Saudi Arabian Bus Ride – Mass Transit or Mass Murder?

bus man driving saudi arabiaWeird science that this video clip of bus drifting from Saudi Arabia comes to my attention just as I hop off my office bus in Jordan.

My bus is a small one, seats maybe 24.  It’s lightweight and nimble, one of hundreds cruising Jordan’s roads. Absent a reliable mass transit system, these little buses, which are provided by private schools and employers, serve a critical public service. And although I’m a sucker for public transportation, I do think about the risks.  The route from Jabal Amman to the airport is a straight run on modern roadways, well maintained and with proper traffic signaling.  That’s a good start.

But this town is pockmarked with building excavations, minimally protected from vehicles and walkers.  At one point in the commute, our bus runs along the rim of a man-made cliff, where our driver’s ill-timed sneeze could steer us 12 meters down into a hole were workers are progressing the Aqaba-Amman waterline and new airport highway.

Drivers leisurely roam between lanes. Pedestrians pass on the overhead walkway option and instead bolt across moving traffic.  Cars race along with hardly an inch of airspace between them. For added excitement, errant farm animals join the flow.

This afternoon’s knot of traffic was caused when a car hit a camel.  This, right in center city where you could grab a fast Frappaccino to sip while watching farmers put the poor thing’s leg in a makeshift splint; see the driver wail over her dented Mercedes.

I kid you not. I spotted the coffee-drinker, the weeping woman, and the limping camel as we crawled past the rubber-necking crowds.

Now for the video from Saudi Arabia, and drifting by a reckless bus driver.

Green Prophet’s brought you stories about reckless Middle East driving, but this one above takes the shawarma.

Maybe it’s in honor of the upcoming Olympics?

A new Arab auto-sport emerges. The vehicular biathlon where drivers shoot AK-47s skyward (you hope) while slip-sliding their cars at breakneck speed is so “yesterday”.  Instead, rev up the idiotic thrills and “drift” a full bus.

Neither passengers, nor spectators seem concerned about probability of instant death, so it’s likely this insanity will escalate.

I haven’t found related stories to explain these images.  Is it staged?  Did the crazy carpool give group consensus?  Or was it the driver’s solitary choice to do this death defying dance?

I picture mild-mannered Hazem-the-driver pulling this stunt next Sunday morning as he brings us into work. I think I understand now why the buses all have curtains on their windows.

Image of Man Chasing Bus by Shutterstock

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