Guatemala part V - Chicken buses


Advertisement
Published: April 24th 2016
Edit Blog Post

Chicken busChicken busChicken bus

They are very photogenic

Why are the buses in Guatemala called Chicken Buses?





The Guatemalan buses, also known as Chicken Buses, are a bit interesting. Therefore I have dedicated to dedicate an entire blog entry to them. As a bonus they are also very photogenic so the pictures which accompany the text are pretty good. Making it possible to upload photos and make them available to our friends and relatives was the main purpose when we started this blog in 2006. So in line with our original plan with the blog we now post 26 pictures of Guatemalan buses.



In the USA they have buses dedicated solely for transporting school children. They are yellow and they have the words "School Bus" written on them. The regulations for the school buses requires the authorities to replace the school buses after either 10 years or after they have logged 150,000 miles on the odometer, whatever comes first. When the school buses are retired many of them are sold to buyers in Guatemala. The buses are then renovated, refitted with new engines and, this is what makes them picturesque, they are styled so they get a completely new look. A new and
Chicken busChicken busChicken bus

The Guatemalan buses, also known as Chicken Buses, are a bit interesting
in most cases very colorful look.



The buses are OK as transport. For me, being close to two meters tall, they are a bit tight and the owners don't hesitate to fill up the vehicles with far more passengers than they were designed for when they were used to ship kids to and from school so sometimes the ride can be a bit rough. But that is all part of the fun and one the reasons I love to travel in the first place.



The buses are known as chicken buses. Although Wikipedia indicates that the name "chicken bus" might be used in Spanish too I believe only foreigners call the buses that. I could be wrong there though.



I began this blog entry with the question "Why are the buses in Guatemala called Chicken Buses?". I have no idea why but Wikipedia claims two possible origins of that nickname:

• either it is because the buses often takes many passengers which makes them very crowded and a person onboard might feel just like a chicken on a truck transporting poultry

• or the word chicken might have its
Chicken busChicken busChicken bus

The regulations for the US school buses requires them to be replaced after 10 years. When the school buses are retired many of them are sold to buyers in Guatemala.
origin in the fact that locals have been known to transport live chicken on the buses.



Now it is time to wrap up this blog entry and what better way to do that than with the lyrics to the song "Magic Bus"



"Magic Bus (The Who)

Every day I get in the queue (Too much, Magic Bus)
To get on the bus that takes me to you (Too much, Magic Bus)
I'm so nervous, I just sit and smile (Too much, Magic Bus)
Your house is only another mile (Too much, Magic Bus)

Thank you, driver, for getting me here (Too much, Magic Bus)
You'll be an inspector, have no fear (Too much, Magic Bus)
I don't want to cause no fuss (Too much, Magic Bus)

But can I buy your Magic Bus (Too much, Magic Bus)"


Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 24


Advertisement

Chicken busChicken bus
Chicken bus

The buses are then renovated, refitted with new engines and they are styled so they get a completely new look.
Chicken busChicken bus
Chicken bus

The buses are OK as transport albeit a bit tight
Chicken busChicken bus
Chicken bus

The owners of the chicken buses don't hesitate to fill up the vehicles with far more passengers than they were designed for when they were used as school buses
Chicken busChicken bus
Chicken bus

Why are the buses in Guatemala called Chicken Buses? One possible origins of that nickname is that the buses often takes many passengers which makes them very crowded and a person onboard might feel just like a chicken on a truck transporting poultry
Chicken busChicken bus
Chicken bus

Why are the buses in Guatemala called Chicken Buses? One possible origins of that nickname is that locals have been known to transport live chicken on the buses
Chicken bus - unstyledChicken bus - unstyled
Chicken bus - unstyled

Most of the chicken buses have been renovated and given a new design. But this bus has not so it still says "School Bus" on the side of it
Chicken bus - different styleChicken bus - different style
Chicken bus - different style

This bus looks different than the other buses. I can't tell if it was a school bus once or not
Chicken bus - different styleChicken bus - different style
Chicken bus - different style

This bus looks different than the other buses. I can't tell if it was a school bus once or not


24th April 2016

I love them! They are colorful like the buses & trucks in India! Although not colorful, the local buses that serve the villages (vs the urban ones) in Mexico are called chicken buses by tourists because there's often a passenger or two with a live chicken in a cage on their way to market or from the market. Many locals prefer their chickens live when they buy them. I love riding them as It's an ideal way to bond with the locals ;o)
24th April 2016
Chicken bus

Where's the seat?
These colorful cheapies are the buses I always rode in Guatemala. They would pack people in so tightly that someone "sat" in the aisle, held up just by the pressure from the those packed into the seats on the sides. I never knew that 10-year rule about our school buses-very interesting, and handy for poorer countries. Love your photos of these 'magic buses.'
24th April 2016

Where school buses go to Heaven
Another Ake first...a Chicken Bus blog! Fantastic pics and my favourite Who song to sing it by..."I don't care how much I pay. Magic bus, Magic bus. I want it, I want it, I want it...I said I now got my magic bus...Each time I go a different way...Magic bus"...aaah!
25th April 2016

Chicken Buses
Nice photo collection and love the idea of a blog tribute to the chicken bus.
1st May 2016

I know why
I travelled through central America a lot back when I was in my twenties. Oh jeez, is that almost 30 years ago? Anyways, we started calling the public buses 'chicken buses' because most of the locals had at least one chicken on the bus with them, mostly on their laps (chickens were considered currency back in those days) so they would take a chicken into town to buy maize or to trade for something else. I think they would even pay their bus fare with a chicken because the driver or his fare taker always seemed to have a couple. Those chickens would walk up and down the aisle. There were never windows, for air conditioning and the seats weren't always bolted to the floor, so in sudden stops you had to use your feet to brace. The buses back then were even more run down, but the bus drivers would polish them and decorate them up to get people to ride them. Crazy tourists like me thought chicken buses were the best experiences of our lives!
1st May 2016

Thanks for the wonderful comment
Thank you. Wonderful story you gave us. So now we know for sure that the name comes from poultry being transported on board the vehicles (and you were one of them who came up with the name! How cool is that!?!). /Ake

Tot: 1.093s; Tpl: 0.139s; cc: 17; qc: 34; dbt: 0.0246s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb