20 Kinds of People You’ll Find on the Bus in Lebanon

As integral but somewhat underappreciated public spaces, Lebanese buses offer the city lover a rich and multi-layered slice of urban life. The bus is not only a mean of transportation: it is a place of social mixity and multi-culture that sparks conversations across class, gender and national background. Commuting in a Lebanese bus is a window to a gallery of unique and yet relatable personalities. Scroll down and let’s see how many of them you’ve already spotted! And let us know if there are any we’ve missed.

 

 

20 kinds of People You’ll Find on the Bus in Lebanon

by Mira Tfaily

 

1. The Old Habitué

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He knows every driver by name, remembers the time Beirut had a tram (riz’allah), and feels entrusted with a mission to convince the driver to take every shortcut possible while complaining about traffic.

 

2. The One That Sits Up Front –

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Often mistaken for the Habitué, this guy may or may not be a regular rider. In fact, he may only get on board if that front seat next to the driver is available. An aspiring DJ, he ensures Shiraz is playing on the stereo at least 5 times every hour. A brilliant multi-tasker, he manages the money handed to the driver and turns the AC on and off every half an hour, whether the windows are still open or not.

 

3. The One That Sits at the Back –

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He is alone, he is manspreading so wide that my teta could sit between his thighs, and he does not want to be bothered. Not to be confused with #6 (see below).

 

4. The One That Does Not Sit –

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Usually a man, he takes pride in his chivalry and amazing balancing abilities, and will end up crushing your feet. Some day, he will convince the whole bus to start a dabke to “Jenno Notto” while going full speed through Hazmieh.

 

5. The AUBites – 

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Once difficult to spot in the wild, now often found in the legendary Van Number 4 (“it’s so in right now”), they blast their own music regardless of the dabke already playing in the bus. The driver will usually give up after ten minutes and the whole van will be bouncing over Kendrick Lamar’s new album (“Sit down. Be Humble”).

 

6. The Beach-Bound Teenyboppers Between Dora & Jbeil – 

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They sit at the back, Instagram-ing every time the bus stops, and have started drinking from their Jagger flasks at 11 am. Think that #12 and #13 are yiiiiiii, 7araaaaaam.

 

7. Those Two or Three European Backpackers – 

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They are more at ease with Lebanese public transportation that you will ever be. They have a Zawarib Guidebook in hand, comfy Birkenstocks and overstuffed backpacks that take up a whole seat, and their faces are liberally caked with sunscreen. #1 and #2 will compete over who has the best directions from the mafra2 closest to their destination.

 

8. The Regular 9-to-5ers (a.k.a. The “Zboun”) – 

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You don’t know what kind of mysterious agreement they have with the driver, but he will wait for them if they are not at their usual spot at the usual time. An elite subset of this group is the Hyper-Zboun: they are so in tune with Standard Bus Time, the whole system is thrown in disarray if they are not present at that exact spot, at that exact time.

 

9. The Hipster Who Carries his Skateboard in the Bus – 

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He does not look or talk to anyone, acts as emotionally detached as possible, but when Fares Karam comes up, he can’t help but follow the rhythm with his fingertips on the window. He’s thinking of starting a blog about bus stories.

 

10. The Journalist on Bus Number 16 –

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Usually headed to L’Orient-le Jour and always late, she carries an unread book and speaks in French on the phone during her whole trip complaining about the noise on board. Likes self-referential narratives.

 

11. The One Who Doesn’t Pay –

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Often a cop or a soldier, sometimes bolees baladiye, sitting alone. He is side-eyed with a mixture of admiration and curiosity by the driver and other passengers.

 

12. The Beauty Queen – 

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AKA “ghanoujet el bus,” she is wearing stilettos, she knows every driver, and she is allowed to sit wherever she wants. You do not know where she is headed, but she makes a point at approaching every woman on the bus to ask her about the reference of her lipstick or the address of her hairdresser.

 

13. The Beiruti Casanova – 

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AKA “jagal zameno,” this man is a local, and a harmless romantic that sees public transportation as a real life Tinder experiment. He will be frightened by your annoyed look and will sit alone for the rest of the ride, probably pondering about Plato’s theory of soulmates in The Symposium and other existential questions.

 

14. The Posh Tante – 

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She climbs in at Ashrafieh, wraps herself in her fur and mumbles to her massive dog Stella in French during her whole trip. Complains loudly about how slow the bus is whenever she gets a phone call.

 

15. The Sunday Communion of Saints – 

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They are all migrant domestic workers on their one day off, on their way to their diverse denominational churches, like St Francis Catholic Church in Hamra, or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Ain Aar. Despite their linguistic and religious backgrounds, they are united by their common experiences with the “misters” and “madams” of Lebanon, and their shared love of Dora weekend shopping. They play musical chairs and change seats at every stop, never missing a beat in their passionate conversations.

 

16. The Sleeper Agent – 

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Party-goer or work commuter, you do not know how long he has been asleep and whether you should wake him before he misses his stop. He usually emerges from his half-coma at Cola and leaves the bus swearing, before immediately taking another bus in the opposite direction.

 

17. The Marlboro Man – 

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Fidgets at every stop and thinks that sticking his cigarette outside the window is just the right amount of consideration he can offer his fellow passengers. Locked in a glaring war with the Syrian driver while pretending to not see the sixty No Smoking signs throughout the Lebanese-owned bus.

 

18. The Sweaty Banker – 

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Some say this man is a myth, but one or two bank employees have been spotted in the wild. He is wearing a suit and tie, instantly elevating the sophistication of the whole journey. Often seen sipping a tiny plastic cup of muddy coffee.

 

19. The Undercover Driver – 

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A friend of the actual driver, they exchange seats when one is tired or feels like handling the music, or when one of them doesn’t have the right paperwork.

 

20. The One that Pays for the Group – 

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He drops money likes a 90’s R&B music video and leaves the change to the driver. Dolla dolla bill y’all!

 

 

Main photo by Johnny Hchaime

Collective Mapping: A New Way of Reclaiming Public Space?

How can a map become a tool to change your perception of urban environment? The Bus Map Project has been asking this question for two years now, trying to build support for a “Collective Mapping Action.” Last summer, we distributed a small batch of a prototype map of Beirut showing bus lines pieced together route by route by the small team. This summer, BMP has grown to include nine volunteers who are criss-crossing Lebanon for the second expanded edition of this map. In doing so, the team is not only participating in a civic service, shaping a map of public transportation that will benefit all potential users; they are also helping move the project to the collective level it was always intended for.

 

Collective Mapping: A New Way of Reclaiming Public Space?

By Mira Tfaily

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Turning every bus rider into a bus tracker, the idea of “collective mapping” represents a pragmatic approach to city systems that leverages daily life and first-hand experience in the service of cartography.

Sara and Sirene are two AUB Landscape Architecture students taking part in Bus Map Project’s collective mapping initiative this summer. “We had never taken the bus before, mainly due to the lack of information. So far, we rode it only twice, but it has completely shifted our misconceptions,” they explain enthusiastically.

By giving people their initial reason and motivation for riding the bus, Bus Map Project hopes that collective mapping can help get rid of the fear and uncertainty surrounding Lebanon’s non-formal transit system. In turn, mapping the system with diverse others can help open up spaces for new perceptions, patterns and behaviors. As the team put it in their first meet and greet sessions with volunteers: “Mapping is a tool. Community engagement is the point.”

The ultimate aim, then, is to build a broad community of bus riders who are passionate about improving the system through incremental and accumulated effort. That way, every bus user becomes a bus mapper and story teller, and is personally invested in shaping the collective vision of their city.

This approach transforms the idea of the map from a compartmentalized and technical design process best left to experts, to a collective conversation involving as many actors as possible, shaped by experience and not theory. Whether you are a student, a worker, a tourist or simply a curious wanderer, mapping Lebanon’s bus system collectively is a way that re-frames you and your environment along the way: one the one hand, a shift from being a consumer to being a (co-)producer, and on the other, a move from a major problem — of traffic, of chaos, of lack of regulation.. — to a great potential.

Maps are political, maps are sociological, maps tell stories, and above all, maps reflect choices: the choice of what you decide to mention in it, and what you leave unsaid. Instead of wondering why we don’t have a bus map in Lebanon yet, let’s join together and steer this conversation. So, how can you be part of the initiative?

1) Download a GPS tracking map for your smartphone (examples: Open GPS Tracker for Android, Open GPX Tracker for iOS, Gaia GPS for Android and iOS, Trails for iOS, etc.). Make sure it has the capacity to export GPX, KML or KMZ files.

2) Get on a bus at its point of departure.

3) Hit record on your app, and make sure your signal doesn’t drop as your ride a bus from beginning to end.

4) Email your file to hello@busmap.me with some background about you and your journey.

 

Bus Map Project is not only collecting routes: we’re collecting voices, experiences, stories… And we cannot wait to discover yours!

#HerBus: رحلتي مع الباص—Nada’s Story

We wrap up our #HerBus series — but not the larger conversation — with this sweet reflection by Nada on her time in and with the bus. Nada’s story raises the question of what we can do to stop the pressures of routine and urbanism from forcing us to become ‘mismatched’ with public transport in Lebanon today.

Is the car our only alternative? Can transport infrastructure learn to grow and adapt to our needs, as much as we learn to grow and adapt to its rhythms and logics?

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…رحلتي مع الباص دامت ثلاث سنوات متتالية من ايام الجامعة و اكملت الى ايام العمل

.كان للباص فضل اذ كان الوسيلة النقل الاكثر امانة من غيرها

.كان طريق الباص مناسبا جدا اذ من بيتي الى طريق خمس دقائق سيرا على الاقدام و حتى من العمل

نشأت مع الاعوام صلة مع بعض شوفير الباص ..اذ ان هناك من صار معتبرا نفسه ملتزما معي كالتاكسي و كان ينتظرني حتى اطل من المفرق عند ساعة السابعة و كذلك بطريق العودة لا ينطلق بدوني

و لا انسى المعاملة اللطيفة من البعض معتبريني كأني ابنة لهم حتى ان مكان جلوسي كان محجوزا مسبقا

و في شهر الورود و الغارينيا كان يستذكرني بوردة مع كل صباح فينعش نهاري .. و ما اجمل الصباح مع ورد يفوح منها العطر الذكي فتتفأول بنهارك

لا تعتاد فقط على سائق الباص كذلك على الاشخاص فابدأ تدريجيا ان تكتسب صداقات و تترافق معهم و تلتقي بهم فتكون الصبحية و يمر الوقت و تنسى العجقة داخل الباص و خارجه

.فيصبحوا رفاق الدرب و يتفقدونك و يحجزون لك المكان ان نسي السائق

حتى انه في بعض الاحيان تتطور الرفقة الى صداقة ثم الى تقارب و احباء

و الجميل هو ان بعض السائقين لديهم حس راقي في الموسيقى فيروزيات صباحا و وديع صافي و صباح و حتى الاجنبي فهو يهذب أذاننا بدل زمامير العجقة و مع غياب الرفيق

و لكن مع مرور الوقت و لان العمل متعب و تقضي اوقات اضافية لاسف لا تعود تجد الباص من بعد ساعة معينة و لان اصبح دوام العمل متأخر و لأن الوقوف بالليل في الشارع ليس آمن خاصة كفتاة بدأت ابحث عن بديل و بما ان التاكسي ليس آمنا ايضا فالحل كان ان اشتري سيارة

هذا الحل بات الافضل من عدة نواح كفتاة و لتريح الاهل من الهم

افتقد كثير من الاحيان الى الباص و خاصة بهذا البلد و عجقة السير و قلة المواقف و لكن متطلبات و ظروف و عدم تجهيز البنة التحتية للباص تجعلك تتخذ البديل


Megan Barlow


My journey with the bus lasted three years, from my university days to my days of employment…

I preferred the bus because it was the safest mode of transport.

The bus route was very convenient, as it only took me 5 minutes to walk to it from my home, and it was close to my workplace as well.

Over the years, a connection was formed with the bus driver.. Some of them even began to regard themselves as obligated to me, like a taxi, waiting for me until I emerged from the side road at 7 AM, and not leaving without me on the way back.

And I cannot forget the kindness of those drivers who saw me as a daughter, going as far as reserving my seat for me.

And in the months of roses and gardenias, I would be greeted with a flower every morning, energizing my day.. and how beautiful is the morning when the fragrance of a rose fills the air, brightening up your day..?

You don’t only get used to a bus driver; you also get used to other people, and begin to gradually make friends who you accompany and meet for a morning chat [sob7iyeh] that passes the time and helps you forget the crowdedness both inside and outside the bus.

So they become your companions, and they ask about you when you’re not there, and they keep a seat for you if the driver forgets.

In fact, sometimes this companionship develops into friendship, then greater intimacy, then love.

And what’s nice is that some of the bus drivers have a sophisticated taste in music, playing Fayrouz in the morning, and Wadih Al-Safi and Sabah, and even foreign music as he refines our ears so that we do not listen to the honking of traffic, or to substitute for a missing friend.

But as time passes and work becomes more tiring and you begin to work overtime, you unfortunately start to miss the bus after a certain hour, and as you work even later, waiting on the street at night becomes unsafe, especially as a young woman. So I began to look for an alternative, and because the taxi isn’t safe either, the solution was to buy a car.

This was the best solution from different perspectives for a woman, and to give my parents peace of mind.

I miss the bus from time to time, especially in this country, with its traffic jams and dearth of parking spots, but duties and circumstances and the lack of public transport infrastructure forces you to choose the alternative.

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Photos by Megan Barlow, taken during our Bus Map Photo Action last summer. English translation by BMP.

#HerBus: “Fais-moi découvrir Beyrouth!”―Garine’s Story

Today’s #HerBus story is a special one! We first met Garine when she took part in our Bus Map Photo Action last summer and captured way more photos than our modest CFP required. We chatted and picked her brain about cities and culture and identity, and before we knew it, she left to pursue her graduate studies abroad, where she developed her “Al Bosta” design project — a branding concept that brings to life a vision that we at Bus Map Project have been calling ‘joud bel mawjoud’, or excel through what exists. We’ve enjoyed following Garine’s work over the past months, and are happy that she took the time to share her thoughts and reflections on this bus adventure.

* * *

How to take the bus in Beirut? from Garine Gokceyan on Vimeo.


J’utilise souvent les transports publics, que ce soit les bus ou les services. Pourquoi je les utilise? Parce qu’ils t’emmènent partout où tu veux, tu n’as qu’à t’asseoir et profiter du moment. Ah oui, j’ai oublié! C’est aussi parce qu’ils sont presque gratuits!

I often use public transport, whether it’s buses or shared taxis. Why do I use them? Because they take you wherever you want; you just have to sit down and enjoy the moment. Oh yes, I forgot! It’s also because they cost almost nothing!


"The Bank" by Garine Gokceyan
“The Bank” by Garine Gokceyan


Souvent je prenais le bus pour aller d’un point A à un point B, mais pour les jours de Bus Map Photo Action, c’était comme si je disais au chauffeur “amène moi quelque part, n’importe où! Fais-moi découvrir Beyrouth!” — je n’avais pas de destination exacte.

I’ve often taken the bus to go from point A to point B, but during the Bus Map Photo Action, it was as if I were telling the driver “take me somewhere, anywhere! Let me discover Beirut!” — I did not have an exact destination.


"Optical Illusion" by Garine Gokceyan
“Optical Illusion” by Garine Gokceyan


D’ailleurs ce n’est pas une légende quand on dit que les libanais sont des gens chaleureux, curieux et qui adorent être pris en photo. C’était vraiment marrant comme expérience!

Moreover, it’s not a myth when we say that the Lebanese are warm and curious, and love to be photographed. It really was a funny experience!


"The Romantic" by Garine Gokceyan
“The Romantic” by Garine Gokceyan


À force de prendre plusieurs bus dans une même journée, j’avais remarqué que chaque conducteur avait son univers personnel. Chaque bus avait sa propre décoration, sa propre musique, son propre esprit, ses propres peluches… On sentait la touche originale de l’artiste-conducteur qui nous invitait à voir Beyrouth dans un cadre particulier.

En fait, tu rentres dans le bus et tu en sors avec pleins d’histoires à raconter!

Since I was taking several buses in one day, I noticed that each driver had his own personal universe. Each bus had its own decoration, its own music, its own spirit, its own stuffed animals… One could feel the original touch of the artist-driver who invited us to see Beirut in a particular setting.

In fact, when you get on the bus, you get out with plenty of stories to tell!


"Fetish" by Garine Gokceyan
“Fetish” by Garine Gokceyan


J’imagine ce jour où la circulation serait figée à Beyrouth, pleins de voitures dans les rues l’une derrière l’autre, toutes bloquées. Et le seul moyen qu’ils auront, pour enfin avancer, serait de faire bouger les voitures une par une depuis Saida.

I imagine the day when all circulation in Beirut is frozen, the streets full of cars, one after the other, everything blocked. And the only way that they can move forward, would be to budge the cars one by one from Saida.


"Al Bosta" designed by Garine Gokceyan

En quelques mots, je voudrais avoir le choix de mes transports à Beyrouth et non pas être imposé à choisir le transport en voiture.

In short, I would like the choice of how I get to Beirut, and not be forced to choose the car.

"Al Bosta" designed by Garine G.


J’espère que les gens verrons dans mon projet l’idée de l’initiative.
Une initiative individuelle pourrait peut-être inciter une collectivité à agir, à penser à améliorer leur condition de vie.

Ne pas attendre le gouvernement à se bouger, mais faire nous même bouger le système, bouger la circulation.

Et un jour, on pourrait même se dire: fini les “zammour”, fini l’embouteillage, fini la pollution… un jour.

I hope that people will see the idea of the initiative in my project. An individual initiative could perhaps encourage a collective to act, to think about improving their living conditions.

Do not wait for the government to move, but rather, let us move the system ourselves, making traffic move.

And one day, we could even say: no more “zammour” [car horn], no more traffic jams, no more pollution… one day.


"Red is ready" by Garine Gokceyan
“Red is ready” by Garine Gokceyan


Un bus est un grand véhicule de transport en commun, ce n’est ni un monstre vert qui dévore les gens, ni un bateau mystérieux qui passe par le Triangle des Bermudes. C’est vrai que parfois ça peut ressembler à une boîte à sardine et j’avoue ça peut être gênant mais dans tous les cas on a la possibilité de réagir et mettre fin à tout circonstances inconfortables en demandant à la prochaine de s’éloigner.

Pour résumer, Il faut arrêter de croire à ces histoires d’horreur qu’on nous raconte sur les bus et les van. Il faut juste essayer! C’est jamais trop tard de prendre un bus, il y en a un qui passe tout les 6 minutes.

A bus is a large vehicle for shared transport, it is neither a green monster that devours people, nor a mysterious boat that passes through the Bermuda Triangle. It’s true that sometimes it can look like a can of sardines, and I confess that this can be annoying, but in any case, one has the ability to respond and stop any uncomfortable situations by asking the person next to them to move.

In sum, we must stop believing in these horror stories that we are told about the buses and the van. You just have to try! It’s never too late to catch a bus, there’s one that runs every 6 minutes.


"Al Bosta" by Garine Gokceyan

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All photos and graphics by Garine Gokceyan. Text translated into English by BMP.

#HerBus: الفوضى والفلتان—Lynn’s Story

Today’s #HerBus story is troubling and bleak, and some of the conclusions it draws are controversial. While it is not a first-hand account, we thank Lynn for sharing her thoughts and reflections on the experiences of Lebanese women on public transport, because the fear of violence and exploitation that she expresses is real and pervasive. Scroll down to read our translation of Lynn’s story.

* * *

لطالما كنّا ندرك سابقاً ان الامن اللبناني غائب عن الساحة المحليّة، وقد تسبب هذا الغياب بتفشّي ظاهرة خطف المواطنين من امام مسكنهم او حتى خطف القاصرات من خارج المدارس في بعض المناطق كما بات معلوماً في الآونة الاخيرة

هنا سأسرد واقعة حصلت مع رفيقتي حيث أخبرتني اذ انّها كانت في أحد الأيام بإنتظار باص ليقلّها من جسر الكولا الى جونية حيث اعترضها شابان وبدءا يتحرشا بها لفظيّاً ويٌسمعاها كلام بذيئاً. وعندما تحاول كل فتاة الوقوف بقرب رجل الأمن يلحق بها من كان يضايقها غيرآبهين لوجوده. ويصل الباص وهنا الخطورة الكبيرة حيث تكون هذه الشابة الانثى الوحيدة في خضمّ مجموعة ذكور ينهالون عليها بالنظرات وكأنها حوريّة في بحرالعسل فتعيش الشابة حينئذٍ ليس فقط خوف داخلي انّما رعب شديد من هؤلاء. وما تلبث رحلة الوصول الى المنزل بالانقضاء يحاصرالفتاة رجلين او ثلاث ويحاولون الاعتداء عليها لفظيّاً علماً ان السائق لا يفتح فاهه لربما اعتاد على هذا النمط من الالتماس او انّه يفضّل تجنّب التورّط معهم

يتحوّل الباص من الساعة الواحدة ظهراً حتّى التاسعة مساءً الى شريعة غاب تسود قوّة الرجال داخل حافلات النقل العام وما من رقيب ولاحسيب. تعيش الفتاة اللبنانية اثناء تنقّلها ذعراً لا مثيل له، مما ينعكس سلباً على حياتها النفسيّة اولاً وتفقد ثقتها وعزّة نفسها ثانيةً ومهما كانت هذه الفتاة جبّارة ستصل الى مرحلة تشعر فيها بالانحطاطٍ والتعاسة، علماً ان بعض الشابات اليافعات تقعن ضحيّة هذا التحرّش ليؤدّي بعدها في بعض الحالات الى استغلال جسدي وجنسي ولا ندري اين يودي بها لأمر معها في النهاية الى حالات إكتئآب، امراض نفسيّة او حتّى الإنتحار في بعض الحالات

وهنا، لا يسعنا سوى ان ندق ناقوس الخطر في هذا المجال لجهّة ما يتسببه هذا الفلتان الامني واللا اخلاقي في وسائل النقل العامّة بحيث اصبحنا نرى انّ المواطن اللبناني يشكّل ما نسبته 15% من مستخدمي قطاع النقل هذا امام 85 % من الاجانب. فالانسان الطائش العديم مسؤليّة يرتكب الفوضى فتقع الشابات اليافعات ضحيّة الاستغلال. كثرت في السنوات الاخيرة قوانين لحماية المرأة من كافّة العنف الّا ان هذه القوانين ليست سوى حبر على ورق، ويجدر الذكر ان الذين يسيؤون للمرأة ويتعدون عليها لفظياً يحسبون انّ القوانين لا تطالهم ولا علاقة لهم بالقوانين المطروحة

* * *

We have long known that security is missing from the scene in Lebanon, a situation which has led to a string of kidnappings, with citizens and even young girls taken from in front of their homes and schools in some areas of Lebanon, as we have heard stories about recently.

I will relay a story that happened to my friend, who told me how she had once been waiting for a bus from under Cola Bridge in the direction of Jounieh. While waiting for the bus, two young men began to verbally harass her, and say rude and inappropriate things to her. And when the young woman tried to stand closer to a police officer, her harassers continued to bother her, as though the officer was not there. When the bus arrives, the real danger begins, as this young lady is the only woman in a crowd of men, assailing her with their eyes, as though she is a mermaid [or angelic being, hooriya] in a “sea of honey”; this makes her very afraid, on a very deep level, as she begins to feel terror among these men. And as her journey home was coming to an end, two or three men began to assault her verbally, while the bus driver did not open his mouth, perhaps because he was used to this kind of behavior, or because he preferred to avoid getting into trouble with them.

From 1 to 9 pm, the bus is ruled by the law of the jungle, where the power of men prevails inside public transport vehicles with neither censure nor accountability. The young, Lebanese woman experiences a kind of fear without parallel as she commutes; this, firstly impacts her mental health negatively, and, secondly, leads her to lose her confidence and sense of self-dignity. No matter how resilient she is, there will come a time when she feels miserable and depressed. In some cases, some young girls fall victims of the kind of harassment that leads to physical and sexual assault, which could lead to serious emotional and psychological problems, and maybe even suicide in some cases.

We have to sound the alarm on this lack of security and morals on public transport, a situation that has led the Lebanese citizen to make up only 15% of the riding public, while the other 85% is made up of foreigners. Irresponsible people create chaos, which pushes young girls and women to fall into exploitation. Laws protecting women from all forms of violence have increased in recent years, except that these laws are nothing but ink on paper, and it is important to note that those who mistreat and verbally harass women believe that they are above the law.

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This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting the unique and complex experiences of women who use public transport in Lebanon. Photo by Rachel Burnham, taken as part of last summer’s Bus Map Photo Action. Rachel writes: “What endears me to riding the bus as a timid foreigner was the way that I was always graciously offered a seat, no matter how busy the bus or van.”

#HerBus: ‘Who is Who on the Bus?’—Lucia’s Story

Today’s #HerBus post is a photo-essay by Lucia Czernin, a writer and photographer who took part in our Bus Map Photo Action last summer. We are very happy to publish this beautiful account of her thoughts and experiences exploring our first edition bus map and getting to know some of the stories — just 14 glimpses — behind that intricate human tapestry that is the riding public.

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‘Who is Who on the Bus?’

by Lucia Czernin

Who are the people in the anonymous crowd of commuters? What are the stories behind them? I sometimes wonder why we are not constantly amazed to see new faces, given the fact that every face is unique in its way and represents a unique person and story. It might be a natural mechanism in order to protect us from the exhausting idea of endless new information. I guess humans need this security: familiarities, being surrounded by things and people they know, at least from time to time. In order to not lose control, we tend to divide the world into two broad categories: people we know and people we don’t know. But then, the process of a stranger changing categories, turning into someone we know, can consist of only a look, a smile, an insult or a simple gesture. This happens by chance or it can be deliberately provoked. But the idea of taking the initiative might frighten most of us, and I know it totally went against my own inclinations. And yet, as they say, “who dares, wins”.

Once on board, wavering down the “autostrade”, surrounded by honking, shouting and Arabic music, I thought I actually had a very important book to read and I might not really want to get to know these people. But then, I pulled myself together and dared to stumble over some awkward question in broken Arabic to the person in the seat in front of me. Suddenly, it seemed the music would stop, and people would interrupt their shouting and honking to fix their eyes on me, asking: “What is your problem?” Humans are an amusing species: on one hand we can only survive in community, while on the other hand, we love to lead a bubbled-up life. This tendency might be particularly strong in cities and is also referred to as “civil inattention”. Especially in cities that hold twice as many cars as persons, it seems that even on the bus, people like to pretend that they are on their own. Best strategy? Catch their attention.

Usually it is not very comfortable to look like a foreigner, but in these journeys that I documented, it helped to attract the curiosity of my fellow passengers. In some instances, I was lucky to meet new friends without having to take the first step, and could very naturally engage in conversation and photograph them. On two occasions I managed to bring an accomplice along, as my moral support; a partner in crime makes you feel bulletproof! So eventually I found myself bouncing across the bus talking to strangers. And every face I captured with my camera represents a precious add-on to my personal universe:


Lucia Czernin

Please say hello to Omar and Shanti. They have just gotten married, and they are perfectly happy using the bus on their honeymoon. You would think, they couldn’t be better off on a luxury cruise!


Lucia Czernin (Hamra)

As she enters the bus, the sweet elderly lady with the “Alice” band and the matching polka-dotted cotton dress radiates an air of confidence. She is one of those people that remind you of the caring granny from your childhood. As soon as she is seated, she produces her rosary booklet out of her handbag. Although she is fully focused on her pious activity, she doesn’t mind being interrupted. On the contrary! She is delighted to explain the different parts and prayers of the rosary, indicating pages and pictures. The rosary lady of Hamra seems to be in high spirits as she goes on to explain the Novena to Saint Rita (a nun from Italy of high popularity in Lebanon). She is about to offer me her dear devotional manuals, as if it were a precious gem. Her recommendations include novenas, a prayer repeated during nine days for a special intention. In her case, it is always about health issues: spiritual and physical ones – for family members and neighbours. The photo I take is the only thing that makes her uneasy. She feels embarrassed because she hasn’t arranged herself properly this morning. But then she takes a photo of me in return, as a souvenir. And I am assured that she would always send me a prayer whenever she finds me in her photo gallery, squeezed next to Saint Charbel and company.


Lucia Czernin (Hamra)

These two ladies have been following my conversation with the woman with the rosary, and have eagerly encouraged her to pose for my camera. Rima, the woman by the window, has been living in Lebanon for 31 years, getting married and raising her children here. We find her on her last day in Lebanon, however. Tomorrow, she will leave to her home country, Mauritius, for good. “I doubt very strongly that I will ever get the chance to come back,” she tells me. She seems to be serene about that. “What do I like about Lebanon? I love this country, especially the generosity of its people,” she says. The woman next to her, also from Mauritius, is a close friend who has been in the country for 25 years, and seems quite well established. What would be their message to the world, if they had the chance to be heard by everyone, standing on a balcony? Rima: “I will go home.”


Lucia Czernin (Hamra)

Ahmad could have done better if he had known about the photo session on the bus. But he bears it with dignity. He came to Lebanon from Raqqa, in Syria, two years ago. Back there, he owned a Falafel place. He stuck to his domain, and is now working at Abou André. Ahmad’s family members are all in Damascus. He goes there twice a year to support them. His message to the world: “that everyone may be alright, and all may be well.”


Lucia Czernin (Hamra)

This bright fella is on his way home from school. He lives in Basta and is in the 10th grade. School is alright, he tells me, and he particularly likes chemistry. Later he would like to become a nurse, because his cousin is a nurse and tells him that it’s a fine job. But he could also study to be a computer scientist. His message to the world: “World peace?”


Lucia Czernin (Hamra)

This is a father of four from Sudan. He works in Achrafieh and his family lives in Dora. His children are aged 5, 3, 2 and 1, and they all go to school in Achrafieh. His job is not what he had dreamed of, but at least he can work.


Lucia Czernin (Broumana)

Aida is going up to a village above Broumana, to her sister’s house, as she does every Sunday. Her sister needs this support since she would be lonely otherwise. Aida’s husband joins her, every time. He has been a sacristan in a church for 20 years. Aida works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry once sent her to South Africa, three years ago, on an accounting mission. She still remembers the many aunties in the kitchen there. She is 60 years old now, and doesn’t have any children. “I have cried a thousand tears because of that. But now I am old anyway,” she confides. Everything happens for a reason. Aida is the most confidant of all her work colleagues, and of her neighbours, and of her brothers and sisters, she tells me. She takes the bus every morning from Dora to Gemmayzeh. She even knows most of the other commuters who come from Tripoli, and worries about them when she doesn’t find some of them on the bus. They always greet each other. When asked about her message if she were standing on a balcony and had the chance to speak to the whole world, she first wants to know on which floor the balcony would be! “What would I say? Bonjour! Please come in!” She then adds that she would wish the world a blessed day, in case this was happening on a feast day. “Yesterday, for example, was the feast of Saint Thekla.”


Lucia Czernin (Faraya)

As I enter the bus in Dora, I seem to be crashing a private family scene. The driver is taking his wife and son out on a Sunday trip to Jbeil. All three of them are enjoying themselves, giggling and talking loudly. The driver’s son, Ryan, is proud to be helping out his father by collecting the transport fees from passengers, as they get off at their destinations. He turns out to be quite firm, to the extent that his father has to calm him down when two ladies get away with paying only 1000 LBP each, instead of the customary 1500 LBP. I am not surprised that Ryan wants to be a soldier when he grows up. He will definitely do his job dutifully.


Lucia Czernin (Jounieh)

“My name is Felicidad. Like in the Spanish Christmas song: Feliz navidad, feliz navidad…” she sings to me. Felicidad is married to a Lebanese man. Her husband is 92 years old, she herself 45. She has children and grand-children in the Philippines. She’s never met her grand-children. She used to work as a cosmetician, but now there is no time for that, since she is taking care of her husband. A good man, she tells me. She brought along her friend Mary, who has just arrived from the Philippines. Mary needs help getting around and building up her social network.


Lucia Czernin (Antelias)

Michelle feels great. She is on her way to work in Antelias. “If I was the owner of this bus, the first thing I would do is change the seats. And then I would remove the Smurf from the windscreen.” When asked about Lebanon, she assures that there are many positive sides to the place. To state just a few: its smallness – you will always find someone you know ore are related to. You will never be completely lost; the weather – so much sun and still you have four seasons!; the food… “Badkon chocolat?” is her message to the world.


Lucia Czernin (Jounieh)

Dunia is a refugee from Iraq. She came to Lebanon one month ago, together with her husband, her two children and her parents. She is now expecting her third baby. What she likes about Lebanon: they are safe here. They live in Jounieh and they haven’t made a lot of friends yet. There is hardly any interaction among neighbours here, she says. Her message to the world: “kounou bi aman w salam.”


Lucia Czernin (Safra)

Khaled is from Akkar. To him, Lebanon’s flora is a big plus, but his family always comes first. Khaled has always striven to work in the lighting sector. But after school, he started at Hawa Chicken and is now a security guard at the Canadian Embassy and at the German School in Jounieh. Through this job he has become a good observer, he tells me. But whenever he can, he gets away to Akkar. By bus, of course.


Lucia Czernin (Jbeil)

Let me introduce you to the “mas2oul” of the Crusader fortress in Byblos. This excellent man has been a loyal bus commuter from Jounieh to Byblos for 50 years. He always brings his lunch box in a small hand bag. He loves his job, since it allows him to meet people from all over the world, though he can hardly communicate with most of them, not being a fan of foreign languages. But he knows every historic detail relating to the fortress! Just ask.


Lucia Czernin (Antelias)

This is Ahlam on her way to Zalka. She works in a spa. Her favourite part of Lebanon is her family. The only thing she really can’t stand are the slow bus drivers. She tries to avoid them. Her phrase to the world: “respect one another.”

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Lucia’s story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the unique and complex experiences of women who use public transport in Lebanon. Do you have a story you want to share? We will post it with as much, or as little, editorial input as you request, to make sure that your voice is in the forefront. You can write in English, Arabic or French, and when appropriate, we will share a translation that sticks as closely as possible to the spirit of your story. Share an experience, keep it personal, make it academic, be creative — your city needs your voice!

#HerBus: ‘Van 4, from dawn to dusk’—Virginie’s Story


« As long as it is not clean, I will not get in this bus »
« You’re not afraid?! Why don’t you take a service instead? »
« The Number 4? I did not even know there was a bus that goes from Tayouneh to Hamra! »

Van 4 by Virginie Le Borgne

Yes, there is indeed a bus that links these two places. A bus, or rather a minibus, a sort of van, often a semblance of damaged car body, sometimes customized, which passes at top speed and then slams on the brakes to let two or three persons escape from it. More than one bus, there are even 300 of it that go through the town every day, ferrying passengers around from Dahieh to Hamra, from dawn to dusk, for 1000 LBP. I am sure you’ve already seen it—at least heard it…

——Its impatient drivers who insult the others around, hail the coffee seller to have their caffeine shot, reign over their own kingdom, and share easily their mood of the day with their neighbors in the cabin and sometimes even sing a song——

Van 4 Driver by Virginie Le Borgne

I get on the Number 4 almost every day. Because it is fast. Because it is cheap. Because its price is fixed so that you don’t have to renegotiate for ten minutes once arrived because there was a lot of traffic on the way. Because when I am in its den, I feel like I am an audience member of a movie in which the town passes before my eyes as well as my own life. Because it is still one of the best ways to have a good idea of the contradictions and evolutions of Beirut. Because it gives space to women, men, others. Because I could write about the multi-confessionalism that takes place in it, the gender mix and also the public transportation—the so-precious public transportation—that it symbolizes; but these words are now trite, having been used every time something is said about Beirut. So it would be better to let you form your own ideas . . .

Van 4 by Virginie Le Borgne

I’ve taken the Number 4 under the rain at 7 AM after a party, taking advantage of this bubble to complain to my friend about the complexity of human relationships. I’ve taken Van 4 at midnight, under a pale sky, leaving behind me on the sidewalk a man who did not dare kiss me. I’ve taken it in the summer, at 9 AM, praying that it would speed up so that I can be at my Arabic class on time.

Van 4 by Virginie Le Borgne

I’ve hated the “4” during the ten irregular minutes I had to wait for it at Tayouneh, while twenty services or so hurried to honk at me. I’ve loved the “4” all the time that remains.

I’ve hit my head a hundred times against its metallic roof while trying to extract myself from it once arrived. I’ve almost fallen while entering, when the impatient driver decided to start up again before reaching my seat. And I will carry on falling.

As long as Van 4 will run, I will get in it.

Van Number 4 by Virginie Le Borgne

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This #HerBus contribution was written and photographed by Virginie Le Borgne, a freelance journalist living in Beirut. You can follow her on Instagram.

Virginie’s story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the unique and complex experiences of women who use public transport in Lebanon. Do you have a story you want to share? We will post it with as much, or as little, editorial input as you request, to make sure that your voice is in the forefront. You can write in English, Arabic or French, and when appropriate, we will share a translation that sticks as closely as possible to the spirit of your story. Share an experience, keep it personal, make it academic, be creative — your city needs your voice!

#HerBus: ‘Sweat and Perfume’—Florence’s Story

The first time I was in Lebanon as an intern, I had very little money and therefore used buses to move around everyday. Which led a colleague of mine to make a “joke” I didn’t understand yet: “Only Syrians and French take the bus everyday. Because the Syrians are poor and the French are used to it.” And in fact, it’s true, French people are used to public transportation, especially if you live in a city, so I guess that was convenient for me and not weird at all. Plus, it’s insanely cheap compared to everything else in Lebanon. I realized only after everyone reacted like “Yiiiii? You take the bus everyday? You’re not scared?” that maybe it wasn’t customary here.

The hardest thing was actually for me to know which one to take, where to wait for it, and where it would go. I had plenty of adventures getting lost in unknown neighborhoods before I managed to have some indication on what to do. But the drivers, when it happened to me, were always very nice, getting someone to talk in English or French with me if they couldn’t, and helped me with a big smile, a cigarette and sometimes even candies. So no problem, except for being late to my destination.

Now, I can use taxis, uber and services, but I still take the bus when I want to go around in Lebanon, especially to the North, South and the Bekaa. These roads are faster if you take a crazy minivan, if you don’t fear for your life! I was involved in an accident once, but got only bruises and a big scare that didn’t prevent me from going in one the following week. Seriously, these guys can avoid the traffic like magic. I remember once, we were stuck in the traffic of Jounieh on a Saturday, and another van driver talked to ours, telling him to follow his way. Of course, it cut us a full hour of traffic, and our driver was so pleased, the two men kept singing each other love songs for the rest of the trip, it was hilarious and sweet at the same time.

As a woman alone, I actually feel safer sometimes on a bus than on a service, because you always get the best seat away from all the men. Everyone is always watching out for you, and no one will dare look at you in a weird way or say anything insulting. Actually, a man was following me once on a bus, trying to seat next to me, other men saw it happening and pushed him out at the next “stop”. So it’s always a good experience, if you can deal with the smells of sweat and perfume!

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Photo by Idrissa Mboup, taken as part of our Bus Map Photo Action last summer.

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This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting the unique and complex experiences of women who use public transport in Lebanon. Do you have a story you want to share? We will post it with as much, or as little, editorial input as you request, to make sure that your voice is in the forefront. You can write in English, Arabic or French, and when appropriate, we will share a translation that sticks as closely as possible to the spirit of your story. Share an experience, keep it personal, make it academic, be creative — your city needs your voice!

#HerBus: ‘First Times and First Impressions’—Zahra’s Story

On International Workers’ Day, we remember and celebrate the often-times hidden labor that keeps our cities running. From bus drivers to sanitation workers, nurses to waiters — we salute you.

May Day is also a time to reflect on and challenge inequality. Attitudes towards public transport in Lebanon are often linked to class distinctions. Sometimes these attitudes are masked behind concerns over cleanliness or timeliness or safety — all of which are consumer rights that are not evenly distributed, and hence, are in themselves class markers; other times, attitudes will be much more direct in their aversion to mingling with ‘people who take the bus.’

Today, we want to share the first contribution to the series of posts on women’s experiences on public transport announced on International Women’s Day by highlighting the intersections of class, race and gender shaping how we get around Beirut. Zahra’s thoughtful story is about learning and unlearning, and the experience of challenging fear and privilege to participate more fully in the urban diversity of Beirut. This is a process that never ends, and requires bravery to face up to ourselves.

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I took my first bus in Beirut under the Dawra bridge, heading north to Byblos on the afternoon of Valentine’s Day with an ex-boyfriend. Neither of us had a car, he was British, and I had recently returned from London, so bus travel was both acceptable and desirable. Before London, I had lived in Lebanon for 6 years but I never set foot on a bus partly because I didn’t need to, but mostly because it wasn’t an option. I was a student at the American University of Beirut and was surrounded by a circle of friends that were both revolted and terrified by the idea of public transport. But the aversion was shared by my family and friends outside of AUB, so it didn’t seem like just an issue of financial means.

Since my (non-voluntary) return from London, I was adamant on crafting a “fresh start” and was driven by preferences and considerations that were detached from the Lebanese context. Exploring options for public transport in Lebanon was a choice taken from a privileged position; it was something quite alternative and enjoyable. Taking the bus in a country where bus travel is not mainstream (to someone like me at least) was my way of living in the kind of city I want to live in, as opposed to the real one I have no choice but to be part of and be oppressed by. And so I repeated this journey of imagination several times and loved it. That day in Dawra, my British companion helped me detach myself even more from the social context and provided me with what I felt was an immunity from social taboos. Being a male, he also gave me a sense of protection, even though I knew that if anything were to happen, I would be the one doing the protecting.

As for first impressions, the first thing I thought when I rode a bus was: “it’s not as bad as everybody thinks it is”. People were ‘normal-looking’… there were women like me… young, some middle aged, Lebanese, and more or less “well-presented” or mratab as they say. This first impression discredited the assumptions that so many people around me held- that buses are run down, stink, full of migrant workers and haunted by the spectre of the dangerous Syrian worker. The second thought that came to my mind was that all these people were acting very normal and civil, including the bus driver. The normality reassured me. I was certainly in a new place, outside my comfort zone, but judging by the looks of the people around me, I wasn’t really outside my ‘circle’ and even if I was, these outsiders weren’t so different. The men were not astonished by the presence of women amongst them, even though some of them were young and attractive and alone.

Once I found comfort in this new space, I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride and this is how the ‘entertainment value’ of the bus came to be my reason to seek it many times after. It turned out that I was an outsider after all because I wasn’t just commuting like everyone else, I was there for the journey. On a bus, I was the audience, and the city was my show. People, conversations, incidents, the humor and absurdity of Lebanese life flashed before me and I was both part of this show and its observer. It created a new experience of the city and a new sense of belonging to a ‘public’ space/facility/realm.

Bus No.2

Bus No. 2 passes right by my house and heads to Hamra as its final stop. Every day, I would see it passing by but always resorted to service taxis, even though they cost me much more (especially given my request to cross the imaginary desert that stood between Ashrafieh and Hamra). The 1,000 lira bus fare was very appealing to an unemployed graduate, so I decided to try it out one day. When I entered, I tried to act like a regular to compensate for the red lipstick and heels. It didn’t work and all eyes were on me, especially when I asked the driver how long the journey to Hamra takes. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer: “it depends on the traffic”. My insistence was holding back the bus so a commuter shouted from the back, “half an hour.” I thanked him, paid the fare, and sat in the back relieved that the ‘gaze’ had broken off and moved on to its new victims. On the way, I was overjoyed to be heading to work on a bus. I felt there was an order of things that I was never aware of in this city… something was working and people were abiding by rules. At the time I didn’t know LCC buses were operated by a private company and thought that they were government-operated. This initial idea however gave me a feeling I have never felt before in this country… that I was entitled to a service as a citizen, that there was a government looking after me, that I was no different than anyone else on the bus, migrant worker, Lebanese, man, female alike.

The bus also took me through neighborhoods I don’t usually go through on my way to work, always seeking the same and shortest route. The bus ride expanded the city’s horizon and it felt like everything was a lot more connected. I got to work in 50 minutes as opposed to the usual 20 something minutes it would have taken by car or service, but it was worth it and I was in a good mood. I haven’t repeated it since because it’s simply not practical to travel for 50 minutes. If that wasn’t the case I would gladly drop the service and car rental for the bus.

When we reached the final stop in Hamra next to Barbar, everyone was getting off and the driver noticed that I was confused so he asked me where I am going. I said I was heading right to the end of Hamra and asked if the bus heads in that direction. He said no so I politely thanked him and left to continue walking. As I headed off, the bus driver started beeping at me so I turned back to see if I had forgotten something. He told me “if you want I can drop you, just for you, walaw”… and so my experience of utmost equality came to an abrupt end and back I was to the city of preferential treatment, sweaty wrinkled winks and catcalling. I said no thank you and walked off doubting whether I was too harsh in my initial reading of the gesture. Maybe he was just being nice, can’t people be nice? Do we have to be programmed like Londoners? I yearned for the predictability I felt for 50 minutes while on the bus no.2. I may have made up this predictability entirely, it may have been just my projected expectations of what a public transport system should be like. Maybe another person would have appreciated the driver’s offer. Who am I to say? I now ride to work in my rented car.

مشروع الباص السريع طبرجا-بيروت – الاجتماع الخامس في بلدية بيروت

 في 10-04-2017 تمت الجلسة التشاورية  الخامسة في مبنى بلدية بيروت الطابق الثاني بدعوة من شركة الارض للتنمية المتطورة للموارد ش .م.ل المسؤولة عن اجراء دارسة الاثر البيئي والاجتماعي لمشروع الباص السريع بين طبرجا و بيروت لصالح مجلس الانماء والاعمار

  وكان الحضور بين حوالي 10 اشخاص جميعا مع المنظمين الذين يشكلون حوالي 4 اشخاص قد جلسنا في على طاولة مستطيلة وقد جلس بالصدفة السيدات الى جهة والرجال في الجهة المقابلة

كما العادة بدأت هنادي المسؤولة عن الاجتماع بتعريف المشروع الباص السريع ومكوناته الاساسية. فتبدأ بالمقدمة عن استراتجية قطاع النقل في لبنان واين المشروع من هذه الاستراتجية. في المدى القريب والمتوسط سيكون هناك خطة نقل مرتكزة على الباصات اما على المدى المتوسط والبعيد سيكون هناك قطار وبعدها تبدأ بشرح عن المشروع بقصة نجاحه في بعض دول العالم كالمكسيك و ايران وتركيا وبعدها تصل الى وصفه بشكل عام

:بتألف من باص السريع من 3 خطوط

الخط الاول على بين طبرجا وشارل حلو بطول 28 كلم وسيكون في وسط اتوستراد جونيه

 الخط الخارجي لبيروت وسيكون حول بيروت الكبرى بطول 12 كلم والارجح سيكون مسارالباص على الخط اليمين من الطريق

الخط الداخلي سيكون على 16 كلم ولم تحسم اذ سيكون لديه خط خاص او لا والامر متروك للدراسات الفنية

 وكانت احدى اولى الاسئلة لبدء النقاش من قبل مديرة الحوار والسيدة امل التي تدير هذه الدراسة التقنية: “قديش رح يجذب هيدا المشروع ناس تستعملوا؟” … “كيف تجربتكم بالتنقل بلبنان واذا بتستعملوا الباصات”؟

 وهل هناك موقف لتصف سيارتها و (feeder buses) وتكلمت احدى الفتيات وبدأت بسؤال عن الباصات المساعدة

خصوصا ان 5 كلم المسافة من الموقف الى بيروت فالافضل ان اكمل بسيارتي – “ما بقى تحرز” استعمل الباص

  هنا تكلمت فتاة اخرى تقول انها تسكن في وطى المسيطبة وهي طالبة جامعية وهي تستقل الباص وفي نفس الوقت تمتلك سيارة ولكنها تستعمل الباص بسبب زحمة السير

وبعدها تناوبت على الكلام طالبة جامعية تتعلم في الجامعة اللبنانية في الفنار وهي تذهب الى الجامعة بالباص فتستعمل باص رقم 15 من الكولا الى الدورة ثم الباص من الدورة الى الفنار رقم 5 ولديها مشكلة مع الباصات الحالية “النطرة” التوقيت  دائما ما نصل متأخرينا “عطول بدنا ننطر كتير او منوصل مأخرين” وقد اعطت رأيها انه يمكن في بدأ الامر يكون رفض للمشروع ولكن مع الوقت الناس ستستعمله

 وقد عانت احدى اصدقائها بأحد الخطوط انها كانت تبكر في النزول لانتظار الباص قبل اكثر من ساعة لان لا جدول محدد وكانت مشكلتها في العودة الى البيت في الليل حيث انها لا تدري ان مر اخر باص او لا تحتار في الانتظار اكثر او ماذا تفعل وخصوصا ان كلفة النقل ستكون اعلى عليها وهي تريد ان توفر المصروف قدر المستطاع

هنا انتقل الحديث الى احد الشبان وقد عرف عن نفسه انه دكتور وكان يعيش خارج البلاد وانه يستعمل النقل المشترك كثيرا وخصوصا في اوروبا وانه لم ولن يستعمل غير سيارته في بيروت وذلك لسبب مهم في نظره وهي النظافة فهو طبيب ولديه عيادة على الكورنيش وكلما مر من جانب الفانات والباصات فتصل اليه الرائحة والدخان المبعث من الفانات والباصات

ويصف الباصات بالغير دقيقة المواعيد ويجب ان يكون لديها قدرة على استيعاب ساعات الذروة ويسأل كيف يمكننا اقناع اللبناني بأستعمال الباص وخصوصا ان اللبناني لديه الميل والطلب ان يصل بوسيلة النقل الى امام المنزل وهو يتذكر باصات الدولة في ال90 حيث كانت تسمى “جحش الدولة” والتي كانت تقفل الطريق بحجمها فطالب ان تتناسب الباصات بحجم الطرقات الصغيرة وخاصة في احياء بيروت

كما طالب بتعليق المعلومات باللغة العربية والقيام بحملات دعائية للباص واكد ان اللبناني يريد محافزات كبيرة ليترك السيارة وتفعيل قانون السير والاشارة والخطوط car pooling الخاصة واطلب بنشر فكرة الاستعمال المشترك للسيارات

وطالبت احدى الفتيات بالسلامة المرورية وخاصة للام التي تجر عربة الاطفال وتريد الصعود على الباص الان فيجب تحسين النبى التحتية الان

 وقالت انها ليس لديها اي خبرة في الباصات الا في باص بيروت صيدا landscape architect   استلمت الكلام

وذلك لانها تخاف السرعة وخاصة في الباصات والفانات الصغيرة حيث السائق يسوق بسرعة جنونية وان باص صيدا بيروت هو خط مقبول وله توقيت محدد وفعال وهو لشركة خاصة وان الدولة عملت على الخطوط نقل الباصات وقد فشلت وان من اسباب ذلك اسباب سياسية وخاصة ان هناك بعض الخطوط وقد اخبرتنا انها تخاف الصعود ببعض الباصات خاصة انها قد يأتي احد ويقطع الباص خط الباص الذي تركبه وذلك لسيطرة بعض الاحزاب السياسية عليه وقد نصحة انه اذ لم يكن من استراتجية لادخال المستفدين من القطاع الان ذلك سيشكل سبب في فشل هذا المشروع وتسألت كيف يكمن ان يتكامل هذا المشروع مع السرفيس هل هناك مواقف للسرفيس بجانب خطوط الباصات

وبدأ بتحليل المعوقات لتطوير العمل في المشروع فقال يجب معرفة اللاعبين الاساسيين architectبعدها اخذ الكلام

اولا السياسيين والسياسة ثانيا البلديات وثالثاً اصحاب الخطوط وهم المتضررين الاساسيين ويجب ايجاد طريقة لادخالهم في النظام الجديد وانه يستعمل الباص وخاصة فان رقم 4 وانه استعمله اليوم ولم يفكر بالتردد للحظة لانه لو اتى لم يكن سيعرف اذا هناك موقف للسيارة وكم ستكون التكلفة وخاصة ان تكلفة الفان 1000 ليرة لبنانية وقد تمشى قليل ووصل بكل سهولة الى  مكان الاجتماع دون ان يتأخربغض النظر عن حالة المقاعد في الفان او الرائحة والدخان وان  ليس من الغريب تحمل استخدام الباص بحالته الحالية فكلها مدة قليل للركوب والوصول الى المكان المقصود وبتكلفة زهيدة وسأل كيف نريد ان نحفز الناس ان تستخدم الباصات هل يجب زيادة كلفة المواقف هل يجب الغاء المواقف وقال الجيد انكم تستطيعون التحكم بالتوقيت   الباصات لانه المسار خاص والا فأن سرعة السيارة وحتى على الاتوستراد لا تتعد 10 -20 كلم بسبب كثرة السيارات وذلك كان قد طرح مشاكل في التوقيت للباص

بعدها قد تكلم احد الاشخاص الذي كان حاضرا وهو صديق وكان من الناشطين في احد مجموعات النقل المستدام وقد تكلم عن تجربته الشخصية فبدأ حديثه انه لطالما استعمل النقل المشترك منذ كان تلميذا فقد كان يأخد من برج البراجنة الباص رقم  12 ثم بعد ذلك يتسعمل السرفيس بسبب بطىئ الباص الذي قد يصله الى المدرسة

بعد ان توظف واصبح لديه قدرة مادية ما زال يستعمل فان رقم 4 وخط الفان الشويفات وبالنسبة له ان يستعمل النقل المشترك لانه مقتنع انه مفيد البيئة ولا يستعمل السيارة الخاصة الا عند الحاجة او ايام عطلة الاسبوع

والان اصبح عندي تحدي اذا انني قد اخطو  خطوة جديدة في حياة الشخصية واتجه نحو الارتباط فلا اعتقد انه ما زال بأمكاني استعمال الباص وخصوصا سيصبح لدي عائلة

لدي النصائح عند استعمال فان رقم 4 فبعد الساعة ال 9 لا استعمله بسبب سرعة السائقين وانا اريد ان احافظ على حياتي احب ان اقرأ في الباص وما يزعجني في الباص كثيرا هو بعض الموسيقى وخصوصا الدينية

  وقد طالب بوجود بعض القواعد لركوب الباص وخاصة في ما يتعلق بالحيوانات الاليفة فهو لا يحبذ وجود قطط في الباص ويرحب بوجود كلاب

وقد قال انه ليس لديه مشكلة في اعتماد نفس النظام في دبي بخصوص التمييز بين الخدمات الملكية والخدمات العادية وهي نوع من الحل للفصل بين طباقات المجتمع وطبعا ساد نوع من النقاش الحاد بيننا ولكن في الاخير لا نعلم ماذا يمكن ان يحدث وخصوصا ان التعرفة لم تحسم بعد وان كانت التعرفة ستدرس لتناسب كل مستويات المجتمع وسكانه

 وقد طالبت احدهن بتدريب السائقين على عملهم وكذلك ان يكون سائقات اناث للباص  السريع

وقد شاركتنا احدى الصبايا تجربتها عن باص 15 انه بطيئ كثيرا و خصوصا في الدكوانة ويأخذ الكثير من الوقت ويقف كثيراً وبعدها يصل الى عجقة السير فتكون النطرة نطرات والسائقين يتسلون كثيرا من الوقت على الهاتف وهذا خطير على سلامة الركاب فضلا انه في اغلب الاحيان يحدث نوع من السباق بين الباصات واحيانا مشاكل وهذا امر خطير جداً

وقد طرحت صبية مشكلة ستواجها وخصوصا ان الخط الباص السريع لن يصل الى طرابلس بل الى طبرجا فهي كطالبة تأخد اغراضها و تكون احيانا كثيرة وهي لن تقوم بأخد الباص اذا لم يكتمل الخط فأما سـتأخذ خط اخر متل الكونكس او سيارتها لان ذلك سيمنعها من التعب والبهدلة في حمل و نقل الاغراض

وهناك فتاة قالت انها تستعمل الدراجة الهوائية والسرفيسات وتذهب بالبسيكلات الى اكثر الاماكن وهي قد اعتادت الامر رغم بعض الخطورة وقد هنأئها الحضور على ذلك وقالت انها ستسعمل الباص اذا كان باص موجود وتترك الدراجة وطالبت اذا بأمكانها اخذ الدراجة في الباص حيث انها تكمل رحلتها بالدراجة بعد استخدام الباص

وطالبت بأنشاء مسار خاص للدراجات موازي لخط الباص وذلك بعد طرح الفكرة من اكثر من شخص وصفت نفسها انها شخص يمشي كثيرا وانها تحب المشي ولكن ليس هناك ارصفة وهناك الكثير من التعاديات على الارصفة

او تقسيم التسعيرة على pay as you go  وعندما بدأ الحديث عن السعر احدهم تحدث بشكل عام عن طريقة الدفع

تقسيم المناطق وان يكون هناك بطاقة ليوم كامل وان يكون هناك بطاقات خاصة لكبار السن والتلاميذ

وسأل احدهم هل هو نقل عام او مشترك لنفكر بالسعر وخاصة انه يدفع 1000 ليرة ولا يمانع اين يجلس المهم ان يصل      بالنسبة للخدماتinclusive فالسعر مرتبط بالخدمات وعن مدى ارتباط السعر بمن نريد ان يستعمل الباص فكم نريده ان

وقد اردف انه اذ فقط يجب ان نحسب الامور على مصاريف النقل يمكن ان يجد المواطن حلول كأستعمال السيارات الصغيرة التي قد تكون اوفر له من الباص

 وقد طرحت احدى الصبايا ان لا مشلكة لديها ان يكون الشوفير غير لبناني كذلك وانها لن تدفع اكثر مما هي تدفع الان للسرفيس 2000 ليرة فهي لن تدفع اكثر للباص

وان مصروف احد الصبايا 6000 ليرة يوميا بأستعمال الباص ذهابا و ايابا من قرنة شهوان الى انطلياس

وان كلفة باص صيدا 2500 ليرة وهو سريع و فعال ولديه خدمة جيدة وفي بيروت تستعمل السرفيس وهي قد تخلت عن استعمال الباص واصبحت تستعمل سياراتها بسبب الزحمة لمحاولة الوصول الى عملها على الترم

وقد اطلعنا احدهم على فكرة لم نسمع بها قبل ان هناك دراسة للنقل في اتحاد بلديات الضاحية الجنوبية قد تدمج رقم 4 في الخطة فلا بد من التحدث الى البلديات وان تكون جزء من هذا المشروع وسأل كم بلدية وافقت على هذا المشروع على طول الخط

رغم اننا لم يعطنا دور الا في النهاية لنقاش بناء على طلب مديرة الجلسة عدم المشاركة الا اننا كجمعيات وناشطين تكلمنا في اخر الجلسة واعطينا وجهة نظرنا عن المشروع بشكل عام واننا لا نريد ان نحمل المشروع كل مسؤولية وافكارنا ولكن لا بد من التفكير في هذا المشروع كجزء من التنقل في المدينة فيجب ربطه مع المساحات العامة والتخطيط المدني للمدينة والعمل مع جميع المساهمين في القطاع و محاولة اشراكهم بنظرة ايجابية عن المشروع ليكون هذا المشروع جزء من سياسة عامة واهمية تراتبية تنفيذ هذا المشروع فقد تكون نقطة كبيرة في فاشله اذ لم ندرس من اين نبدأ التنفيذ

ان الافكار التي تطرح في هذه الاجتماعات نرجو ان تلاقي اذان صاغية و خصوصا اننا نريد انجاح هذا المشروع ليكون الخطوة الاولى في اعادة سير قطاع النقل العام و المشترك في لبنان وخصوصا ان الكثير من هذه الاراء كنا قد طرحناها سابقاً ولان تطرح من عدة اشخاص ومستخدمي الباصات فلا بد من العمل على ادراجها في التخطيط لهذا مشروع لضمان نجاحه