I bet most parents in the United States don’t know that the iconic yellow school buses they send their children to school on could one day end up as public transportation in Central America.
The buses to and from Granada, Nicaragua and neighboring villages and towns didn’t speed recklessly like those in Panama City, which are known as Red Devils. But, like Panama, most were ornately repainted and often named after a Catholic saint. Some still had former school districts printed on the side like an out of date tattoo. Tweety Bird stickers are also a popular form of adornment in both countries.
Crammed into seats that once seemed large, we waited for the bus to fill up before it departed. Throughout the ride the assistant to the driver held expertly folded money between his fingers in a fan like formation to separate the different denominations while he collected fares.
Granada’s public buses are located close the central market in unpaved lots that would be easy to miss when no buses are waiting. The transportation is a cost effective and relatively easy way to travel to neighboring villages and towns. A ride about an hour out of town cost 11 cordobas, about 50 U.S. cents.