There was once a time when the public transport in this country was chaotic, and differentiating a public minibus from a private one was one daunting task. I cannot remember the number of private buses I waved down, only for the driver to give me a disgusting stare. The reality was we just could not tell them apart. Thankfully, sanity was brought to our roads when it became mandatory for all local public transport to be primarily painted blue. However, the days of the blue minibus are numbered.
|Goodbye Blue Bus|
The eulogies for the blue public transport began to be written the moment the Government announced that they were phasing away the blue and replacing it with a strip. Yes that is correct a strip, different coloured strip for each province. What on earth was wrong with the blue in the first place? Well the explanation was that it was costly for bus operators to repaint their buses. In as much as this may be a valid point, my understanding is that when you go into a business you should have already calculated the costs of operation. Therefore, repainting the buses blue should be one of those costs. Besides this is a one off cost and it is not like it is an annual renewal.
I do not consider myself to be change averse; I like change that is good. I am against changing a good thing that has been working so well for so long. It is like the sayings goes, “Do not change a winning formula,” or “Do not reinvent the wheel.” You can spot a blue bus kilometres away, now try spotting strip kilometres away. Good luck with that. The blue was such a uniform colour that, all you had to tell a foreign visitor is any bus painted blue is public transport. It was so easy and hassle free. We must now brace ourselves to witness a kaleidoscope of colours that will be zooming our roads. I’m imagining what Kulima Tower Bus Station will look like in a few months’ time because from what I have seen so far things don’t look good.
In my opinion, the major reason this change is happening is because blue is the colour of the once ruling government Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). They imposed the colour blue at the time because that was their party colour. These are some of the problems we face when governments think that they will rule forever. I reckon that if, green was chosen none of this would have happened because green would have been a neutral colour. Now we public transport users are at the mercy of the bus owners and their wild colour combinations and a strip.
I will not put out my verdict on the strip just as yet, but I am having strong inclinations that our roads will not be an impressive sight. I do not think I would have been the least bothered if the decision was to have another neutral block colour like yellow, brown, green or even purple for all I care. It needed to be something visible and easy to spot. I understand that painting the buses may be costly but I think that is one sacrifice that bus owners would have just had to accept to save us from the rainbow bus chaos that might be headed our way.
Do you think the change was necessary?