Just the other day, my regular transport was out for service. I had to use public transport. Yup, the same dreaded transport service that has the capacity to make me break out in hives. That day I left home 30 minutes early because I had to catch the bus. As soon as I went to the bus stop, I started checking out the bus schedule board to see which bus would suit me the best. Boy, was I happy to see that the bus that was supposed to come in next 4 minutes was the best one because it would drop me right at the door step of my office building. Yes, right there! No walking 10-minute distance!!!
Puhlease! Don’t you dare judge me. 10-minute distance is no mean thing to consider. I, a couch potato, would otherwise need to walk at least 1000 steps to reach my destination. Can you really understand how traumatic that is? Especially when your sole aim in life is to pick up a nice corner in the house, get a bowl of ice-cream and be an active, long-term participant of the romance-reading marathon?
Let’s not digress.
So yes. I was unashamedly happy to know about this bus.
Unfortunately, when this bus finally arrived, I wished I was PT Usha who loved to run. Because I’d have run, run and run until I reached my office. Want to know why? Because the entire bus was jam-packed. In fact, it was so full up to its gills that it was leaning on the right side.
I seriously considered missing this bus in light of the sheer amount of space I usually needed to breathe properly. But I couldn’t afford it. I had to reach the office at time or my HR would turn into terminator and finish me off. I’m not kidding. I really think my HR must have been Hitler in her last birth, leaving bloodshed left and right in her wake.
Again, I digress. Sigh.
To cut the long story short, I boarded the bus and avoided becoming the HR’s casualty that day. But casualty I did become. Casualty of sweaty underarms hanging just near my nose. Casualty of creepy, heavy breathing on my nape. Casualty of being squeezed between two swinging bodies that jabbed me in the tummy with every pothole the bus went through, and believe me that were enough to jar the dead alive.
The first thing I did after stepping down from the bus was bending down from my waist and taking huge gulps of fresh air. After inhaling so much of sweat and taking jabs from every Tom, Dick and Harry on the bus, I felt as if I had just survived a wrestling match.
When I told the same thing to my office friend – who commutes by BRTS on regular basis – she said that overloaded bus wasn’t a big thing. In fact, it’s quite a regular thing – even during holidays. And then the conversation shifted to root problem of this situation.
We are a country of more than 100 crores, and nearly 75% of this population belongs to the strata who can’t afford their own vehicle. So public transport it is. Unfortunately, India – being a developing country – doesn’t have proper infrastructure in place to support so many commuters. You can see the result below.
Whether you go for bus or train, we are always running more than full. Both of these transports are notorious for taking up passengers more than it’s safe to.
Planes. This category of transport is quite expensive, and unfortunately, out of option for most of the people. Only three category of people can afford it: business executives who travel on the company’s money, travelers who book months in advance to access comparatively low fares, and filthy rich. I belong to second category. But sometimes that’s expensive too due to basic law of economics – supply and demand.
The only way to solve this problem is getting more and more airlines and thereby increasing the supply of flights. Once the supply increases, flights will become more affordable, and when that happens, more people will start shifting to flights from trains.
The upcoming launch of #LufthansaA380. seems to be just the step our Indian Aviation needs. According to Wikipedia, “The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner, and the airports at which it operates have upgraded facilities to accommodate it.”
I presume, this means this airplane will have more seats. Which means, more supply. Which means, low prices.
So again, Hallelujah!!!