The Racing Bus Driver of Minsk
S he gave me change for what I paid for the bus fare to return to the airport so that I can catch a flight to Warsaw. I was about to leave Minsk; and I boarded the route 300Э bus in the central bus station, which is hidden underneath a shopping mall adjacent to the central train station.
As is my preference, I sat in a window seat as I placed my bag on the rack. I was on the side of the driver so that I may watch the world go by.
When I arrived in Minsk, I rode as a passenger in a vehicle the size of a minivan to the city from the airport — and it was not very fast; so I figured that this large bus would be even slower and take forever to lumber its way to the airport…
…or so I thought.
The Racing Bus Driver of Minsk
The bus left the station and barely missed the red light as it swung a wide left turn to get to the main boulevard known as either праспект Незалежнасці in Belarusian; проспект Независимости in Russian; or Praspiekt Niezaliezhnasci — all known in English as Independence Avenue — and once it reached it and headed northeast, all bets were off.
At first, I was able to observe other motorists. A woman was on her portable electronic device and doing something else while negotiating her car, which was beat up on the outside; but emulating a control center on the inside which seemed to boast electronic equipment with the latest in technology. A man was delivering some boxes in another vehicle, looking bored as he sat in traffic…
…but the bus was only ramping itself up. The cars and their motorists became more of a blur as the bus plied down that right lane. One car drifted precariously close to the right lane — so much so that I thought that the exterior mirror on the passenger side of the car was literally a couple of inches from being history.
When another car unexpectedly darted into the right lane in front of the speeding behemoth, I really thought the bus was going to plow it into oblivion. Instead, the driver blasted the horn as the bus screeched to a stop and just missed annihilating that car. People and things flew forward, as the inertia could not be ignored…
…but that was only a temporary setback. Within seconds, the bus was back to its fast and furious full throttle. It barreled through yellow lights like a hot knife through butter; and it even zipped by police cars with no hesitation — as though the bus driver were impervious to any potential consequences.
I was beginning to really like this bus driver. He was leaving fellow motorists — and the city centre of Minsk itself — in the dust.
There was only one stop on the way to the airport; but even then, the bus was not even close to full capacity in terms of passengers or luggage…
…and not long after that, much of the remainder of the trip was using Highway M2, which is a limited-access highway — and during that portion of the trip, we passed a landmark which caught my eye and I recognized: the Mound of Glory, which is a memorial complex created in 1969 on the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus during Operation Bagration. It honors soldiers of the Soviet Union who fought during World War II.
I am surprised the photograph was not blurrier, considering the speed at which the bus was going at the time I took the picture.
Despite the heavy foot of the bus driver pressing the pedal to the metal, I still recommend allotting three hours to get from central Minsk to the airport…
…although I will take the word of Vadim — who is a reader of The Gate and posted that “I’ve been using Minsk airport for a long time. And from my experience, 2 hours are enough. It came from the formula:
- “a registration is closing in 40 minutes before a flight time
- “the fastest trip to the airport takes from 40 minutes (from the city center)
- “40 minutes as buffer for the trip”
All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.