The Zambian Drivers - Unique Zambian Public Transporters!

The Zambian drivers have been accused of breaking all sorts of traffic rules and causing unnecessary accidents in the process. The public transporters have been singled out as the main culprits. Most of the blame is heaped on them. This is true of drivers with small buses which usually operate on short journeys. These small buses are commonly known as mini-buses.

Because of failing to adhere to traffic laws governing other road users, many regulations have been enacted by the authorities to tame these Zambian drivers. While not many people like the way minibuses’ operate, these vehicles do provide an alternative mode of quick transportation for the low-income earners of the country. The mini-bus comes in handy as a form of transport for short distance commuters.

The capacity of the vehicle matters less, especially to the short distance transporter who squeezes passengers beyond the vehicle's capacity. Some mini-buses have been known to have huge loudspeakers placed under the seats, which sends out ear-splitting music to the passengers.

A closer look at the Zambian mini-bus also reveals several names painted on windshields. Some of these describe current themes, like “Manchester United,” “Millennium,” “God Is Love” and “Dot Com”.

Despite the visible signs on vehicle windshields indicating their routes, conductors and the ‘call boys’ shout at the top of their voices while drivers honk their horns.

Call boys

‘Call boys’ are a familiar figure at any Zambian bus station. Although there are well written signs or placards showing where each bus is going, you will find 'call boys' yelling out to the travelling public where each bus is going. The 'call boys' will even assist carrying your language to the bus.

Call Boys

The 'call boys' are an essential part of the Zambian transport system. But these days, because of stiff competition, you will find different 'call boys' fighting over customers. To an outsider, this behavior looks shameful. But this is so because they only get paid when the bus is full and ready to depart. So they are always hustling to get customers.

The Conductor

The conductor’s job is to collect fares from the noisy passengers, some of whom are not very cooperative. He also alerts the driver of those wishing to disembark, while at the same time he is on the lookout for others desiring to board. He signals the driver by whistling or tapping the roof. The Zambian drivers are more senior than their conductors, who are usually male.

If you want to be dropped off along the way, don’t worry the mini-bus stops anywhere at any time (Although there are designated stops for all public service vehicles), either to pick up or to drop off passengers. The Zambian driver is truly a unique public transporter.

Next time you come across a mini-bus, squeeze yourself in and get yourself a feel of an authentic Zambian urban ride!


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