In Trinidad and Tobago, maxi-taxis are one of the major types of public transportation. The main hub called City Gate is located in the capital city of Port of Spain, where maxi-taxis from the different regions in the country gather. Rush hour at City Gate can literally become a ‘jungle’ where huge crowds gather at the different platforms to their destinations.
In my book, The Time Manipulator’s Son, I captured some of the typical daily activities and events that take place at City Gate, including the classification of the maxi-taxis and special characteristics unique to them. I also incorporated rush hour and the various tactics used by passengers to secure seats. Having used this system, I was always intrigued by the operations of this system and the diverse group of people that used it. Below is a small excerpt from the book of a parallel existence of City Gate at a town called Celtero inhabited by aliens. There two boys visit the hub for the first time:
Red-bands provided transportation to the east of the island, brown to the south, green worked the central route, and yellow the west. The bigger maxi-taxis seated twenty-four passengers, and the smaller ones, known as bread-vans, seated ten. The maxi-taxis worked mostly in the rural areas of the island. Loud music could be heard blasting from inside some to them. Written across the tops of some of the windscreens in colourful, scripted fonts, were catchy names. The shuttles were lined up by colour. A biclopse driving a red-band named Shock Wave honked his horn repeatedly for Daniel and Benardo to move out of the way. He drove down to the back of the station, turned, and parked at the back of the line with the other red-bands.
Hustlers moved fervently back and forth to muster passengers. An unkempt, young flykind with missing feathers on his left arm approached them. “Family, whey all yuh heading?” he asked, scrutinizing them from head to toes.
The flykind laughed. “That is what we call people we doh know. It’s just an expression.” Three more scruffy people enclosed on them. One was a young steamhound with bloodshot eyes; another was a brown-eyed inni with a comb perched on the left side or his purple hair. The third hustler was a middle-aged flykind with a huge scar across his right cheek. He smiled. Two of his front teeth were missing.
The appearance of the four hustlers terrified them. Benardo hid partially behind Daniel. Daniel found it very difficult for the words to come out of his mouth but finally said, “We need to get to Celtoro.”
“Nah! Dah’s noh we,” said the first hustler. The others left in pursuit of other passengers. The flykind placed his two index fingers in his mouth and whistled. “Yoh, Dougla!” he shouted. A tall, young, dark-skinned earthling standing next to a green-band with the name Dougla turned around. “These two youth men going your way!” Dougla waved his right hand back and forth, indicating that they should approach him.
The Time Manipulator’s Son is now available at: http://tinyurl.com/TTMS-P