5 December 2012

Joys of riding a bus

I decided to write on this after I got back to riding the bus from Oct 2012 onwards. And what brought this about? Well .. the rickshaw fare hikes of course!!!!
                                         Source: gateway2india.com .. Thats not me in the rickshaw :)
Over the past 6 years, I have always taken a rickshaw to reach work in Mumbai. This is despite the attitude of the rickshaw guys (won't even have the courtesy to say no .. will just drive off after hearing where you want to go .. grrr), faulty meters, the traffic jams, the pollution .. since it was always more convenient to hop into a rick and drive off. It had become so convenient that I rode the bus like only 3-4 times in 6 years!!! .. and that too cause my mom would have forced me to.

Over the past 1 year, we have seen about 3 fare hikes for rickshaws. I can understand that the rickshaw guys also need to meet their expenses and hence a hike was required. But the last hike in Oct 2012 was the last straw. Despite charging exhorbitantly, the attitude still remains crappy and many rickshaws still have mechanical meters which run at the speed of light. Even the elctronic meters have been tampered with. So the amount I pay for the rickshaw has increased exponentially. Unfortunately, my salary has not followed the same route :(

So these days, if I take a rickshaw, I ensure that it at least has an electronic meter and then I keep a hawk eye on the meter to ensure that it is showing the right kms and I am not getting fleeced. I tell you, it is getting to be a stressful experience taking a rick these days!!! .. It has become so that when I am travelling with my hubby, my eye will be on the meter and I miss out half the things he tells me .. poor him and poor me too!

Anyways, to save money, I decided to research on which buses go from my home to my place of work (Research meant jotting down all the bus numbers at the stop near my office and comparing them with the numbers at the stop near my home and seeing which match :D). And thankfully there were a few direct buses. .... ooh the joy!!!! Of course, I was apprehensive about taking a bus, not having done so for years. So currently, I am taking it easy, I take the bus home only at night - in the morning, when I have to reach office fast and am almost always running late, I take a rick with an electronic meter. And what a revelation it has been!!!
                                                 Source: thebigfatindianwedding.com Thats not me either ;)
Riding the bus after so long has opened my eyes to the advantages of doing so. I will list a few below:
  • With 12 seats reserved for ladies, and since I take the bus at night (when there is less crowd), finding a seat is not a problem .. I do feel bad for the poor guys who get up to offer the ladies seat .. but well, supposedly we are the weaker sex, and so I will use this :)
  • I am no longer stressed about the meter, and so can relax, talk to hubby if he is there, think pleasant thoughts or whatever. But I DO NOT dedicate 45 minutes to a meter.
  • What savings!!!! - taking a rick costs me around Rs.80 when there is no traffic and the meter is not tampered. In the bus, it costs only Rs.15 .. wowsieee!!!!
  • No pollution in my face - Given the size of the rickshaw and the way they drive, my rickshaw is of course always on level with the exhaust pipe of bigger vehicles and I get to inhale the beautiful carbondixide .. cough cough ... In a bus, I am at the highest level .. so eat my dust, you rickshaws!!! 
  • Its safer to ride a bus than a rickshaw, particularly since I leave office after 9 pm usually. In a rickshaw, apart from watching the meter, I keep an eye out to see that the rickshaw is going where its supposed (meaning that I am not being kidnapped - no, its not paranoid to think that!). And I make sure that I have something handy (a pen or pencil - I don't yet have pepper spray) that I can jab into the rickshaw guy's neck in case he thinks of hanky panky. In Mumbai, even at late night, the bus is reasonably full and hence I am assured that I am safe. :)
These are just a few advantages. I am sure I will discover more as I continue riding. And I am sure I will also discover the disadvantages .. but I believe I am hooked onto the bus, and will continue my nightly joyride in the near future :)
Sorry for having ranted so much on the rickshaws .. but I have already done it with my parents, hubby, friends and colleagues. Just needed one more place to do it :D

So do you have stories to share on the bus vs. rickshaw debate?

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