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 BoysThe '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.
If you want to be dropped off along the way, dont 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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