Saturday, 18 July 2009
Travelling in Aish-tyle in Mumbai City…..
Twice a month, I travel two hours to reach my school at Belapur. I normally take an auto to the bus station and then big red BEST bus and another auto again. The four hours bus journey (return trip) drains me out, since it is the route that passes through polluted areas of Dharavi and Chembur. At the end of my trip, my eyes are burning, hair is mess and mouth is parched.
I had often wished there were more comfortable ways to travel but train is equally inconvenient and taxi/car is too expensive. But my ‘Big Boss’ is very kind to me and He surprised me yesterday by introducing AC bus service.
50 new AC buses have been introduced in Mumbai city. The object of this service is to discourage people from travelling by car and help in reducing traffic congestion on roads. I was highly pleased with this service. The plastic on the seat had not yet been taken off. There were two levels in the bus; the lower level had some 15 seats and 20 seat on upper level. What I liked the most was these large glass windows, which gives a good panoramic view of the Mumbai roads, without upsetting your hair and eyes and also your nostrils. You see the shit and garbage on the road, but thank God, you don’t have to inhale it.
The trip was quite comfortable, with local radio station playing those Indian music, the AC was high (must remember to carry shawl next time) and the driver had mike (why would he need one?) one small LCD on his dash board (that shows him the traffic on his right side) and cameras at the rear and front (are they expecting crime in the bus?) one digital clock (was not working), one digital sign board announcing the next bus stop (also not working)
What were missing were the passengers. Throughout my trip, there must have been not more than ten people in the bus. At every stop, the driver and the conductor were peddling for customers, informing them about the destination stops and the charge of the ticket. The charge is not too high; it is just three times the price of non-AC bus, but this bus travels through the route that has a different demography. The people who wait at these bus stops on this route are careful spenders. They are the kind of people who never take an auto for a short distance if they can walk; will ask the price of tomatoes from ten stalls before buying a quarter kilo of it, will send their children to those schools that don’t accept donations. When the bus stopped at these stops, some people entered the bus, asked the price of the ticket and alighted back on the road, to look for their red BEST bus. Most of the people who were in this bus were either senior citizens or very young students.
This Bus service is new and not many people know about it. The comfort is same like in our own private transport; you can hear the music or read a book or simply enjoy the Mumbai scene without any tension, even the beggars or hawkers at signals don’t bother you. I am sure, when car owners learn about it; they will prefer this service and help in reducing traffic congestion on Mumbai roads.
By the time…I am loving it…….
The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),
.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” .....as it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.
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