Bus conductor uses entertainment to win passengers
It’s hard to ignore the man hanging out of the door of a bus on the roads of Jamaica. The man, and very rarely woman, is someone people know as the conductor or ‘ductor’. Their energy is always ‘up’, there is a little comedy involved and oftentimes passers-by may catch two or more of these in-the-street entertainers in a little fuss with each other.
“We might fight one another fi di money and work, but a just part a di game of being a ‘ductor,” said Odela ‘Plug Head’ Whyte in an interview with THE STAR.
Whyte has been working as a conductor for 10 years, and says he is licensed to do the job.
“Mi love mi work. It one and off. This moment you get a bus and the next you don’t have one. You just have to know how to look at the system. If me don’t get a bus, wah mi a go do, jus’ sit down without work? No sah, mi have to look a next bus,” Whyte said.
As a licensed conductor, Whyte currently works on buses that travel from Waterhouse in St Andrew to downtown Kingston 81 route.
“Pon a big man level, mi love collect,” he said. “If yuh a build a house, you have to be dedicated from the foundation right up to the roof or it nah go do properly. What I mean is, you can’t tell yuhself you’re doing something and it doesn’t entice you,” he said.
Whyte is very dedicated to his job, and he also places much emphasis on entertaining his passengers.
“Entertainment is all a part of conductor work. If you don’t have speech and talking to win the passenger, as a conductor, you going lose. It come in like artiste work, you have to have lyrics and dubplates fi chat in har ears fi tek har weh from a next ‘ductor,” Whyte said.
“For instance, you walking with a ductor comfortable, and next thing you a hear is ‘don’t go with him because him arm green and mek the bus smell bad’. Nuh care what happen, I am going to block him door.”
Whyte explained that the bus driver or owner gives the conductors goals to reach each day, which includes making enough money for fuel, lunch and the general profit.
With that being the goal, he said it is only natural that the conductors will get very competitive.
“It look like bad mind, but a jus’ everybody a try mek it. But yuh nah go hear none a we war and kill each other because when passengers gone, a me and the next ‘ductor a hol’ a vibe,” Whyte said. “If any bus worker dead, a we feel it. Last Christmas, one bus get rob, and the whole a wi did waan strike.”