Sociology of Transport / Regina Coyula
Posted on March 28, 2014
My acquaintances in public transport like Ms. C tells me that we are now
facing another cyclical crisis in urban transport. In the rush hours you
see bus stops which are full up and people hanging about in queues 50
metres long and who are trying to guess where the bus is going to pull
up, which, you can be sure, will not be at the stop.
The “blues” and “yellows” we used to see have disappeared, those
inspectors authorised to stop public transport and organise passengers
wanting to get on. In contrast, lots of fairly empty buses associated
with work places, pass the crammed-full bus stops, one after the other,
giving rise to lots of colorful comments on the subject of the
In the face of this phenomenon, I always ask myself whether it wouldn’t
be better if this semi private transport were incorporated into the
public transport, but as a dear acquaintance says to me: The “Razonamil*
I’m taking must have too strong an effect.
The irritation of buses whizzing past just adds to other frustrations,
every one of which is a burden. Therefore, waiting for a bus and, if you
can manage to get on, listening to how everyone in there gives vent –
even if briefly – to his individual view of the process of modernisation
of the economy, and how it provokes immediate reactions from other
passengers, is a good thermometer, even though it may be that the
general “reaction” is one of indifference.
Looking at the passengers’ faces doesn’t show you a happy society. Some
of them pass the journey dozing, even though they are standing up; the
younger ones often cut themselves off with their earphones or, on the
other hand form noisy groups and are often abusive if people protest.
Most of the passengers are men and they are also the majority sitting
down. Rucksacks, baskets, briefcases and parcels which seem to be heavy,
take up a space which is already insufficient for the passengers. Gaunt
faces, acrid smells, verbal violence in response to the slightest
incident. And the heat is the last straw in this micro world.
*Translator’s note: “Razonamil” is a joke, a fake name of a drug that
makes Regina “see reason”.
Translated by GH
28 March 2014
Source: Sociology of Transport / Regina Coyula | Translating Cuba –