Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On private buses

This is the picture of a private bus. This is from Mangalore, but you will see the same in Kerala too. They are as rudimentary as it can get.

Notice that they dont have window panes - there is a tarpaulin or some equivalent to cover the window. And note that Mangalore is a place that receives tons of rain (like Kerala).

The seats have some cushion, but otherwise they are quite tightly packed.

The configuration of these buses makes it the cheapest configuration available. Any lesser and they would qualify as trucks. Perhaps there are no rules that make it necessary for these chaps to provide better buses. But every single private bus is built like this, in the stingiest manner. They have chrome fittings and really loud speakers and perhaps a television, but little else. As far as quality of ride goes, they are pathetic. Perhaps some passengers are happy about the television (and I have seen passengers crane their necks to see something stupid on these rattletraps and miss their stops) that they dont care about the ride.

So, what does the public do - especially if they do not have an option. Nothing - they use these rattletraps. Unless, there is some competition in the form of a separate entity. Government buses for instance which could be better and hence spur these chaps to do something better on their own or a game changing private service.

2 comments:

Raj said...

You are right about the competition. In the last several decades, buses have remained the same. That's because Leyland and Telco enjoyed a duopoly and split the loot. There was no pressure on them to come out with better design, performance or aesthetics. True, there were other agencies that did the body-building, but I will hold these two companies responsible anyway.

gg said...

Having gone on a KSTDC tour to Mysore on a Volvo bus (probably paid double the usual cost) I can't imagine what crap engineering Telco and Leyland did!