Commuters had to only wait a little longer but vendors had a bad day

The normally bustling Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS) wore a relatively deserted look on Wednesday morning. No sight of people in a hurry to catch the bus or wrangling over coveted seats.

It was a mixed day for commuters as BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) services remained operational partially. Only a few long distance KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) services were available for commuters, as the employees of public transport utilities stayed away from work heeding the call for two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions.

Unlike the BMTC commuters, who only had to wait a little longer, those bound for other towns saw services cancelled.

Lokeshwari N., an office assistant who was at the KBS to take the bus to Bommanahalli said: “I had to wait an extra 15 minutes. But I don’t mind as I am relieved that buses are plying and am not forced to shell out money for a taxi.”

With cancellation of KSRTC services, several people remained stranded at the bus station. Some of them, who had anticipated the scenario, were seen heading out to City Railway Station across the road. One such was Maheshwari G., a homemaker whose bus to Chennai had been cancelled. She straightaway decided to catch the train even if it meant a two-hour wait at the railway platform. “I don’t mind travelling in an unreserved compartment, I just want to reach home,” she said.

Overnight stay

And there were those like Manoharan Chinnaswamy, a security guard of a mall on Residency Road, who spent Tuesday night sleeping in his booth as he could not afford to miss work on Wednesday.

“I have to travel four hours to get here and I was worried about transport. So I decided to stay back.”

Even as people like Mr. Chinnaswamy tweaked their routine, expecting the strike to paralyse the city, public transport was operational much to their surprise.

Deserted markets

Though the flower market in K.R. Market and Russell Market was open, vendors had a bad day as business was slow, forcing them to sell their produce at throwaway prices.

R. Mayandi, a flower vendor who received a consignment from Tamil Nadu, said he had no choice but to sell a bunch of flowers for Rs. 10 instead of the normal Rs. 100. “

Almost all 300 vendors have been affected like me. Even a day’s strike pinches our pockets dearly.”

Afroz Ameer, a wholesale vegetable supplier, also reported abysmal sales.

Youngsters thrilled

On the other hand, children seized the unexpected holiday and flocked to playgrounds. Manjunath, a Class 10 student, playing cricket at the Hombegowda Nagar Kho Kho Stadium at Wilson Garden, said: “The happiest part of getting a holiday is that all my friends come together and play.”

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