Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get On The Bus

As anyone who has ever been to the New York Port Authority Terminal in New York City at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue knows, there is a lot of business to be done at a bus stop. This is also the case in the Dominican Republic, although to a less grandiose scale. This is especially true at bus stops around the intersections of Duarte, Paris, Ravelo and Jose Marti streets in downtown Santo Domingo.

All around the bus stops, small businesses provide services for passengers and everything from candy to haircuts are on hand, so that nobody travels without "something for the folks" or a nice haircut. Food is prominent among the offerings, with fried, artery-clogging salamis, meat and plantains on the one hand, and crackers and cheese for the less hungry. Diet-conscious travelers can get fruits of many different kinds. These informal businesses, including the ever-present shoeshine boys who can earn as much as RD$500 a day, represent at least 50% of all business done in the Dominican Republic and employ 55% of all workers.

According to Listin Diario, many of the businesses at the bus stop on Duarte and Paris streets have been there for more than a decade, and they protect their space with an informal organization that recognizes each person's patch and type of business. This vibrant activity is what gives "life" to what is otherwise just an ordinary bus stop.


Anonymous said...

Duarte and Paris.. is that where you catch the bus to Boca Chica and elsewhere, near that park??

Anonymous said...

That would be it. Very busy area and I love it!