.

Traditionally, the government has rationed the distribution of licensed bus lines in the country. The reasons are to ensure that people working on these lines can make a decent living. More to the point, it gives the government a low-cost treat which it can use to buy favors from local political or tribal figures. So, it was common that the government would give away bus lines to members of parliament or their immediate relatives in exchange for burying a corruption case or for getting a vote passed. Because these lines were rationed, getting a license meant cash in the bank. All the owner of the new line needed to do was to sell it for a handsome profit, or to buy a bus himself.

Of course, who cares about the poor slobs who need to get from here to there? Because this situation is designed to be a cash cow (despite enforcing moderate tariffs on the passengers), most lines are underserved, with laughable sights of people stuffed into dilapidated old Coaster busses.

About five years ago, low cost diesel vans started flowing into the country. Any unemployed young man with about 10000 dinars can now buy one and provide a parallel service to the officially sanctioned busses. No matter that police constantly harass them and ticket them for illegal transporting of passengers. The income derived makes it worth while to continue this practice despite the fact that it is not officially sanctioned.

The vans provide a less comfortable ride than the new Amman busses, but if you want to go from Ba’oun to Ajloun at 9 pm, you can do it for a moderate fare and you will be dropped of where you need to go. Forget about the old Coaster. The old guy driving it is in his pajamas watching Al Jazeera.

Thank God for private enterprise.

8 Comments:

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous hamede said...

So it is gov corruption.

 
At 3:23 AM, Anonymous HABCHAWI said...

I want to add that those buses don’t have any steady routes, precise schedules or particular stops. And from my experience, finding a bus is just bothersome. Because, as soon as the bus is out of the main roads or in the town he can roam where ever he feels like it. The driver might divert his rout to stop home and pick/drop something. For example, Last time the driver stopped for 15 minutes home to drop the groceries (bread and chicken) he just bought and to get a sandwich. Furthermore, finding a bus after peak hours is just a matter of luck because you will never find where the bus-stop is and in most instances you have to walk to the main road to find one. Not to mention that having the bus picking you up and dropping you is the decision of the so called CONTROL and every body knows that those CONTROLLERS are moody.............I can go for ever about this. So no matter what they do or say until something is done to solve this I will keep hiring the KIAs when ever possible.....:)))))

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hamede: Of course.

Habchawi (from Habaka (or Habacha?)): You are totally correct. The drivers and controlls pretty much can get away with anything they want. If it wasn't for the Kia's, getting around would be difficult.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous HABACHAWI said...

"Habchawi (from Habaka (or Habacha?))"

huh? what difference does it make if I am making a relevant point?

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Just curious. I just find the name you are using interesting.

ليش بتهاوش؟ ما حكيناش شي

 
At 3:04 AM, Anonymous Habchawi said...

Khalaf:
"Habchawi (from Habaka (or Habacha?))"
Officially Habaka but commonolly known as Habacha and i like the second:)))))
"ليش بتهاوش؟ ما حكيناش شي "
Khalf, in this post i am being imposnated by some idoit. it's not me and i am not sure why somebody would use the name....any way i will create an account.

 
At 3:13 AM, Blogger Habchawi said...

Amended:
"Habchawi (from Habaka (or Habacha?))"
Officially Habaka but commonly known as Habacha and I like the second:)))))
"ليش بتهاوش؟ ما حكيناش شي "
Khalf, in this post I am being impersonated by some idiot. it's not me and I am not sure why somebody would use the name....any way I will create an account

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

حياك الله يا حبتشاوي

 

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