A chicken bus (Spanish: "camioneta", "canastera" or "trambilla", the latter a hypercorrection of "tranvía") is a colloquial English name for a colorful, modified and decorated bus that transports goods and people between communities in various Latin American countries, especially Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama. The base vehicle is usually a retired North American school bus on a light or medium truck chassis. The word "chicken" may refer to the fact that the buses are often crammed with passengers not unlike a truck load of chickens, or to the fact that Central Americans occasionally transport live animals on such buses–a practice that visitors from other countries often find remarkable.
Often two young men will partner in the operation of a bus, one of whom will have his license, while the other dubs himself the ayudante or "helper". The ayudante is responsible for passengers and luggage, collecting money, and organizing the suitcases, livestock, or produce, etc. onto the roof of the bus–often while in motion. Loudly announcing destinations the bus is reaching is also a responsibility.
Some buses sport vibrant paint including the bus's name and permanent route. Such forms of transport are completely stuffed with passengers (whenever possible) and then hard-driven to their destinations at top speed.
Antigua, Guatemala, 2014
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