Reply to post: Re: Check your facts.

Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

James O'Shea

Re: Check your facts.

Not _all_ local bus services. I can think of one local bus system which was most emphatically NOT subsidised: the bus 'service' in Kingston, St. Andrew, and St. Catherine, Jamaica between about 1987 and 2001. Until the early 1980s it was a nice, normal, subsidised, bus system, the Jamaica Omnibus Service, JOS, a.k.a. Jolly Joseph. Jolly Joseph was executed by (socialist!) politicians so that the, ahem, 'small man' could make a cut out of the 'vast profits' of the bus business (and so that the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, the KSAC, could stop losing money at a truly remarkable rate). The 'small man' was invited to purchase a franchise and run their own buses on the routes; low passenger-level routes such as the 67 (Cross Roads to Hope Gardens) didn't have anyone applying for the route, and so had no buses anymore. (Jolly Joseph went everywhere, even if at times there were one or two passengers on a bus designed for 70+; that was one reason why it lost money.) The 75 route (Papine to Duhaney Park), now that had _lots_ of franchises. Every one of them with two to six buses which were designed to hold 30-40 passengers. The 'small man' (not very small if he could afford a half dozen Isuzu buses, called 'Quarter Millions' because they cost Ja$250,000 at the time, before the Jamaican dollar crashed to its current level) quickly discovered that the only way he was going to make money was to pack 'em in as much as possible, which meant 60-70 passengers. (Yes. 70 passengers in a space meant for 30. Tokyo at rush hour ain't got nothin' on Kingston... How'd they fit? They didn't. Passengers would be hanging out of the windows and doors...) The local newspapers ran articles showing how there was actually more space on slave ships in the Middle Passage than on a Number 75 on Hope Road, and that the passengers were expected to pay for the privilege. (A quick trip to the Jamaica Gleaner's or the Jamaica Observer's sites should be quite revealing. Search for 'bus' and 'middle passage'. Be prepared to see a _lot_ of articles, somewhat fewer at the Observer 'cause the Observer didn't exist until around 1994 while the Gleaner goes back to 1838.) Because schoolchildren paid a special, reduced, fare, the bus crews tried their best to not carry any schoolchildren. This policy resulted in a lot of screaming and shouting, and policemen deployed to major bus routes to ensure that the 'schoolers' got packed in with the adults. (I'm serious. The only way to get the children on the bus was to arrest a few of the bus crews.) Jolly Joseph had a schedule, and usually kept fairly close to it. The franchises didn't move until the bus was full, and by full I mean until there were 60-70 fare-payers aboard. Plus a crew of three or four (a driver, a conductor, and one or two packers).

A look here might be revealing. And also which shows a packer in action, packing the bus ('Two White Girls' is hilarious... unless you actually had to ride the damn buses. Then it's not so funny.)

The franchise system has since been abolished and Jolly resurrected, complete with subsidy.

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