Monday, December 15, 2008

Southwest China minibus system

When we were headed up to Tiger Leaping Gorge from Dali, we rode a "minibus", which is one of those regular size vans that have extra seats to carry about 12 passengers. (Chevy astrovan is a good example of the size)

We were told when we were booking through the travel agency that there would be "many stops" but I didn't realize what they meant.

After a while of riding, I noticed that what they do is stop on the narrow 2 lane road for literally anyone willing to pay them for a ride (long or short) as long there is room for more people in the bus.

The residents just get their bags packed and wait on the side of the road for one of these busses to come along in the correct direction they are headed and then bargain with the driver and hop on.

The road that we were on really is the only one in the area and it goes one of two directions so it made sense. There are no public busses in this area because there's not enough demand. Sometimes our bus had 5 people and sometimes it had 12 people.

I thought it was pretty efficient as a whole, although if you were traveling a long distance the constant stops and starts would get a bit tedious after a while.


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