BODY LANGUAGEBus route gestures: Taiz roundabout [Archives:2006/1006/Culture]

December 11 2006

Nisreen Shadad
Driving a Yemeni bus and calling riders to get on is slightly problematic because buses have numerous routes, but often use the same departure point.

In order for riders to communicate with bus drivers, Yemenis created gestures and signs that easily refer to where buses are going. In the past, illiterate men dominated as bus drivers, so both drivers and riders needed a way to communicate with each other. Once citizens became more educated, the bus's direction was written on its front, as well as coloring certain routes red, yellow or green.

Regarding the gestures Taiz roundabout bus drivers and riders use, they move their forefinger in a circular manner to indicate that they're going to Al-Da'iri (circle) Street. “We gesture in such a way to indicate the name of the street, Al-Da'iri,” bus driver Ahmed Ali Morshid explains. However, fellow bus driver Ali Abdulrahman Sa'ad disagrees, “This gesture is due to the circular roundabouts the bus driver must navigate.”

Nowadays, gestures to determine a bus's direction have begun disappearing because it can be recognized by the bus's sign color, as well as the name written on its front. For example, the Taiz roundabout bus route is green. Its point of departure is Al-Hadeeqa (the garden) and its last stop is the new Sana'a University.

This is the first in a series about Yemeni bus gestures.