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


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 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.

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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: ‘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: هناك ما هو منظم و رخيص—Farah’s Story

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! N.B. Scroll down for our translation of Farah’s story.

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ان النقل العام في لبنان غير منظم بحيث لا يوجد محطات معينة لنقل الركاب ولا حتى الركاب على علم بمواعيد انطلاق الباصات

لكن لمن لا يملك خيار سوى النقل العام يخضع للأمر الواقع وهو عشوائية النقل. قد يكون هذا الخيار أسهل بالنسبة للرجال اما للنساء فالوضع يختلف قليلا بحيث نتجنب الوقوع في موقف محرج كالتحرش وما شابه
لذلك تتجه بعض النساء الى الباصات لأنها وسيلة أمنة وقد علمت هذا من تجربة شخصية

في احدى المرات كنت متوجهة الى الأشرفية، اخترت أن أصعد ب تاكسي لكن كان خياري خاطئ فقد كان سائق التاكسي ينظر بطريقة تثير القلق عندها قررت النزول متحجج بأني غيرت وجهة ذهابي طبعا بعد نزولي كنت أبحث عن سيارة أجرة جديدة وفي نفس الوقت كان باص رقم 2 يتوجه نحوي صعدت وكانت أول تجربة لي لم تكن سيئة بل على العكس فقد كنت أشعر براحة فالركوب بالباص يجنبنا ك فتيات مواقف
.محرجة كثيرة ومع الوقت أصبحت على علم بوجهة الباص تبعا للأرقام التي تحملها

.قد يكون النقل العام من ضحايا العشوائية لكن بالرغم من هذا هناك ما هو منظم و رخيص

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“Public transport in Lebanon isn’t regulated; there are no designated stations where passengers can be picked up, nor are passengers informed about their schedules.

Those who have no choice but to use public transport are forced to accept the way things are — namely, transit’s informality. This may be an easy choice for men, but for women, the situation is a little different, as women tend to avoid falling into uncomfortable situations, such as being harassed, and the like; for this reason, some women prefer to use the bus, as it is a safer mode of transport, as I learned from personal experience:

Once, on my way to Ashrafieh, I decided to take a taxi, but this turned out to be a bad decision, as the driver began to look at me in a worrying manner. I decided to get out of the car, pretending that I was changing the direction of my journey. Naturally, when I got out, I began to look for another taxi; that’s when I saw a Number 2 bus heading in my direction, so I boarded it for the first time. It wasn’t a bad experience. On the contrary, I felt relaxed, since riding the bus helps us young women to avoid very uncomfortable situations. And with time, I began learning about different buses by their numbers.

Public transport may be a victim of informality, and yet, in spite of this, it offers cheap and organized options.

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Photo by Megan Barlow, taken as part of last summer’s Bus Map Photo Action

BRT in Focus: The Unions’ Perspective

As we saw in a previous post on the BRT Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study that we’ve been covering extensively, a major factor influencing the receptivity of people to the project is “perception.” Generally speaking, having more facts about the project can help bring different perspectives together, but this does not mean that all views are easily reconcilable. Everyone has their own reasons for championing one view of the sector over another, and it is easy to get frustrated with “narrow interests.” But at the end of the day, individual or group bias is the natural starting point for any conversation. We all come to a topic “from” somewhere, and we all take part “because” of something. This is half the fun of democracy, but it is also half the burden.

The same is true for public transport in general. In our last post — part of the #HerBus series we’ve just launched — we see an example of a young woman who decided to try the bus as a means of re-inventing her identity and place in Lebanon, after some time abroad. In other words, many people’s motivations for championing public transport are not primarily economic or environmental; they want comfort, peace of mind, or prefer the bus because they can daydream while watching the city scroll past their window. The bus can make poet-philosophers out of all of us, and our right to public transport, in many ways, is at its core a right to switch off and experience the life of the mind, even if fleetingly, during our daily commute.

The challenge lies in making sure our perspective — our reason to care — does not crowd out the reasons, perspectives and “cares” of others, especially those for whom public transport is a fundamental part of survival. All people are created equal, but not all stakes in the sector are the same. This is why the point of view of transport worker syndicates is absolutely vital, even if it “inconveniences” the whole project.

Here’s the second challenge: Anyone seeking to include the voices of transport workers should be really committed to this goal, and not allow the way the system has been set up to become a game they play before moving on (“we called them and they didn’t send anyone,” etc). The need to deepen relations within the sector and beyond the formal representative mechanisms is not something that will be fulfilled during any particular consultation study, but it does require sustained effort and time from a network of advocates that build real and lasting relationships inside and outside of the syndicates, that, in turn, cumulatively get us to that more ideal culture of inclusiveness inshallah. We are happy to know that ELARD agrees.

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Way back on the 7th of February, ELARD opened up their consultation process by holding the first focus group meeting with transit unions at their office in Zalka-Amaret Chalhoub, near City Mall. Several transport-related unions and syndicates were invited, though only two representatives attended (for reference, a full list of unions is included at the end of the post).

We always talk about the importance of including existing transport operators in any proposed reform of the sector, but taking part in this session reminded us that it is too easy to romanticize this process, as though complex negotiations involving multiple, and often times clashing interests, with little-to-no history of interaction and commonality, can come to a quick and tidy resolution over coffee and petit four.

And yet, even with just two unions represented, a lot of useful information was shared, and through a spontaneous interplay between concerns over design and worries over jobs, the gap that can be filled today by groups seeking to reconcile divergent views became a little clearer.

To help keep our focus on this gap, we will not detail everything that was discussed in this meeting. Rather, we will try to thematize the proceedings to highlight the areas where more attention and dialogue could help bring us closer to that more ideal system of participation that we all aspire to reach:

Points of Convergence:

The most common theme during the session was integration, though it was not necessarily expressed that way by all sides. Elias Abou Mrad of Train/Train was very concerned about making sure that each “island” (the areas in the highway where bus stations are built) is well connected to the other sides of the highway, in a way that takes into consideration the psychology of pedestrians. He believed that the success of the project lies in how integrated the transition from one side to the other feels for bus users, and recommended that the design of each island/bridge extends past the edges of the highway, so that open spaces are found on either side. This is important to avoid the feeling of crossing a barrier which inevitably comes from any major road slicing through an urban area.

Trying to imagine the implementation of this recommendation was eye-opening for us, as it was difficult to mentally picture where these open spaces could be found without going back out and exploring the whole highway on foot; the very fact that the meeting was being held in a part of Zalka that several at the meeting indicated they had not mentally imagined as part of Zalka proper further proved Elias’ point. And though it first seemed unrealistic to find open spaces at the entrance of every single pedestrian bridge given how randomly buildings have developed alongside the northern highway, the way that this suggestion forced us to re-imagine how the urban fabric can stitch itself back around the ‘gaping wound’ of the highway was very useful for us, as pedestrians who have learned to run across barriers and make due with the car-centric urban environment. “We have to set the policy in ideal terms,” Elias insisted, “and see how much we can reach that.”

From a different perspective, “General Federation” unionist Elie Aoun insisted that the project’s success lies in the socioeconomic integration of bus and van drivers who rely on the northern highway. He explained how leaving these workers as an afterthought will cause a big shock to the system, as their livelihoods are at stake, and insisted that alternatives or incentives must be found for these workers so that they see the BRT project as a positive development, and not an antagonistic intruder. “It’s a matter of image,” he explained, as much as it is a problem of competing interests.

The point of convergence between these two positions — the design problem of stitching together the urban fabric, and the sociopolitical problem of avoiding friction between two transport markets — is clear, but it is not necessarily obvious, as both sides focus more on their own primary concerns. Hence, it is absolutely imperative for the CDR to take the lead here by adopting a posture of reconciliation towards both sides, and doing the meticulous work of bridging the technical (with its focus on consumers) with the social (with its focus on service providers) in a solution that is mutually-honoring. In other words, for this project to succeed, the CDR must not act like one more lobby among others, but rather, to be the forum in which diverging views are heard, understood, and satisfied.

How can this be accomplished? We will not claim to be experts — especially when it comes to the granular level of every island and bridge — but, drawing on a comment that Elias Abou Mrad made, we can suggest the policy framework that ought to color every decision made in the design phase: at this stage, the average user imagined by the design cannot simply be the person who currently owns a car and is projected as likely to stop driving when the BRT system becomes successful. It cannot even be the existing bus user, who is expected to switch modes (while also being portrayed as another “problem” to solve, given their existing transit-riding habits and practices), from the informal to the formal system. Even the unions seem to agree that these transit users will make the switch, and hence, threaten the livelihoods of existing bus and van drivers. But having these two users in mind at this point skips over the fact that car drivers will only abandon the car when the BRT project is complete, and existing bus users will only make the switch when the routes they already rely on naturally and effortlessly fit into the new system. These two developments might happen rapidly, perhaps with the very first fleet to depart on day one of the BRT service; but we would like to suggest that this scenario is more likely to happen if the average user being imagined at this stage of the design phase is the existing transit operator: taxis, services, Uber, vans, buses, Bostas…

The issue of how feeder links will work cannot be an afterthought, and, indeed, this came up several times during focus group meetings with the general public over the next few weeks. It cannot be left as an emergent design shaped by market forces or other self-organizing dynamics, because there is no guarantee that these forces will go in the direction that support the BRT project (indeed, the issue of violent opposition to the project was brought up several times during the meeting). In our view, this is the most concrete bridge between Abou Mrad’s concerns about the urban tissue and Aoun’s worries over the socioeconomic fabric.

Points of Divergence:

This point of convergence, and potential site for cooperation, was undermined somewhat by subtle comments that were made that seemed to take us backwards by de-legitimizing public transport as it exists today. On the one hand, when a suggestion was made of directly compensating existing drivers who may lose business, the question was raised about “why the Lebanese people should pay for that,” as though the perfectly reasonable, free market mechanism of buy-out and buy-in was a burden too high to ask of the taxpayer. On the other hand, when the question of how passengers will deal with dedicated bus stops when they are so used to disembarking anywhere along the route, the blame was put on the transit user, as though the perfectly reasonable use of affordances provided by the system itself was a moral failing of individual riders. In both cases, the burden of change was discursively shifted in the wrong direction. When the state has been absent from a sector, it is not up to those who filled the void to somehow be less inconvenient to it when it decides to return. And when a system provides little to no structure for its users, it is not up to them on an individual basis to create that infrastructure through sheer willpower alone (though — irony of ironies — they often do).

Hence, for this process of bridging perspectives together to be truly effective, we need to once and for all exorcise that implicit but ever-present spirit of disgust that hangs over our discussions of existing public transport. We cannot reconcile differences while holding grudges. Let us, instead, accept where we are and excel within existing parameters — joud bel mawjoud.

List of Transport Syndicates invited to the Focus Group, in Arabic:

  • النقابة العامة لسائقي سيارات الاجرة اللبنانيين
  • اتحاد نقابات سائقي السيارات العمومية للنقل البري
  • الاتحاد العام لنقابات السائقين العموميين وعمال النقل في لبنان
  • الاتحاد اللبناني لنقابات سائقي السيارات العمومية ومصالح النقل في لبنان
  • اتحاد الولاء لنقابات النقل والموصلات في لبنان
  • نقابة اصحاب شركات ومؤسسات التاكسي في لبنان
  • نقابة اصحاب الاوتوبيس والسيارات العمومية ومكاتب النقل في الجمهورية اللبنانية

#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.

* * *

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

Bus Rhythms & User Hacks has published an interesting post from the perspective of a daily bus and service user. The site has posted articles about services and vans before, but what’s nice about this one is that it includes some practical tips for the would-be bus rider. This one’s quite useful:

“If you can get a fast bus for half the way, do it. For example, if you’re taking the Bikfaya bus from Dora, don’t. From Dora to Antelias it’ll take you around 30 mins as he’ll drive slowly, so jump on a Tripoli or Jbeil bus to Antelias and then board the Bikfaya bus. These routes are known to be really fast.”

What this tip underlines, for us, is how all systems have a learning curve.

First-time signups will stick to the basic functionalities, but pretty soon, the pro-user will figure out the hacks that work for her. It’s the same kind of learning that happens when you start driving around Beirut’s convoluted streets. Or, on a smaller scale, when you masterfully dodge pedestrians and parked cars on your way to your favorite pub on Saturday night: you’re syncing up your rhythms with flows and moorings of others, in a jaunty jingle-jangle, look-at-my-dab dance.

Bottom line? The city is a sprawling text that doesn’t immediately reveal its deeper meanings.

Feature photo by Garine Gokceyan, taken as part of the Bus Map Photo Action (July 2016)