Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Salute to Bus Drivers

I think I've mentioned I could never drive in Beijing. The drivers weave in and out of lanes, and pulling bizarre manoeuvres on the road that would get you a ticket or worse in an accident for sure elsewhere.

So that's why I think the bus drivers in the Chinese capital are pretty amazing. Many drive antiquated buses that groan when shifting gears or squeak to a halt at a stop light. And on top of that they have to deal with crazy drivers on the road who think they can sneak into any empty space on the road without realizing a bus behind them might not be able to stop in time...

These drivers also have to deal with packed buses most of the day, cell phones going off, babies wailing... and they only get paid 2,000RMB (US$263) per month.

I particularly liked today's bus driver. Anytime someone cut in front of him, he still insisted on honking at them, and it sounded more like a wailing duck call than a nasty honk. This happened on more than one occasion on my way home today. I don't think I could put up with that on that on a daily basis and keep my cool.

So here's to all the bus drivers in Beijing who manage to get us home safe and sound everyday (despite the cramped conditions).


Kai Sun said...

chinese people needs civic education to observe rules and etiquettes of life such as queing, not to spit, not to squat on the street, speak softly in public, turn off cellphone in concert halls etc. traffic in china is chaotic. there are lots of traffic casualities. when beijing first had hiways some peasants were killed on the hiways. some years ago i saw a cnn news clip showing a car speeding along the hiway, a person was crossing the hiway. the car was unable to stop in time. the person was hit and thrown high in the air subsequently killed.

toothfiller said...

You would at least expect that there is one Chinese driver at Formula 1 racing with this kind of environment! This is a perfect place to learn how to drive defensively, cutting in line, blocking vehichles that try to pass, and survive a wreck when things don't go well. Oh...they are doing that in Shanghai already.