• kewal sethi

how to catch a bus in dilli.

how to catch a bus in delhi

things change and yet they remain the same. i am out of the circuit for some time now but i do observe the goings on at the bus stands. in the sixties when i was a regular commuter by bus, i had written an advisory on the above subject which i am presenting now with the hope that it will benefit the new generations of bus travelers (except for some editing it is almost a reproduction the original article.)

"contrary to the general impression, i have never been inconvenienced by bus service in delhi. having had a long experience in observing and travelling by bus, i have developed a method which, i would like to share with my fellow sufferers.

it would be obvious that the situations are so varied that the number of solutions run into a large figure and yet may fall short of the requirements. one of them is concerned with the situation at kendriya terminal. unfortunately a habit of queue forming has developed there which is almost becoming a habit. no one realizes that this is playing havoc with the adventurous nature that delhi wallas have always displayed where buses are concerned.

leaving such exception alone, here are a few hints for the novice to the game. one of the points for boarding a crowded bus is to stand near the red light where the bus is obliged to stop. this is obvious point but where the novice makes the mistakes is that he boards the bus just as it halts because of the red light. this is not done. the time to board it is when the light is just turning green it is almost impossible for the driver or the conductor to stop the bus at that point of time and deboard the passenger.

there was a tie when the conductor would stand in the door and put his leg across making it difficult to board the bus. but fortunately, the DTU provided a seat for the conductor from where he distributes the ticket so that even that obstruction is now gone.

a real test comes when there is no red light near about. since the location of the bus stand is varied and complex in that a number of buses for different destinations are served by the bus stand, the strategy also varies from point to point. the general idea is to take a stand a little away from the bus stand. one must look unconcerned about the buses and the passengers, pose as waiting for someone. this is done by looking at the watch frequently at short intervals. a word of advice – be careful to stand on the side from which the bus is coming, not on the far side. the point of exercise is that when the bus comes, start running with it so that by the time, it comes to a halt, you are the first at the door. (this i learnt form a coolie who found a seat for me in the third class general carriage in a crowded train). there has to be computer like precision in matching speed. an early start helps but should not be overdone.

in case you mange to miss the bus (it is too crowded or someone has beat you to it), never try to repeat the exercise with the next bus. the co waiters have learnt your technique and resent it. it is better to walk to the next bus stand and try your luck there. it might, sometimes, mean walking up to your destination but it is all in the interest of your health. varying your time to reach the bus stand helps for the co waiters are different every time. most of them. i observed, were punctual in leaving their homes which you should avoid.

and finally one piece of advice, do not risk a fall. it is not worth it. in such a case do what i have done, buy a scooter.

(the original piece was written on 29.7.1978)


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