Who Needs Kite Surfing When You Can Ride in a Tata Bus?

Tata bus in Seychelles
By Louise Pool
I do not and have never indulged in ice climbing, bungee jumping or any other extreme sport, although I do seem to be drawn to the type of man who does. I get my thrills vicariously by watching my man take the risks or from watching serial killers and vampires on tv. I'll also get my adrenalin surges by taking adventurous (some might say stupid)  decisions in life.

Alas, there is one area of my life where I cannot avoid putting myself in physical danger: riding a Tata bus in Seychelles.
Some (not all) bus drivers are wannabe Michael Schumachers. Unfortunately, they haven't quite had his practice on the streets of Monte Carlo. "Speed thrills, but kills" is the motto grandly displayed on the back of the SPTC buses. Most of us residents appreciate the irony; I suppose the drivers do, too and are having a good laugh at the end of the day when they exchange their bus keys for a Seybrew. At least, I hope it's only at the end of the day.

If it's not kamikaze driving, it's a hairy spider that will do you in. The other day I was minding my own business, staring out the window when something in my peripheral vision caught my eye. I looked directly at it and lo and behold, a big fat brown hairy spider was crawling onto the shoulder of the person in front of me. Upon being made aware of this horrific danger, the passenger nonchalantly brushed the spider off his shoulder. Of course the bloody thing disappeared into the wilds of the bus and left me sitting there frozen in fear. I couldn't even switch seats as the bus was jam packed full. Two bus stops and a litre of cold sweat later, I unfroze and got off to wait for the next bus.

One good thing about the buses: they are reasonably on time. I lived in Switzerland before, where you have a tram coming every six minutes and they are not a second late. We don't have that kind of precision here in Seychelles (Watches, anyone?), but give or take ten minutes of deviation from the bus schedule and you'll get to your destination on time. And yes, there is a bus schedule. I downloaded mine from the SPTC website. The bus drivers tend to be a friendly bunch as well; if you flag them down, they will stop for you (even if YOU are a few minutes too late).

There have been over 7 reported accidents in the last couple of months and everyday promises news of another one. I say "reported", because I've heard of a lot of minor "mirror brushing" ones from people who have been sitting in the buses. And frankly, the buses look so bashed up that one wonders if it's not SPTC's way of warning us what we might be getting into when boarding one of their vehicles.

Get some new buses please. We're not wasteful here on the island and the buses can be recycled as some creative people have shown.

A Tata bus need never die... and I don't want to soon either...


No comments:

Post a Comment


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More