Monday, 20 October 2008

Travelling by public transport

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For 14 years, I was used to traveling by office bus. It has its own pleasures assured timings, specific seat, direct route, etc. The 6th Pay Commission changed all this and the quantum of transport allowance payable for renouncing office transport was too difficult for me to resist.

It is only after I started traveling by BMTC (the only public transport mode in Bangalore) that I realized the advantages it offered. Once I step out of my office, I attain anonymity and I am totally shut off from office politics. It gives me an opportunity to interact with a wide range of people. I have to leave home early since I need to take a minimum of 2 buses to reach office on time. Rains in the evening mean worries for me on how to reach home within a reasonable time. On days when I am lucky I get a bus which drops me a couple of miles away from the office. This provides me a great opportunity to walk down in an array of trees, on the perimeter of Indian Institute of Science campus.

The other day I meet a teenager who reminded me of my college days. He was talking in an audacious way to a girl pretty similar to me. The only difference was that I used to have the limited opportunity of talking to girls only in person. Every evening I come across a fried groundnut seller near Shivajinagar. He makes a brisk business and has a more sound business model compared to the financial institutions and airline operators.

I noticed that BMTC has rapidly improved from my college days. More often than not a person need not wait in a bus stop for more than 15 minutes. If somebody is waiting in a bus stop for long it means either he is in the wrong stop or waiting for someone to come. However, respect for the sanctity of ladies seat has not improved. In Bangalore where traffic rules are not respected even a wee bit; maybe it is wrong to expect such courtesy and compliance. It is more pitiable to notice that very few ladies ask the male occupants to vacate it for them. BMTC has recently introduced “Suvarna” supposed to provide better passenger comfort as compared to the normal buses. Except for the fare, there is nothing premium about these buses.

There is a compulsion from home front to go in for a four wheeler. The emotional argument put forward by my wife is that being an officer, it is pitiable that I am traveling by BMTC bus. I have blocked it putting up an ideological argument of the need for everybody to travel by public transport. Let us see how long I can hold to my position, until then, the travel by the stuffy BMTC buses is an experience to relish.

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