Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome to BMTC

After 11 years of evading it, I am getting to explore BMTC buses in all their glory. AC volvos with 55 rupees tickets for 25 kms. Arterial roads: Electronic City, Majestic, Malleswaram, Whitefield... Rattling blue ones joining far-flung rural nooks and crannies crawling on bumpy pot-holed roads with 10 rupees tickets for 30 kms. Attibele, Jigni, Hoskote, Kodi-Farm, Uttarahalli... Upscale, ear-plugged, perfumed, nose-upturned co-passengers. Talkative, noisy co-passengers, smelling of sweat and dust, eager to help. I salute BMTC for creating this burgeoning network of buses. It's an experience! They have continued to make it possible to travel long distances without spending half your salary on petrol.

I find the drivers and conductors extremely polite and helpful in general. I never knew that there are so many buses in Bangalore, and that there are so many people to travel in them. The enormity of this crowd is humbling! Everyone working so hard! Trying to get somewhere. Millions. And yet, everyone struggling to keep his head above the sea of insignificance which seems to keep rising all the time.

Once you figure out the routes, it seems to be a very economical and eco-friendly way of commuting. It takes a bit longer. Well, much longer in many cases. But city driving is stressful, a time wasted completely. Owning a car isn't a big deal anymore; but being chauffeur driven isn't affordable now, nor ever is going to be, for most of us. Not to mention the fatigue driving creates affecting the quality of the time after the drive. On the contrary, the time in a bus is a time to unplug yourself, work, think, rest, catch up with friends over phone, mail, chat...

I seem to have conquered my fear of buses after a long struggle. And I am profiting from it. I don't have anything to say to those who have given up on public transport like they have given up on voting, or on the whole concept of 'a greater good'. But if anyone has been hesitating to take his or her first step, waiting for a positive word to come from somewhere, here you have it from me. Try BMTC (or whichever is the local bus service of your city). It may turn out to be practical in your case too!