Friday, January 6, 2012

Samoa vs NY -Public Tranportation

For the past few weeks I have escaped the heat of Samoa and have been visiting my parents and brother in NYC. I have learned there are a lot of differences between New York and Samoa which at some points might have gotten me confused......Here are some of the differences about public transportation.

The Staten Island ferry is always a smooth comfortable 30 minute boat ride. The Samoan ferries can often often make you feel a bit seasick. Depending on the boat, and the water conditions, the ride can be anywhere from 1-2 1/2 hours.

Colorful Samoan buses . Sleek looking buses in NYC.

About public transportation:
  • In Samoa the buses are amazing as the bus drivers "pimp their rides" and have it decorated in so many different ways from posters to flags, to a billion mirrors to anything else they can find. In New York, they are not decorated at all-except with the occasional poster letting you know about the holiday schedule.
  • In Samoa people don't worry about the bus timetable. They know about when it comes, and it might mean waiting outside for several hours, or maybe hitchhiking if you missed the last bus, but no one worries as they know they will find a way to get where they need to. In New York, people check the timetable religiously. They will make every effort to complain if the bus, train or ferry is even 5 minutes late.
  • In Samoa, there is a ferry schedule, however you never really know if there is a 10:00 or noon ferry, as one of them is always skipped and you might have to wait an extra two hours if you show up for the wrong ferry. In New York, ferries run 24/7 quite frequently so there SHOULD be no reason to complain.
  • In Samoa, if you see someone who is older you will give your seat up to them. Why would you want someone who you should respect look for a seat when you can find one in the back yourself. Fuggedaboutit in NY. Although there are signs saying for people to do it it is rarely done, only if the person is extremely old.
  • In Samoa the buses are made completely of wood, which can make for a soar bum for long trips. Often there is a screw digging into your side or knee, but you can usually get used to the indent there. In NY, the buses are completely modern and the seats are so comfortable-you can easily go to sleep on them.
  • In Samoa you get to enjoy wonderful (sometimes) music blasting on the bus making you want to stand up and dance. In NY, you have to provide your own music....and make sure there are headphones because otherwise there might be a fine.
  • In Samoa, if you run out of seats, people pull you around to have you sit on their laps. If you are already sitting, you start grabbing kids and babies, as they are much lighter to be on you that some adults. In New York, if you grabbed someone's baby you might get arrested. There is also no lap sitting on the bus. No people sitting 5 to a double seat...
  • In Samoa you will often hold things for other passengers. It may mean a bowl of soap, a bag of groceries, or more often than not a purse. In New York, if you grabbed someone's bag to help them out so it will not be on the floor they might smack you.
  • In Samoa, people go out of their way to sit next to you. Personal space does not exist. In New York if you sat directly next to someone, it will usually cause them to get up and look for another seat.
  • In Samoa, anywhere on the route is your bus stop, and the bus can stop 20 times in a 100 foot area. In New York, only use the designated bus stops.
  • In Samoa the taxi prices go off of a fare sheet and are predictable. In New York the meter never stops running!
  • In Samoa the taxis are all white. In NY the cabs are all yellow (except in outside boroughs).
  • In Samoa, if you forget something on the bus, the bus driver will try to get it back to you. In NY consider it lost forever.
  • In Samoa, you know everyone on the buses. In NY, you only know the people you are traveling with.
  • In Samoa, if you don't know a person on a bus, there is no fear in talking to them. In NY don't talk to strangers.
  • In Samoa the buses are used to transport things to stores and huge items to households. This may mean the floor of the bus is full or concrete, bags of rice, boxes of chicken, or have all the passengers helping to hold pvc piping out of the window. You can stop the bus driver and give him money to shop in the city for you. In NY, people travel light with only small personal items. Stores can get their own items and people need to find their own way to get to the store.
  • In Samoa the bus drivers assistant helps everyone around the bus with bags, making sure there is a seat, or a lap to sit on. In New York, you are on your own.
  • In Samoa the sides of each bus are decorated amazingly with funny phrases to let you know the difference between each bus. There is the Bon Jovi bus, the Beautiful Savai'i bus, The Forget Me Not bus, and so many more. In New York, the only difference between the the buses are the numbers letting you know the route.
  • In Samoa you sometimes have to worry about the status of your bus. There is always a chance it may break down. Sometimes it is a quick fix and the bus may just "be a little thirsty", other times you can be at the side of the road for longer. No matter what people don't leave the bus as they know the bus driver will tell them everything they need to do. In NY, people would be running off of the bus IF it did break down (they are in much better condition than Samoa). The only time I was on a bus that became inoperable, one of the wheels fell off and we got on a new bus within two minutes.
  • In Samoa the ferries carry cars back and forth. In NY because of terrorism (I think that was the original reason for stopping it), cars can not go on the boats. You need to take bridges and tunnels.
I am sure there are many more differences in transportation....but Samoa and NY differ quite a lot!


  1. These complete statements are really superb and I am also happy to visit us for reading this blog. Actually these types of blogs are good for any readers and I know other peoples are also glad for the same, so thanks for sharing this.

  2. So very true about our Samoa buses and community unity & hospitality :)