Public Transport

12Sep08

Are you one of those people who dislike travelling by Public Transport, especially at Rush Hour?

I detest Public Transport, I could go on and on and on about all its faults but I will limit myself to just one for this post as that’s the most burning issue on my mind at the moment. 

WHY do people cram in and in and in when there is simply no place to cram anymore?  I have finally gotten used to travelling by bus, even while standing if necessary but NOT if the damned bus is jam packed.  (And No, its not because I grew up with 5 air conditioned cars in Daddy’s garage but because I grew up in Maldives which is small enough to not warrant public transport – on land anyway).

If I have to go out at all during rush hour, I usually opt to walk. I am one of those people who happen to enjoy walking and I don’t see anything wrong with it, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of comments I get, as if only a freak would use foot locomotion when there were such lovely buses, cruising tilted to the side with their budens passing by.

A distant aquaintance of my mother’s stopped me on the road to inquire if I was trying to save money on bus fare. While I was insisting that I happened to like walking, she tried to push a Rs10 into my hands and told me to take the bus home.  Well, how generous!

It would have been appreciated if she had tried to give me a Rs.200 for a tuk tuk or Rs.400 for a cab but I am not quite at the level where I need charity for bus money yet.  

Being of a community of extremely nosy people who always seem to know what everyone else is doing, I arrive home after a half hour’s walk to see my mother getting off the phone, where she has been called up by diiferent people who told her that her daughter had actually been seen walking , that she had stumbled and nearly fallen by ……….Avenue, that she had briefly stopped outside the temple to pray without removing her slippers, that she had nearly fallen into a pothole in ………. .

Anyway, I digress. the point I was trying to make is that I always avoid super crowded buses. If the bus has gotten crowded after I sit down, and a person who needs the seat more than I do gets on, I always sit like a proper lady and wait for a gentleman to get up. If none are forthcoming, I give up my seat, fight my way out and walk the rest of the way home.

However, I make it a point to NEVER get up for people on the 141 bus which plies form Narenhpita to Wella.  In the first place, if a bus is already crowded by the time I get to the stop, I always wait for the next bus to start, which will take only a few minutes. I am unable to understand why so many people cram in as much as they can when they know an empty bus will start up soon. And so I do not get up for even elderly people and pregnant women who get on after the bus has filled as I think they are trying to presume on my good nature (something which happens a lot by the way – it doesn’t pay to be nice).

So there I was confortably ensconed in my seat on a 141 yesterday, when it started filling up – and up, and up and up. The bus had reached maximum capacity (calculated by how many people can stand on one foot on that bus, in addition to all those seated) and it was about to take off when a fat woman and her angelic looking 5 year old got on. She somehow managed to fight her way over to where I was sitting, all the way back in the 3rd row. WHY ME? I guess I have got SUCKER written all over my face. I gritted my teeth and held on.  The Bus was about to leave, she should have known that another one, completely free would start up in a couple of seconds. In any case, I decided to let some seated male be chivalrous for a change.

Well none were, is that a surprise?

I hung on until my seat literally felt like a hot seat. It was more than I could bear to see that little kid getting crushed in by strangrers on his sides and even more by his bulky mother from behind.

I decided that the prospect of getting up and facing claustrophobia was still preferable to the torture and guilt I was going through, so I vacated my seat.

The other reason I never get up in a 141 is that I don’t know the route to walk home. So I endured a half hour of seething anger. I certainly didn’t feel good over this particular ‘good deed’.

I wouldn’t have particularly minded if the people I had to vacate for had no choice about getting into a crowded bus but they did have the option of waiting only a few more minutes.

I repeat, WHY do people cram themselves in public transport?

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