Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bus Map Project - the joys of being taken for a ride.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

And so it finally happened, I found someone else who enjoys (and maybe needs) the bus system as a way of commuting (easily, calmly, punctually) throughout the city and further on. I was never keen on driving, I learned it late and never enjoyed it and had to stop it due to hearing issues (the problem with the hearing meant I could not anticipate what other drivers were going to do - my own driving even if not enjoyed was top notch). So what did I do? I went back to taking busses as I always have.
Photos of ads you see on this blog were taken from busses - which are higher than cars and end up being eye to eye with ad billboards. Other advantages the bus offers include someone else driving so you can use two hands while shooting, they also imply getting to your appointment calmly and without nervous issues because someone else was suffering the traffic instead of you. I was never late to an appointment, no parking problems hindered me (try doing that in Hamra and then tell me how it feels). My Dutch friend who came to holiday in Lebanon enjoyed enormously switching through three busses and paying 3,33 USD to get from Jounieh to Tyr. It was a day off, so waiting a few minutes for the bus to fill was more of a joy than a dread and almost an anthropological experiment.
So here it is below, what I got yesterday from the super interesting project called Bus Map Project which you can find via Facebook:
"Public transportation in Lebanon suffers from an image problem, a problem so endemic, that many people don’t even know it exists. Even the acting Minister of Public Works and Transportation, the guy supposed to be its biggest “brand ambassador,” has been quoted as saying that public transport doesn’t “actually exist.”
How do you promote a service to people convinced it doesn’t exist? Bus Map Project is a campaign seeking to build a community around this question -- a question that requires a collective answer.
We want to start by sharing stories, tips and experiences from regular (and occasional) riders, because that’s how our bus system has always worked; you figure it out by asking people. This is part of the charm of our cities, and it’s something we want to celebrate.
Our cities also have a logic. Mapping Lebanon’s complex tangle of bus and van networks will hopefully show how it all holds together, how it works, and where it needs improvement. In the coming months, we hope to gather enough support to launch a call for action to collectively map the whole public transport system. We don’t know when this project will end, but we are certain that it will be a learning experience for everyone involved because mapping is about more than lines on a page — it’s about forging and extending connections."
And before we go why not check this beautiful graduation project from Elsy Nohra on the bus system image!

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