Riding Bangkok’s Public Transportation System Can Certainly Be Exciting


Lately, I’ve been taking buses instead of my usual taxi. Only because it dawned on me a 7 minute bus ride is only 12 baht and a 7 minute taxi ride is 50 baht. Which means, if I take the bus there and back, I save 38 baht a trip or about 2,000 baht a month ($66). But, my rule is, if I’m loaded down with bags, I take a taxi. If I don’t have much to carry, I take the bus.

However, I could definitely have done without a bus ride a few months ago. On that particular day, I got to my usual bus stop and hung around expecting a bus to come by in about a minute (there are so many of them it’s unusual to have to wait longer than a couple of minutes, especially if you’re just going to the Skytrain like I usually am). For some reason, it was almost 10 minutes before one arrived. Doesn’t seem that big of a deal until you realize how HOT it is here!

Anyway, I waved down the bus, the driver skidded to a stop about a fifty yards PAST the bus stop, and I had to sprint down the road to get on. As it started up I immediately realized my mistake. It was the same bus driver I’d had the day before or The Thai Evil Knievel as I’d christened him.

We whizzed down the road, with me and everyone else who was still standing clinging desperately to a strap attached to one of the bus ceiling rails. I finally managed to wedge myself next to a pole so I could wrap one leg around the pole to brace myself and cling onto the strap at the same time. At various bus stops, we screeched to a halt, the second time with one poor Thai girl careening down the bus and seated passengers grabbing at her as she flew by. Luckily she didn’t quite make it to the windshield before she was stabilized.

We screeched around the corner near the big roundabout system at Central Ladprao, so that we could get onto the street that leads to the Mo Chit Skytrain stop. One guy got up and hit the bell for the bus to stop.

The driver only seemed to realize this as we’d almost gone by the stop, with a would-be passenger on the side of the road waving frantically. We skidded to a halt again. Bodies being flung forward, poker-faced Thais clutching onto the handle on the back of the seat in front of them.

The next stop was the BTS skytrain stop at Mo Chit. As the bus came to a rapid halt, the door began to open, I heard a nasty sound of gushing fluid and the girl who was seated at the top of the steps threw up all down them and out into the street. We passengers getting off tiptoed over the flowing puke, trying to avoid stepping in it. Then, as I looked back, the bus doors closed and the bus careened off down the road, this time with runny vomit dripping off the steps and into the road. Good metaphor I thought!

On the way home, I took a taxi.