Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles


September 30, 2008

Adventures in Stupidity – part 2

Filed under: How it works,What the...? — Kaddee @ 10:30 am

Transport-stupidity

After my nearly-aneurysm-inducing meeting with the Bb specialists, I decided it was time to go home. New Campus is in the middle-of-nowhere-Sahara-Desert. My commute is between 1 hour 15 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes EACH WAY. It is Ramadan, so there are only 3 scheduled departures from NC to my neighborhood. However there are hourly shuttles to the old campus in downtown. I could bear no more, so I decided to take the shuttle.

I boarded a nearly full bus, which rapidly completed filling. Departure time was scheduled for 3:30pm. The bus was full by 3:10 or so. There were other buses also filling for the 3:30 run, so our driver departed once his bus was full. This has been standard practice for the last 3 weeks, as long as there are other buses to take passengers up until the scheduled departure time.

We had driven for about 15 to 20 minutes, the traffic was not too bad, and we were nearly at the Ring Road which leads to Cairo when the driver’s phone rang. He had to pull over to answer, as it is now a LE500 fine for talking on the phone while driving. After the call, he pulled a U-turn and started to drive BACK TO NEW CAMPUS!

Needless to say, much chaos ensued – all in Arabic. What was finally translated to me, by a student who was on the bus, was that the driver had left before the scheduled time and the dispatcher was going to reprimand him for it by making him return to NC!!! We tried calling the dispatcher from the bus to explain that if we returned to NC, the bus would ARRIVE there after the scheduled departure time – making the bus now LATE. We tried to explain that the bus was FULL, so in returning we could not take any other passengers. We tried to explain that people on the bus have other scheduled appointments in downtown that will be missed or severely delayed if we returned to NC. We tried to explain that this was an egregious waste of gasoline, time and resources. The dispatcher didn’t care – he must assert his authority and reprimand the driver.

So we returned to NC. When we arrived, I got off the bus to “have a few words” with the dispatcher. Of course, he spoke no English, or would not admit to speaking English. I asked for his supervisor’s mobile number, but, not surprisingly, it was turned off when I called. There were no English speakers available from the transport company to explain the rationale for why the bus had been turned around.

And the bus sat. Full of people with plans and destinations. The bus sat.

I eventually managed to get a seat on the 4:30pm bus to my neighborhood. The 3:30 shuttle bus, which had been brought back to NC was STILL SITTING THERE WHEN I LEFT AT 4:30pm.

I went to the transportation company’s website to lodge a complaint. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but when I clicked on the “Comment/Complaint” button I got a “404″ error. I had to laugh out loud. That pretty much sums it up.

1 Comment

  1. I have never been so glad that Hubby was away on business. He would have been on that bus and it would have become very ugly, very quickly.

    I have one word for you – mutiny! As much fun as starring in “Mutiny in the Desert” would be, i’m afraid that the current new campus “hiccups” are slowly leading everyone in that direction. *le sigh*

    Comment by Typ0 — September 30, 2008 @ 11:45 am

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