Almost live: my first ‘car-cast’ from the streets of Amman. I was ‘inspired’ by the recent announcement that petrol prices will be raised again in Jordan very soon, and an ad in the paper that potrays taking the bus as ‘uncool’, to talk about public transportation and the state of busses in Amman.

Listen here in MP3 (16 min 8 sec/ 5.6 MB).

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6 responses to “MixUp Arabia episode 6: Car-cast on busses and public transporation in Amman”

  1. Saqf Avatar

    When I saw the ad a week ago or so, I couldn’t but swear on the “creative” person that came up with the concept AND the one that signed on the final draft! How shameful and how offensive it was!

    As for the public transportation, this is what we exactly need, a functional network that would cover almost all areas, because Amman is neither a pedestrian friendly city nor a bicycle friendly one.
    Though I read on Roba’s blog that they will work on a bicycle lane in the near future.

    As you mentioned, in stead of spending so much money on tunnels and bridges to solve traffic jam problems, reduce the cars in the street by providing a practical transportation network that would work for “everyone”.

  2. Ameen Malhas Avatar
    Ameen Malhas

    Hi Ahmad, quick comment, I just got my new PowerBook and I’m resubscribing to my podcasts. I noticed that yours doesn’t have Artwork . Cover Image associated with it. It would be cool to listen to it with a little image on my nano.


  3. nasimjo Avatar

    Thanx for the nice & interesting Podcast ahmad… I wonder why readers try to avoid discussing & commenting on society-culture based issues,this post/podcast as an example..

    anyway,about Public transportation..its mainly a problem in our culture,(GENERALIZING A LIL BIT MAYBE!), I said generalizing because in my University I know many people who have their own cars & still use public transportation coming to the Uni,despite some wholes existing in our University’s public transportation lines because 1 of the lines is not organized any more as it once was,but new a Service will be provided soon.

    so we still have this kind of thinking that the Bank Ad you talked about simply represents it.

    I wanna talk about stuff that u didnt in our cast:

    1st, about those new Low buses,actually there are 5 such buses working now in town,mainly on my Hashemite Uni both lines & the medical City Line.. the specifications required for the bids arent at all as those who want to dominate the new lines claimed in their article.. those arent neither “impossible” nor “Options” as they called them impossible options, simply because all European Bus Manif make those specifications as STANDARDS nowadays in their Buses, All European Buses have ABS,ecological norms Euro 2-3-4 & newly 5 (I guess Euro 2 wont be manif now even in Eastern European countries),low level,wide spaces for standing,decleration of stopping the bus,,etc.
    maybe the only options are A/C & GPS Systems…But seems those care only about their money & not helping the community with quality

    2nd,part of the negative transportation culture is standing in buses,i guess no1 knows in this country that those Urban Buses (The 1s with ads on them) for in-town urban transportation where actually made for standing! Those buses have specialized stnading holders & special ground surface. Not only this but they’re Licensed to have 40 on seats & 40 standing for example.. In Europe some urban buses have even 10-15 seats & the rest of the bus is wide space for standing & for baby-carts & people with special needs, the difference is that in europe if a control person or a policeman gets into the bus & sees a helthy wealthy person sitting while an old person or a woman with a baby standing,he will hit the person sitting with a just in time FINE. & not as it’s here where guys stand for chicks to sit down!

    I guess we are a kind of a nation who wants to be over rested & if they stand,many of them stand on the way of the doors not letting others to come in & out from the bus.

    3rd, about the available public transportation in Amman as a city & a capital.. its Good,no not fair but even good! But people dont care to get interested about it…unlike all of the other Jordanian Cities,& even all other Arab Capitals, amman has the best public transportation at the moment compared with those mentioned above,there are route to each & every point & place in Amman,again,in europe buses dont pick you from your front door & moves you to your companies elevator,,,learn to walk a lil bit! Urban Buses have certain schedules on leaving the terminal,but we still need a schedule on arriving to distination,, & this wont be able to happen with each & every person stopping the bus each & a while to get down exactly at his house’ gate.. learn to stop the bus & stand waiting the bus at the bus stops not just where ever you want,its ironically laughable seeing people stopping the bus before the Circel & after it as well,like if they cant walk 20m,what a shame!

    4th,yes we need a lil bit of more scheduling,no stopping but at the bus stop,having controls in buses(More because there are),some control on the bus stops(What a shame for those people breaking the glass & giving bus stops a hard time),generalizing the Urban bus experience,limitin those crazy Mini COASTER buses to areas where urban buses are hard to get thru,limiting shared-Car service to areas very hard to reach & get thru.

    5th & final,about the Amman-Zarqa project,Respect,finally this project is seeing light,i guess it will be kinda “istanbul style urban underground” where it will be over ground outside the city & underground inside it. I’ve read the other day in the news paper that it will be Zarqa-Raghadan as a 1st step,extended to Abdali & then to Sweileh as a 2nd & 3rd Step (Raghadan – Abdali really needs to be underground) & finally (Raghadan- QAIAirport) as the 4th & final step… “typically istanbulish ;)

    thanx again for openning this subject Ahmad

  4. Toujan Avatar

    Hi Ahmad,

    I have been out of town for the past ten days preparing for a move to Toronto (as Canadians put it, we are moving out of paradice into the center of the universe!)…

    Just wanted to thank you for this great idea. I am very much an audio visual person, so it suits me well :)

    I will go back to your previous casts and listen to them.
    Keep them coming :)

  5. Basem Avatar

    Salam Ahmed

    Excellent flawless cast… will; it was more like a radio show for me during a dull office evening!

    I believe the issue here is this; there is a cultural barrier that limits the prosperity & development of decent public transport medium, frankly it is because of the lack of demand by those who unwillingly commute using whatever means available! Even if an official body took the lead to develop… an English proverb dictates that “what the peasant doesn’t know, the peasant doesn’t need” The upcoming train service between Amman and Zarqa might prove me wrong, watch out for bus-routes mafia revenge!

    Elitist prospective, perhaps! but remember, the bulk of Jordanian public-transport commuters are the poor who have no choice but to ride the odd mini-bus, the suicide coaster buses or the steam-room main routes busses. Airport-Express which started as a decent, no-frills, spot-on route with visible bus stops and AirCon’ed cabins ended up (as I have last seen in summer’04) like any other bus operator, a last resort ride.

    I can assure you that many of the well-off circles of our society consider Taxis as a “public-transport” and would feel reluctant to send their kids with a cab! Further, this niche society that doesn’t even make it to the typical 20-80 ratio is causing jams and pollution in Jordan Amman in specific in disproportion to neither their size nor their contribution to the economy!

    The change will have to be systematically orchestrated between a well-rounded cultural makeover with the youth, and the facilitation of better, predictable and less perplexed public transportation medium to accommodate the newly refreshed youth who –by then- should consciously choose to hop on the bus instead of a private ride.

    In my previous job in Jordan, we had about 150 employees, 60 of which have cars and live in a 5km radius from the headquarters and end-up littering Mecca Street with their cars every morning and they stay parked until the close of business… I suggested that our company should setup a morning bus that starts about 7:00am and tours the surrounding neighbors –perhaps venture into other areas with dense number of employees- and have this as an incentive to the employee (basically a free ride), but NO They need their cars “just in case” and for the lunch break drive down to Mecca-Mall, and NO They can’t stand touring busses since the school days! and of course you have the fat-cats proving that there is no sound business case for it! Much for conscious-belonging and ethical distribution of jobs to those who actually need it…

    Enough of me!

  6. drivewatchlisten Avatar

    We just launched a site you may be interested in.
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