Monday morning was a bit different than other usual days at the Balaju bus stop. It was almost 6:30 in the morning and I was already getting late for the college. I would be very lucky if I get a little space to adjust my feet, I thought. As soon as I approached the bus, I saw each and every bus of the route number 23 which goes to Ratnapark via Sohrakhutte, Lainchaur was getting stopped.
“We are not going any further,” the conductor of the bus addressed the passenger. Everyone looked perplexed, a few of them were furious about the intervention to their hurrying journey. One man who was busy leading the havoc came and told that five buses had been fined Rs 5000 each by the traffic police each for not providing concession on student cards. “We get twenty liters of diesel in a fortnight after queuing up for a day or two. We have a family to take care of too. If we have to pay such heavy fines for five rupees, then we will not operate the buses,” he made things clear in disgust.
By that time there were almost fifty buses/micro buses stopped leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Despite the fact that the incident occurred in one of the busiest places and about 100 meters away from the police check post it took almost 30 minutes for the police to come. The agitated bus staff told the senior police officer that it was very impractical and intolerable to have been fined 5000 rupees for not discounting 5 rupees. Later, the police suggested the disgruntled party to go and talk to the senior traffic police in Darbarmarg and seek a solution.
When I took a long walk heading to Lainchaur to get the buses, I could see people waiting for the buses not knowing what had happened. I feel very bad about what had happened. A good public vehicle system resembles the orderly and civilized society too. People would not have to push and pull others for getting on the bus.
Most of the developed countries have strengthened their public vehicle services so well that they would decrease the number of cars resulting in less emissions of environment degrading substances. Stockholm aims to make the city car-free by 2030 to promote green energy. The Government should take initiation in building bicycle friendly lanes in the big cities; bigger and spacious buses should be introduced replacing smaller microbuses. The saying goes “Doing one thing is better than knowing hundreds of things”. Start walking for reachable destination.