[Reader-list] of blueline in delhi

mamta mantri bawree at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 1 21:09:35 IST 2007

Delhi govt is all set to remove the blueline buses
from the roads of delhi. I dont want to write about
the goods and bads of the issue, but write about my
experiences with a particular bus route.
Have been in delhi for a year now and been travelling
by BUS no 534, that runs from Anand Vihar to Mehrauli.
These buses come as a contrast to the BEST buses in
Mumbai, in terms of punctuality, discipline,
ticketing. First thing that one notices is the decor
of these buses. These buses are decked to the core
with bangles, danglers, pictures of gods, wind chimes
and most importantly a deck system. This deck system
is a nuisance to most passengers, who want to catch a
wink in the bus, provided they get a seat. 
Getting a seat in the bus was no big deal for me as a
woman, thanks to the reserved seats for women. I dont
remember any single day travelling standing right upto
Mehrauli. Instead, the whole journey has always been a
pleasurable one for me, because i could listen to some
interesting Haryanvi music, or old melodies of the 80s
and 90s, or FM radio, given my leaning for popular
By the virtue of travelling very frequently on that
route, the conductors and helpers and bus drivers
began to recognise me, and exchange hellos. I talked
with a couple of staff people. Every bus has 5 to 7
staff members. There are about 450-500 buses on the
route, of which about 50 are off road for some repair
or the other. The time gap between two buses is 5-7
minutes barely. 
A bus on every trip makes about 1000-1100 bucks, which
appears very minimal, given the gas, maintanence and
other expenses. No wonder they keep waiting at all
important bus stands to fill in as many passengers as
possible. The primary reason is also because of low
fares, two or three rupees as minimum fare, as
compared to Mumbai, 4-5 rupees. No more facts!!!

The staff on the bus is very closely knit to each
other, in a very feudal- brotherhood kind of manner.
The senior memebers keep a strong vigil on the new
members. The junior members will buy cigarettes and
tobacco for the senior ones, and do all dog work. But
when the journey ends, the senior members, like elder
brothers, will pay for the breakfast and other
expenses(though it might be a protocol). The gesture
doesnt look like an employer-employee one, but an
elder  brotherly one.            
Professionalism does exist, but not really. Passengers
can cheat the staff, the staff does cheat the
passengers, new and old. The bus driver can stop the
bus on the road and refuse to go ahead, in which case
the passengers wait for the next bus to get into and
catch a seat. Of course, they are lucky that the bus
driver has the mobile number of the next bus driver,
and he will inform him. The next bus will take all the
passengers and dues will be settled later. Those are
lucky days when the passengers reach their destination
in one go. 
How can i forget the speed of these buses? reaching
Mehrauli from Greater Kailas in 20 minutes, leaving
behind all auotos, zens, accords and santros. I HAVE
But i have been fascinated by the whole mechanism. For
me, it has been this whole ride of adventure and
speed, breaking all traffic rules, not bothering to
allow the passenger to get in or out, seating on the
bonnet(only in winters!!!), and this 'immense respect
for womankind', and brotherhood in feudal haryanvi
no judgments please, but apologies for stereotypes, if
at all.    

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