Writing & Living in Hanoi, Vietnam
Some of my best thinking has occurred lately while waiting for buses. I don’t know what it is about the bus stop but my mind just seems to wander off in all sorts of directions. At least for a while before snapping back to the issue at hand; the buses.
Random thought #1
Why don’t we hear about millionaires flying a helicopter to the summit of Everest to take a selfie? I have no doubt whatsoever there are legions of them with more money than sense that would jump at the chance no matter the cost. It would certainly seem like an easier and less dangerous way to top out on the world’s highest peak than struggling up oxygen-deprived snow-clad slopes that are peppered with the frozen bodies of dead climbers.
Random thought #2
Who was the evil genius that took the alarm tone from an airliner’s crash avoidance system and planted it into a washing machine? Given the volume and urgency, it must surely be one and the same. Quite why you have to jump up and switch off your washing machine within five seconds of it ending its cycle is beyond me. It’s not like anything bad will happen if you choose to finish your cup of tea first. It’s not like your washing is going to hurtle into a mountainside at 800 mph.
Random thought #3
Not so much of a random thought is why when Hanoibus is trying to encourage more people onto public transport did they think that replacing their existing fleet with buses that have five fewer seats was a good idea?
The old red, yellow and white smokers have 25 seats while the new xe buyt chim xanh (bluebird buses) only have 20 (I have counted) albeit they have more standing room, very welcome extra headroom and space to park a couple of wheelchairs. Presumably, there is a concealed ramp because there is an almighty step up to get a wheelchair user on to the bus.
Random thought #4
I am also awaiting with interest developments with the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project and the so-called bus lanes operating along the route from Kim Ma bus station to Yen Nghia bus station. Unless they fit snowploughs onto the front of the buses to clear the way I suspect no one is going to pay a blind bit of attention. The only way to keep other traffic out of bus lanes is to fit cameras along the way and fine offenders. I was once fined thirty pounds for momentarily straying into a bus lane in Glasgow one Sunday night at 9pm, a time of night when there was hardly any traffic on the road let alone buses. Still, I learnt my lesson even though it was my sister-in-law’s car I was driving at the time and she got the bill.
Random thought #5
Talking of the new blue buses, it seems to me, as a passenger with no first-hand experience behind the wheel admittedly, that the new hardware is a touch underpowered. Also, the brakes seem fierce compared to the brakes on the old fleet. Maybe they take a bit of getting used to. In the meantime, we, the passengers, are getting jolted around a lot on wibbly-wobbly suspension. I think that’s the correct terminology.
On the plus side, the seats are moulded and relatively comfortable, and you don’t slide around like the old bench seats.
Random thought #6
What’s going on with the colour scheme? It looks like the familiar red, yellow and white is being phased out to be replaced with blue buses. Or maybe not. The airport shuttle bus is orange. And the new BRT fleet is green, white and light blue. While the Transerco Hanoibus website is doing its best to incorporate all the colours on its home page.
Well, that’s totally clear from a branding point of view.