Sunday, August 31, 2014

US Samoa and the Buses – by Gary

There are somethings you just know are going to be here right?  I mean it might be a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific, but it's still part of the good old US of A.  But other things come as a real surprise – the buses for one!  They are just so... well... un-American.  They are not huge, brash nor noisome – but rather they are tiny, cute, inviting, quaint, fun, friendly bubbly (I just brainstormed a few adjectives with the kids!).

US Samoa is a village based society.  And each village appears to have a few entrepreneurial types who provide transport services for the clan.  If the village is small then the buses are small.  The bus drivers seem to know just about everybody who climbs aboard and where to drop them off – it seems to be more or less a door to door service.  And cheap!  Most often adults pay $1 a ride (longer rides cost a bit more) while kids pay 50c.

The bus bodies are built locally and many are highly individualized.  Music is pretty obligatory, sometimes a little loud, but mostly listenable.  The entire transport experience is surprisingly sane – not too loud, not too fast.  Samoan drivers are courteous and considerate while fellow passengers are friendly and helpful.  It is a wonderful way to move about and see the island.

The bus bodies are timber framed with perspex windows that slide down to let in the breeze and allow full enjoyment of the beautiful island scenery.

The name of the relevant village displays in the windscreen.  Vibrant colour is pretty much mandatory.

Samoans are often on the large size.  The juxtaposition can be hmmm.... interesting.

Interior décor is an important consideration.

Their fellow drivers might be courteous and considerate but a little extra insurance never hurts.

Like I said, its a great way to see the island.

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1 comment:

  1. Looks to me as if they're using old pick-up truck chassis and then build the actual structure on top. Maybe somebody should come out with a coffee table book called "Busses of the World."