Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

New Buses, Mixed Blessing

As many of you may remember, I am a supporter of public transportation. I would SO much rather have the time to read a book or magazine than to be stuck in traffic. When I saw the bright, modern, fast new buses hit the streets recently in Kuwait – during the last year – instead of the clunky slow, old buses they had, my heart rejoiced.

Hmm. Not so fast.

I drive on a major local road regularly. The buses have become a menace. They drive way fast. They halt, and then merge back into traffic as if they have the right of way, which as we all know, in Kuwait there is no right of way. I guess they figure that because they are big, and faster, they are king of the road. I can tell you for a fact, they don’t like being passed by a woman. Imagine, being chased down by a bus!

Buses cause accidents on Sixth Ring Road

Al Watan staff

KUWAIT: Sixth Ring Road was the scene of two accidents caused by public buses.

A man driving a small car suffered serious injuries when he hit a public bus after the bus driver lost control of his vehicle and hit the barrier and then stopped at the middle of the road. The man was taken to the hospital by a fellow citizen to seek medical assistance.

Ten minutes later, another bus driver repeated the same scenario of the first accident except as he hit the barrier he also hit a small car. The car driver suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital to seek medical assistance. The two buses caused serious traffic congestion but police officers managed to move them to the side of the road and continue the traffic flow.

I don’t know what training the drivers receive before they head out in their buses. I have a suspicion that it isn’t much. I think they need to be trained in safe driving practices, and warned against aggression on the roads. I think they need to use their rear view mirrors, their signals, and they need to be an example of proper driving, because they are a visible, public model of state policy.

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October 29, 2008 - Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | ,

11 Comments »

  1. If there is one thing I could change about the busses, other than the speed and erratic driving it would be the bus stop on 30 near Shaab. It is barely an indentation and it is so dangerous when the busses stop and pull out again.

    Comment by Q8Dutchie | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  2. These buses must be fitted with automatic tracking devices that show their location , speed and atitude . Any wrong move then it will be reported to the head office and with automatic fine from the traffic department .

    I Love it when big brother takes command
    1984

    Comment by daggero | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  3. 1. They put any Tom Dick and Babu as drivers .
    2. Over worked and underpaid,
    3. Supervisors who sit on thier chest if they fail to make it by time…
    4. Hoodlums who cause chaos/spit/smoke/urinate inside the bus ..
    5. Drivers who think its OK to abuse the ‘bus driver’ because he’s bloody Hindi/Paki/Bangali .
    6. Cut throat competition among Citbus/KGL/KPTC.
    7. Stupid kids who throw stones at the passing bus.
    8. Bloggers who think its ok to abuse the bus drivers

    add 1 to 7 and you get accidents.

    Comment by Grey | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  4. I think I must be missing something. I, too, ride the busses here and have actually had occasion to be impressed with the experience. Must be the routes I frequent.

    Comment by DaisyMae | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  5. Q8Dutchie I AGREE WITH U!! I hate that bus stop! I changed my route to work cuz of it!
    And on my way home from work I nearly ALWAYS honk at the bus driver who just comes out infront of me in the Dasman Round about!

    Comment by Chirp | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  6. From what I understand, it seems the bus drivers income is based off the “sale” of tickets they make. So i guess that encourages them to race with their “competition”. Also, I’ve seen them get harassed by insane passengers. Guess its a stressful job!

    Comment by mario | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  7. I know that busstop, Q8Dutchie. I had a problem with it yesterday – you are right; they pull right out, and it isn’t much when they pull off to load and unload. I don’t think they even look when they come back into traffic, and it is at a really bad place, with cars exiting, etc.

    We have met 1984, haven’t we, Daggero? With cameras at stoplights, convenience stores, airports, etc? And tracking buses sounds like a great idea to me.

    You know, Grey, you have a point. I was only looking at it from my point of view. Those drivers take a log of abuse and they get very little appreciation. Can you also agree they might need more training? I could agree that they need more incentive.

    DaisyMae, since they got the new buses, I haven’t heard the same stories I used to hear about kids getting on and abusing the passengers and bus drivers, damaging the buses and making life hell, so either I am not hearing, or something has changed for the better. The bus drivers are very aggressive around where I live.

    LOL, Chirp!

    No kidding, Mario? It would be a good idea to put more value on the safety record, wouldn’t it, with quarterly bonuses based on safety record and keeping to schedule. I can imagine it is a stressful job, but things appear better these days – or have you heard differently?

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  8. I hear ya!

    My only explanation is that they might be under pressure to meet a deadline/schedule for their route? But that would be totally ridiculous wouldn’t it?

    I can’t help but draw a comparison between busses here and busses in London loool.

    For now, I’ve learned the lesson: While driving, stay away from buses and watch out for busses at bus stops and anticipate the cars in the lane left of you to veer off to your lane as you pass by bus stops… so I always slow down and anticipate it.

    Comment by nbq | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  9. What I would LOVE would be a train, running all the way from Al Ahmadi into the financial district – why not all the way to Souk Sharq? A Park and Ride train, with huge parking lots off Highway 40 and the train is elevated, a smooth running monorail(no flooding in the rains) like a clear bullet, so you can see all over. You board the train, there are plenty of seats, you read the newspaper all the way to work. Maybe there is a little coffee vendor at the bus-stop, so you can sip coffee along the way.

    Coming home, you can have some quiet transition time so you are fresh when you join your family.

    Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

    There could even be feeder bus routes!

    There could be special school routes!

    Oh! And it could be solar powered!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 29, 2008 | Reply

  10. We call the train the Inlxpatr Express ,

    you missed one important addition to the train , Wireless Internet service WiFi so bloggers can write their observations
    on their daily commute

    Comment by daggero | October 30, 2008 | Reply

  11. Daggero! That is perfect! Wireless onboard! I totally love it. Segue – I would prefer it be called something wonderful and local like the Bright Future Train, because of the double entendre – with fewer cars, and using a clean energy source, Kuwait would have far less pollution and be – brighter!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 30, 2008 | Reply


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