After the No.8 bus was voted the worst in Bangkok in the transport minister's Facebook survey, our writer takes a ride and finds the complaints are not entirely fair
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One of Bangkok's notorious number 8 buses makes a sharp turn to pick up passengers. Photos by Apichart Jinakul.
Fast and Furious 8
Life in the slow lane
I got on a No. 8 bus the other day expecting to experience what people have been talking about this past week – a nightmare Taking a seat at the back, I braced myself for some action – the sudden lurching off and slamming of brakes, cursing from the driver, yelling from the conductor pulling up at the wrong spots dropping passengers off in the middle of the road, and the speeding up and overtaking of other buses.
In short, I was looking for Fast and Furious set in Bangkok with the notorious No. 8 – voted the worst bus route in Bangkok for years, including a survey revealed last week – leading the urban race as it plies the route between Memorial Bridge and Happy Land in Bang Kapi district.
But five minutes later, the bus was pretty much where it was before. And even when the road was clear, this privately-run bus line was going ever so smooth and slow.
There's only one obvious explanation: the news of how it ranked as the bus line in most need of improvement in Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt's Facebook page survey has now rubbed off on the operators and the drivers have learned to take more care.
It's unlikely, however, that this sudden change of behaviour will put an end to the bad reputation it has notched up over the years.
A number 8 bus conductor says Bangkok traffic and undisciplined passengers are at fault too.
While the conductor was so nice to me even though I only had a 100-baht note for the 8 baht fare, another passenger I talked to had a different story to tell.
"The conductor was yelling at an old lady who got on the wrong bus," recounted Pratchaya Chaichana about some of his terrible experiences with this route "The bus would cut in front of all the cars from the far right lane to the bus stop on the left. The driver was smoking, too. I was sitting right behind him. It was hell "
As the road got a little clearer around Lat Phrao, the bus sped up a little. Quite a few times it went off swiftly to the right to overtake cars, and there were a couple of occasions when it didn't drop the passengers off properly at a bus stop. Still, it was a far cry from what a lot of people have been saying and there's a possibility that you'd need to ride in the early morning or late at night for the bus to live up to its notoriety
I got off in front of Big C Lat Phrao to wait and try the next bus. There are more than 70 non-air-conditioned No. 8 buses in all and it took no time for the next to arrive. The result, however, was quite the same. It was going a little fast but this was no different to other buses. Several times the bus cut off to the right to overtake cars before getting back to the left lane. It could appear reckless but you have to accept that it's the only alternative when there are always some cars, taxis and vans idling in the left lane, blocking the way.
Talking about the reasons behind Chadchart's survey results, a conductor who doesn't wish to be named assumed with a scornful laugh that people probably have too much time on their hands and they just use it to play Facebook.
''Other buses are doing the same thing but I don't see they get any complaints even though they use the far right lane to overtake other buses all the time,'' she said. ''We simply can't go straight when there are those taxis and vans parking. Sometimes the passengers are busy with their smartphones and they would ring the bell when the bus has already gone past the stop. We get complaints for stopping too suddenly and we get complaints for not dropping the passengers off properly.''
''We don't get salaries,'' says a bus driver. ''We get 10% of the ticket sales revenue while the conductor gets 5%.
''We don't get salaries,'' explained a driver who asked not to be named. ''We get 10% of the ticket sales revenue while the conductor gets 5%. If we get 5,000 baht a day, I only get 500 baht. There are more than 70 No. 8 buses, as well as plenty other buses from various lines. Think about how hard it is to get 5,000 a day at 8 baht a ticket. So when there's some bus about to take away our passengers, it's typical for us to try to overtake as well.''
''Just this morning I was stopped by the police twice even though I did absolutely nothing wrong,'' said Somboon Saengchai, another driver who is feeling hurt by the widely publicised result. ''There are about 50,000-60,000 people using No. 8 buses daily and who knows how many millions by the year. It's not right to use a few hundred votes as a criterion This is not fair.''
Read the full story here:http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/interview/365626/fast-and-furious-8-life-in-the-slow-lane
Learn from listening
Click "play" to listen to Bangkok's "worst" bus line: not THAT bad and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.
a far cry: a very different experience from something - แตกต่างกันมาก
absolutely: completely - โดยสิ้นเชิง, อย่างแน่นอน, อย่างแท้จริง
alternative: another choice - ทางเลือก, ตัวเลือก
appear: to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
assume: to accept something to be true without question or proof - ทึกทักเอา, คิดว่าเป็นจริง,
behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
block: to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
brace: to get ready for something unpleasant - เตรียมใจ
complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ
conductor: a person whose job is to collect money from passengers on a bus or check their tickets - คนขายตั๋วรถเมล์รถราง,คนกระเป๋า
couple: two - สอง
criterion: a standard or principle by which something is judged, or with the help of which a decision is made - เกณฑ์, บรรทัดฐาน
curse: to say magic words which are intended to bring bad luck to someone - สาปแช่ง
Fast and Furious: a series of American action films which centers on illegal street racing and thefts. -
fault: being the one to blame; blameworthy; the person who caused something bad to happen - ความผิด
hell: in some religions, the place where some people are believed to go after death to be punished forever for the bad things they have done during their lives - นรก
idle: not being used; not working - อยู่นิ่ง ไม่ให้บริการ
improvement: when something gets better or when you make it better - การปรับปรุง, การทำให้ดีขึ้น
live up to: to do as well as or be as good as other people expect you to - เป็นไปตามความคาดหวัง
lurch: to make a sudden, unsteady movement forward or sideways - เซไปเซมา, เซถลา, เอียงอย่างฉับพลัน
nightmare: an extremely unpleasant event or experience or possible event or experience; a very upsetting or frightening dream - ฝันร้าย
notch up: to achieve something - บันทึก, จดบันทึก
notoriety: the state of being famous for something bad - ชื่อเสียงในทางที่ไม่ดี
notorious: famous for something bad - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางไม่ดี
obvious: clear; easy to see, recognise or understand - ชัดเจน
occasion: a time at which something happens - ครั้ง, โอกาส
operator: a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
overtake: to go past a moving vehicle or person ahead of you because you are going faster than they are - ผ่านพาหนะอื่น,ไล่แซง, ตามทัน
ply: to make a regular journey over a particular area or route - เดินสาย วิ่งไปมา
possibility: the fact that something might exist or happen, but is not certain to - สิ่งที่เป็นไปได้
private: owned by a particular person or group - ของส่วนบุคคล, ของเอกชน
publicise: to make information about something generally available - เผยแพร่, ประกาศ
rank: to put someone or something into a position according to their success, importance, size etc - จัดลำดับ
reckless: not thinking about the possible bad effects of your actions - สะเพร่า
recount: to describe how something happened; to tell a story - เล่า, บรรยาย
reputation: the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง
reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
revenue: income from taxes or business activities - รายได้
route: the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly - เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.
rub off on: to become part of a person's character, especially in a good way, as a result of something that has happened, an experience, etc. - มีผลดีต่อ
salary: a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job - เงินเดือน
scornful: showing or feeling scorn, a strong feeling that somebody/something is stupid or not good enough, usually shown by the way you speak - เต็มไปด้วย (การดูถูก,การดูหมิ่น,การสบประมาท,การหัวเราะเยาะ)
sharp: sudden and rapid, especially of a change in something - ฉับพลัน, กะทันหัน
slam: to hit with great force - ชนเข้าอย่างแรง
spot: the particular place where someone or something is - ที่, สถานที่
suddenly: quickly and unexpectedly - อย่างกะทันหัน
survey: the act of examining and recording available information - การสำรวจ, การหาข้อมูล
swiftly: quick - อย่างรวดเร็ว
terrible: very bad, having a very poor quality - แย่มาก, ไม่ได้เรื่อง, ห่วย
typical: happening in the usual way; showing what something is usually like - ตามแบบฉบับ, ตามปกติ
undisciplined: lacking control and organisation; behaving badly - ซึ่งไม่มีระเบียบวินัย
urban: connected with towns and cities - เขตเมือง
yell: to say something in a loud voice, or to make a loud noise because you are angry, afraid, excited, or in pain - ตะโกน,ร้อง
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