chicken bus

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hogareño

New Member
English - USA
Is there a Guatemalan Spanish translation for "chicken bus"? There was no previous thread on this, although on the web I read that for this they used to say "pollero" in Mexico. Anyone know?

Thanks. :)
 
  • Alisterio

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Maybe if you can explain what you understand by the term "chicken bus" in English, someone will be able to help you. As far as I am aware "un pollero" in Mexican slang is a person who helps people to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. illegally.
     

    stickyfloor

    Senior Member
    English - Vancouver, Canada
    Funny thing - "chicken bus" is a term which is only used by tourists in Guatemala. The locals call the bus bus (for what you are talking about) or microbus for the white ten seater vans. The word gallinero might be a literal translation, though it is not used to describe such a bus.

    On a cultural note, "chicken bus" is generally used by tourists to describe the public bus in Guatemala, putting emphasis on its poor conditions. They are typically decommissioned US school busses from the 70's, which have been retrofitted for public use in Guatemala. These are public forms of transportation as opposed to the white ten seater vans which transport tourists, and which are often mistakenly called the "bus" by tourists, who use "chicken bus" to refer to the cheaper public bus. The "chicken bus" is fast, crowded and blasts cumbia all day, and is about 25% of the cost of a tourist shuttle.

    Personally I find the use of the term somewhat offensive, as it is an implied insult against Guatemalans and the quality of transportation they use.
     
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    hogareño

    New Member
    English - USA
    Thanks stickyfloor. I knew the history of this renovated American school bus but I read that it got its name because it could either: A) transport chicken or livestock; or, B) transport as many people as humanly (but not humanely) possible. So, I'm not really sure if the term was intended to be "despectivo" or not. From what I've seen on the web, natives simply call them a "camioneta", among other regionalisms. I was hoping to hear from a Guatemalan native who has experience with using a Spanish equivalent.

    Alisterio, I'm definitely not referring to a "pollero". I should have mentioned that it was a passenger bus and described its purpose and appearance.
     

    Giorgio Lontano

    Senior Member
    Guatemala - Español
    Is there a Guatemalan Spanish translation for "chicken bus"? There was no previous thread on this, although on the web I read that for this they used to say "pollero" in Mexico. Anyone know?

    Thanks. :)
    The term you're looking for is gallinera. :)

    I imagine that it is called "chicken" bus because the passengers carry everything including chickens.
    This is accurate.

    Thanks stickyfloor. I knew the history of this renovated American school bus but I read that it got its name because it could either: A) transport chicken or livestock; or, B) transport as many people as humanly (but not humanely) possible. So, I'm not really sure if the term was intended to be "despectivo" or not. From what I've seen on the web, natives simply call them a "camioneta", among other regionalisms. I was hoping to hear from a Guatemalan native who has experience with using a Spanish equivalent.

    Alisterio, I'm definitely not referring to a "pollero". I should have mentioned that it was a passenger bus and described its purpose and appearance.
    You're right, most people call buses "camionetas". In this case, "camioneta gallinera" or simply "gallinera" is what these particular buses are called. The English term "chicken bus" must be directly derived from the original Spanish term, and I doubt anyone would take insult from it, except for the bus owner maybe? Haha. Anyone who can afford it would rather ride a coach bus, called a "pullman" around here.

    Cheers.
    :)
     
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    hogareño

    New Member
    English - USA
    Thanks so much, Giorgio. You've shed a lot of light on this subject and I appreciate your expertise. This helps me a great deal!

    Best!.
     
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