A day on the city bus

Windhoek’s public buses are not for the faint at heart, as one will come to learn because you will need to be able to elbow your way through a bus crowd to find a chair on time.

The ride on the bus is exactly as one would imagine, you will be required to run for the bus and stand at bus station under harsh weather.

You cannot get on the bus without your N$7 dollars or your card because the driver will not take any other type of payment.

Yes, you cannot pay your way onto the city bus with three pieces of chappie bubble gum and a packet of Simba chips.

The buses would become crowded depending on the time of day, and were you a riding from.

This service provided by the city which is paid for by subscription card or cash transport people from the farthest places in the formal settlements to other parts of town where the city has erected bus stops.

Honestly, I have used public transport before on which it felt like I was part of a herd of cattle that was being transported to the slaughterhouse but that experience has not been as bad as taking the Otjomuise municipal bus.

It was not just the noisy chatter from the passengers that made this trip such an unforgettable experience but inconvenience of taking a trip to space and back before reaching your destination.

Indeed our city transport system will need half a century to become anything close to Cape Town’s city buses.

In the blinding light of October afternoon, the heat leaked at everyone’s sunburned faces while rushing and running to catch the bus that might just drive off before you get to the door.

It was round about 17h25 in the afternoon when everyone flocked to the Bus entrance door pushing each other and squeezing towards the bus door just to try and get sitting space.

As I stood in the queue trying to figure out how the whole process works and whether I am getting on the right bus, I had to ask the woman in front of me where this bus stops in Otjomuise, hoping for a bus stop closer to my house.

I was in luck because that ride took me closer to my doorstep.

At 17h55 everyone had finally found a seat or a spot to stand in. Again the inside of the bus does not ooze of comfortability or a delightful, as you are met by dirty floors and seat of questionable safety.

But of course, the bus will eventually take off. However, this does not mean that the bus will not make small stops and odd places to pick up more people to pile onto one another.

After what will seem like a thousand stops, the bus will finally make its way through Katutura before finally getting to Otjomuise. When I finally got off the bus, it was 19h00, and I was looking at the city’s bright lights.

This is the price you have to pay to save N$3.

Regardless of the torture, you would have to endure on a daily basis. There will be people around you who live on the outskirts of the city who are still thankful for such city services for allowing them to get to work and back home in one piece.