The bus, an imagined territory

Philippine setting, in the city.

Everyday most people take public transport to travel from one point to another. The most traffic is during rush hour, in the morning and evening, when people are on their way to work or going home. On this daily routine, I have come to observe the attitudes/habits of people. We’re so used to it that we don’t take notice. But what do we learn about ourselves or other people based on this. Let’s use the public utility bus as an example and subject.

The bus driver is like the king, the conductor his commander, and the bus their imagined territory.

The driver has the control over the wheels, and can dictate the direction of where the bus and everyone onboard will go. It’s an imagined power. Even if a passenger says stop, the driver will at times stop some meters away from where the passenger hopes to get off. On other times, he’d stop sooner than the passenger would have wanted. He can be an asshole depends on his mood. Sometimes he can be nice and give favors to passengers he like, but again it may depend on his mood.

The conductor on the other hand is like a loyal second in command to the king, if not his partner in this imagined power. He would dictate how the passengers should position themselves inside the bus. Other times, the more arrogant conductors are rude & frank telling passengers to get off the bus if they wouldn’t move to the back and give way to other passengers.

But the driver and conductor are not at all the bad people in this scenario, or probably it’s not them alone.

The passengers are like the tourists who also think they have power in the bus since they are the paying group. They pay for the fare of one yet sometimes act as if they’ve rented the whole bus. They’d sometimes get on the bus and sit or stand as they please, whichever’s comfortable for them. Not taking into consideration their fellow passengers. Everyday the conductor has to remind the passengers to pls. move and share the space with the others. This happens on a daily basis despite the fact that these passengers are the same people who takes the bus every single day. 

We’ve also lost chivalry in these days we take the bus. Very few men would give their seat to the ladies. The seats intended for the pregnant, disabled, and senior citizens are easily occupied by people who are capable to stand or can just use the other seats. There are only 5 seats allocated for the pregnant, disabled, and senior citizens, yet when they need them, they’re not able to use them. 

However, this analysis of the public utility bus is not to put down the Filipino. There are many factors outside the bus that may have caused how and why we act this way. Point is the realization of how we’ve evolved or how we came to this point now. Where is the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan? Or the human nature of caring for our own kind? On the other hand, the scenario in the bus can change one person at a time if we become aware of it, and make a conscious effort to make things better. 

Tomorrow, it’s going to be just another bus ride.

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2 thoughts on “The bus, an imagined territory

  1. nidhiee2nids says:

    So true! In my country we used to think & say “It happens only in India” but it’s not the case as it happens in any corner where a collective dwelling exists. Now-a-days, with increasing literacy & awareness I believe hearts are changing minds, minds are changing humans & thus human are changing their actions. I feel thankful for those good humans out there who keep influencing us. Really liked your post! Keep up!

  2. AngeliSyj says:

    Likewise. When we have problems here, example is the traffic, people think as if it happens “Only in the Philippines”. What you said is very nice. I will remember it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thankful too and hoping for more good people to influence all of us.

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