kaar-rapide

kaar-rapide: painted bus, a common form of Senegalese public transportation

Today we took a kaar-rapide to the Plage de Ngor, a beach up north. While a cab would cost 2000 CFA, a trip on a kaar-rapide is only 100 CFA per person—a real bargain!

A kaar-rapide is easy to spot, as they are painted in brilliant colors and intricate designs. Usually packed with people, they come screeching up to a halt beside the curb, a young man (or two) hanging out the back of the bus, the doors swinging open as the vehicle careens around the city. The young man hanging off the back yells the destination, and you tell him where you want to go. If it’s along the way, he’ll nod, and you hop on. The buses are packed with seats, rows and rows squeezed into the tiny space. The young man sticks his head inside—seen paas, your fares, he says, holding out a bag that jangles with coins. When you reach your destination, the young man on the back of the bus bangs the roof—blam blam blam—and the bus jerks to a halt, you crawl over the other passengers, and you’ve arrived!

The Senegalese kaar-rapide, I will say, is quite an experience.

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