23 August 2008

Riding the Bus

In the spirit of embracing public transport in Bangalore I decided to ride the bus today. Of course there were certain limiting factors: I didn't know what bus to take or how much it would cost. Undeterred, I reached the bus stop and decided to make enquiries from fellow travelers. My choice of information was a broken bus stop info board, four giggling school girls, a burqha clad lady and two young men too busy staring at the marvel of their cell phone. The girls and lady looked intimidating so I approached the men and this is how the conversation went,

Me: "What bus # do I take to Shivajinagar?"
YM: "It's coming right now."
Me: "Do you know the bus number?"
YM: "It's coming right now."

In India at some point one has to rely on strangers and I decided to do just that. Luckily when the bus did arrive YM was nice enough to point out to me, "it's coming right now". 

Once aboard, I received my first pleasant surprise. There was a lady conductor. When I used to ride the bus 10 yrs ago a smelly male conductor who dove into female bodies like a dog on a bone hunt was the normal scene. It was neat to see the foray of women into this job sector. Next surprise, the driver was courteous and drove cautiously, turning on his turn signal at every possible point that it was required on the route. The ride itself was fairly mundane except people seemed to get off at the most unusual places like traffic lights, in the middle of traffic jams or on corners where no other sign of a bus stop existed. When I reached Shivajinagar I wasn't sure where to get off so I followed everyone out only to exit right into oncoming traffic. Luckily our quorum was just enough to halt traffic and make a passage to the main bus stand. I found my bus and plonked myself into a seat. Now this bus was a grade higher than the last one. There are regular buses and Pushpaks, the main difference between the two, as far as I could tell being the seat cushion quality. Puskpak's are plusher and supposed to pack fewer people so the door can actually be shut while the bus is in motion which consequently means that you pay a higher price for the ride. On my bus the conductor was also the driver and very adept at both his jobs. The same hand that held the tickets also managed the gears, horn and money. The other managed the steering while his foot never left the accelerator. Our Pushpak vimana literally flew homewards!

All in all I enjoyed my trip. In comparison to the auto the bus ride took 20 mins more but costed 85% less. My next mission to be eco-friendly is to buy a bicycle!

1 comment:

  1. yes, but in bangalore do you have Metro Tracker? I'm sure you miss that most of all...