Thursday, September 10, 2009

95 94: The Day Without Buses

As I mentioned earlier. The road switch appears to have gone off with out a hitch....well, except for one giant hitch.

All bus licenses expired on Monday. In order to be relicenses for a line, a bus must have the door moved to the other side to reflect the new side of the road. Yesterday morning there were 18 buses on Upolu who had switched sides. Rumor has it no buses on Savaii had.

So yesterday we had practically no buses running in this country. Yet, we still had school. Buses are the main form of travel. I saw a lot of taxis pulling up in front of my school in the morning, but over all the attendance was greatly reduced. We also had couchsurfers from Spain arrive yesterday to discover there was a kink in their travel plans. They are now looking at renting a car for several days.

Volunteers who live far from Apia become intimately familiar with their villages bus schedule, but living on the road between Apia and the airport/wharf means that buses are always going by our house. We have never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus. Yesterday we got a feel of living far out. We knew right away there was no hope for a bus and called a taxi to take us to Apia. However, the taxis are all crazy busy and we had to wait for 30 minutes before a taxi arrived. Suddenly Apia, which always seemed so close, seemed so far away.

As I sit here typing I hear I can hear more bus like noises outside on the road, so maybe there are more buses running today. I feel like the protest some bus owners and companies were putting up over the cost of switching the door is slowly evaporating as their revenue stream dries up.

Also, according to the paper, when all the licenses expired dibs on a certain route expired. I think that means that Queen Poto (the one bus company with new, left-sided doors) can apply for any route they want scooping up all the choice routes and leaving other drivers out in the cold. I don't know this for a fact, but it would make sense to me. I imagine righted-sided buses might be more inclined to cut the new door as this happens.

We'll see.

— Sara

Way Back Machine


Essąn Dragone said...

I'm still confused about this situation. Did they switch from the left to right side of the road or right to left side?

Cale and Sara join the Peace Corps said...

Sorry for the confusion.

Before 7 September 2009 Samoans drove on the right side of the road, the steering wheel in the cars designed to drive on the right side of the road are on the left side of the car and called left-hand drive. The United States, most of Europe and a significant portion of the world drives on this side.

As of 7 September 2009 Samoans drive on the left side of the road, the steering wheel in cars designed to drive on the left side of the road are on the right side of the car and called right-hand drive. England, New Zealand and Australia drive on this side.

Do not confuse Independent Samoa with American Samoa. American Samoa still drives on the right side of the road in left-hand drive cars.

Essąn Dragone said...

That makes sense to be on the same side as New Zealand, my friend said it was because you get most of your cars from there, & it's cheaper.