Monday, May 26, 2008


Posting after a long time, so have to post about this long and ardous journey.

I was supposed to reach Gurgaon, Sukhrali at 5.50 pm. Started from my house in Rohini at 4 pm. The distance is 45km. Assuming 30km/hr I should reach in time.
Caught a Cycle Rickshaw to the nearest bus stop. Caught a DElhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus to the nearest big Depot. On reaching there, I spotted a bus which would drop me right to my detination. But, there was a small hurdle: the bus did not have any gas, so the conductor told us that he would go in the Depot and get the gas filled.
Half an hour of wait under the tree and a bus came out. 10 of us boarded the bus and 50 mtrs down the road, the driver abruptly brakes and comes to a smooth halt. He informs us that the "bus is breaking down". What astrolgers these DTC drivers. They know when their buses are going to get sick. Another 15 mins and finally I am inside the bus sitting comfortably.
Half and hour goes by and I sense something unusual. Though there are just 10 people in the bus, the conductor hasn't come to ask for my ticket. Then I realise that this is not Mumbai and I have to go to where the conductor is sitting to buy the ticket. At least he is in the bus physically, better than just signing the register and going home. Also, the bus seems never to have a halt at any of the bus stops. This reminded me of the Sardar joke; A sardar chases down a DTC bus and manages to heave himself in. The bus is empty but for a few passengers. Sardar goes to the driver and asks him

sardar: “Yeh bus teri maa lagti hai?”

driver: “nahi”

sardar: “Yeh bus teri behen lagti hai?”

driver: “nahi”

sardar: “Yeh bus teri biwi lagti hai?”

driver: “nahi bhai”

sardar: “Toh tu mujhe buspe chadhne kyun nahi deta?”

My journey was detined to be doomed and the terrorists too had a hand to play. There was grapevine that a bomb was diffused on Chawri Bazar (old Delhi) and there were huge traffic jams. As it is either the bus was incapable of going beyond 30 Km/Hr or the driver was too lazy, on top of that, the road diversion and I reached my destination at 7pm.

3 hours of boring journey and I reach tired. But, DTC is happy that they have provided such “cheap” transport. Transport policy makers in India refuse to go beyond “cost, accessibility, safety” to the time factor when it comes to public transport.

When coming back, I decided to give a ditchu to DTC and caught a call centre sharing cab. In 20 rupess, it dropped me right at my doorstep in flat 1 hr. But, the government doesn't recognise this form of transport as legal and these cab drivers are in constant fear of the police.

NCR region is the richest in India and has the maximum car density in India, but when it comes to public service delivery, it fails miserably. Mumbai at least provides good service even if it is insufficient to cater to such a huge population. Delhi is a gloring example of how we Indians fail when it comes to working together for the benefit of all without directly benifitting a single person.