Busy by Bus

‘Intermezzo from rail to road’

A horticultural exhibition and Chiang Mai far before the fair started called: rose of the North suddenly became almost overrun by touring cars. Like during an earlier Royal Flora show (Ratchapruek) it attracts people from all kinds and places.
For the purpose regular busses from Bangkok were transferred and run two shuttle lines; one from the new city hall – out of town – and the other one between the railway station and exposition ground. Free of charge, so the visitors who arrived by night train, hopefully they were able to take a nap, can enjoy a day out in the gardens and return by other train through the night without to much hustle. For once the PT (Public Transportation) scene in the Northern city shows itself from a bright site. Also the real city line described in an earlier busy by bus story on this site underwent some changes by adding another line via an alternative route through town also heading towards the flower presentation.
One must do something for the expected millions flocking to the North during the three months of opening. A temporarily bus station include a waiting room with canopy and parking lot, for motorcycles and cars to lure the locals into a bus for the last miles, came into service. On weekdays between 08.00 and 19.30 and during the weekend 09.00 – 21.00 hours every twenty minutes a bus is leaving. The orange air-conditioned cars marched in, the Euro 2; an elegant type and produced in several series all with different chassis plus engine and body builder. A bus is always two although brand names on older types could be deceiving because it doesn’t for all time tell the truth. However, the ones now treating the streets of Chiang Mai belong to the class: ISUZU LV233S and were completed by the Thonburi Bus Body company.
I am fond of these cars especially their functioning as well feature exclude the ugly advertisements more or less transparent on the windows. It’s known that the BMTA (Bangkok Metropolitan Transit Authority) like the railways is a loss making enterprise, so here some other income sources. Obviously the number of passengers transported seems not to be enough for a brake even situation let alone making some profit. As long as it concerns a government undertaking it’s also a matter of taxpayer’s money and in case of a loss the question; is it worth the investment? There’s hardly a counter-argument thinkable or better destination for pecuniary matters only warfare something some people still like to start to solve a problem. PT these days is above all a political decision and someone within the Chiang Mai council must have thought that free rides were a perfect instrument for good public relations. However, for the one dedicated to this part within the realm of transportation, all is fish that comes to his net.
It was a weekday I tried to catch something and the staff of the Flora show told me that it wasn’t busy at all; Fridays Saturdays and on Sunday the hell break loose and still the parking lot for busses was occupied with an endless row of touring cars obviously the mode for transportation par excellence. If they want to do the tour a cheap way than this is the way by two successive nights laughing out loud precisely how the Thai people enjoy themselves and distance nor duration no one is bothering.
Okay, from the outside the exposition ground looks fine and so will be the inside but after all this is not my cup of tea, standing in line to buy a ticket and do the shuffle with hundreds close behind each other. It was nice to see and feel a real bus system in town. Two more months and they can touch the streets of Bangkok again or stick to the other cars as the Thai playful named it (rot thit) something that hardly happens while running through Chiang Mai. It must be a delight for the drivers who came with their vehicles, a very relaxed enterprise but someone has to pay the bill, for nothing only the sun will rise.

Waiting in line for the next ride.

Route 67, in the end Chiang Mai got a sufficient number of lines.

A new model stop sign.

At the exhibition, whatever background Bangkok may have certainly not mountaineous.


About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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