If you live in NCR, especially Haryana, and have a job or college in Delhi, you will be able to relate with me on this one. I leave at home at 8am in the morning and I have to walk one kilometer to reach an auto stand. The auto we have is anything but the ordinary auto, Fevicol can readily sponsor them all. It is a six seater, Vikram, which seats eleven people in one trip, so you must be wondering how the extra five fit? Well, two sit on the driver’s lap, yes they do, and I don’t know if he has a fetish for it, while the rest squeeze onto the those two benches which some genius termed as “seats”.
Once you get off these autorickshaws, which in itself is a task which Hercules would’ve gotten if he was born today, the next stop is the ever so lovable dingy shack which we call a “bus stop”. This is a place where everything stops, the traffic, the police, the dogs to pee, everything but the bus. So, after half an hour of waiting, you get a bus which stops exactly in the middle of the road with bikes and cars zipping by it like angry mobs. The next task is getting onto it; if you succeed, you are so elated that you wish all the passengers give you a standing ovation. Instead, you get a conductor who smells of beedis and cheap booze, asking you for fare.
The bus ride is the worst thing you can ever imagine to happen to your gastric juices. They will churn and rumble as if they will explode any moment, so say goodbye to the power breakfast you love to have, because you might just see it coming out of your body like a volcano.
This is only the beginning, try making your way out of the bus once you see your bus stop approaching, and you will know how a baby felt when he made his way into this world. The bus will again stop nowhere near the stop and again bang in the middle of the road, and the only thing that saves you from the bikers is God Almighty. God gets a special place for all of us in the bus because he is the only one to whom we, the passengers, can pray for more buses and the drivers, for higher pays and smaller routes. The average route for a bus driver in Haryana Roadways is 120kms one way.
Since the time I have shifted to Faridabad, Haryana, and every year, I hear of 100 new buses being added to the Roadways fleet, but I never seen more than two buses at a time on the roads. My travelling plans, may be very funny to most of you, but imagine the plight of us daily commuters. I cannot carry my laptop to college which I need four days a week; women and children are squeezed to death by the throngs of men, which get onto the bus every time it halts. Is it that hard for the civic bodies to understand that we need more buses or are we waiting for some divine intervention to give them the foresight to actually ply more buses?
Intra-city transport in these so-called “cyber cities” of Gurgaon and Faridabad is so chaotic and bad, that most of us are forced to use our own means of transport for the smallest of things, like going to the bank or departmental store. The State Government needs to add more intra-city mini-buses for the commuters.
The private buses are completely unsafe and always overcharge the passengers. I suggest that the State Government should fix the fares for private buses as well, like we have it in Delhi, and stop these people from over-charging the passengers.
[Image source: http://www.edicy.com/photos/crowded-bus.jpg]