Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

Sunday Morning Photograph June 26 2022: Diablo Rojos in Panama.

Adios, Diablo Rojo.

Known as the Diablo Rojo in Spanish — which translates into English as Red Devil — the most legendary form of transportation via bus in the largest city in Panama was comprised of a massive fleet of former school buses from the United States which had been repurposed as a cheap yet noisy mode of public transportation after being painted in hodgepodge of flashy colors and usually cram packed with passengers who could not escape the sultry humid air inside the behemoths, which were not air conditioned…

Sunday Morning Photograph June 26 2022: Diablo Rojos in Panama.

Panama City Bus
Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

…but because of the fairly recent implementation of both the modern MetroBus system and a new Metro rail system — both of which are not privately owned — fewer of those classic buses exist to the point at which they have become uncommon enough that even though you might be lucky to still see a few of them plying through the congested streets of Panama City, you likely will not have the opportunity to ride as a passenger on one of them.

Panama City Bus
Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

Still, I had a chance to photograph them from the window of my hotel room when I stayed in Panama City — the name of the bus is proudly displayed both in the window and near the rear of the vehicle, which was hideously decorated in the unique style of the owner — and although the photographs are admittedly not exactly the best ones I have ever taken, they are a record of what seems to be a dying mode of transportation in that city. Some residents would argue that one part of their culture is fading along with the eventual extinction of these buses.

Panama City Bus
Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

The paint styles of the buses which are featured in these photographs are mild compared to the ones which also sport all sorts of flashing lights, as I was not fortunate enough to capture the buses which adorned more outlandish exteriors.

Final Boarding Call

Panama City Bus
Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

I did not have the opportunity to ride as a passenger on one of those former school buses in Panama City — but I did get to ride on a Jeepney in Manila, of which my experience is documented in this article, as the concept is generally similar.

Please click here for a complete list of the Sunday Morning Photograph series of articles at The Gate, which include photographs taken of nature and sights of interest in many countries around the world — including but not limited to:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Kenya
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • United States
  • Uruguay

All photographs ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

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