Friday, May 26, 2006

evolving public transport

god bless the guys who came up with the idea of introducing air-conditioned buses as a part of the local municipal corporation's fleet of road transport.

this gives me a viable choice when i'm considering commuting to work rather than take my motorcycle. if you've seen the local trains in bombay during peak hours you will agree that it's only a mode of transport for those who have to mind their monthly expenditure. it doesnt matter if you travel first class or second, the economic status of the crowd pushing against you is all thats different.

same problem if you take the regular buses too, also you have to put up with the heat, dust and noise that goes with the tour. notwithstanding the extended travel time. but the airconditioned bus takes care of three of the above mentioned problems, and yes its mostly empty.

i usually knock off to sleep for the duration of the commute and have to be shaken awake by the driver at the last stop which is a short walk from the office. its a wonderfully refreshing way to begin the work day.

differential service and pricing should exist for all goods and services, public transport is a fine example. there's always a fringe of consumers out there ready to pay more than a little extra for better service.

it surprises me that the local suburban railway hasnt come up with a similar plan yet. i'm pretty sure there are commuters in far flung suburbs ready to pay for the comfort of not getting smothered in human flesh twice every day. it beats me that you could pay four times the price of a second class train ticket in order to buy a first class one and still have just as bad a journey as the poorer sections of society.

damn it, when i pay more i demand comfort. and thats exactly what these buses give me.

1 comment:

Kev said...

I know what you mean about the mass of human flesh. I took a local train in Bombay when I was there, spent the journey with someone's elbow jabbing into my back, breathing sari cloth, and when I got out I felt like a screwed up piece of damp paper. I took cabs after that experience.

Mind you, the trains and especially the tube in London is no different in rush hour. In the case of the tube, being an antiquated system it has no air conditioning and the system has a very high humidity, in summer you can end up jammed in with hundreds of sweaty commuters and hardly able to breath.

As I don't like crowds and like my personal space, I hate this experience so much thatI work over the weekend to avoid going through the experience as much as possible.

Before I start work on a Saturday morning, I get on my local train with plenty of seats, sit back and relax with the paper and have my breakfast.

I think the issue of commuting is actual quite an issue if you have a demanding job. I find that avoiding rush hour trains has a major impact on my day. Instead of being drained and stressed by being packed in with a heaving multitude, I get to work feeling relaxed and ready to work. As you know, working in investment banking can be stressful sometimes when there is stuff to get out to demanding clients in a short space of time, and the last thing I need is stress before I have even started work.

The week days I work, I feel completely different, like I have already worked just to get to work. So I can appreciate the difference having a comfortable ride in to work can make. I think it is a necessity if you can afford it, rather than a pampering luxury.

As an aside, my father worked on a building project in rural India about ten years ago. He usually got a lift to the site, but once in a while had to take the local bus. Apparently the bus didn't stop, it just slowed down and several arms would pop out of the doorway and help him leap onto the still moving vehicle.

I wonder whether this is a thing of the past now?