S. Sandeep Kumar
A trip aboard an RTC bus can be harrowing. People could do with better services and courteous staff
HYDERABAD: With a fleet of 2,900 buses plying almost round-the-clock, the city region of APSRTC transports 36 lakh commuters a day, literally making it the lifeline of Hyderabadis. When the buses are off the road even for a day, life is thrown out of gear in the city.
Yet, when it comes to providing basic service to the satisfaction of commuters the region is found wanting on many counts. Its ranks are replete with discourteous line staff, making travel a nightmare for commuters.
For many, a bus ride is not a pleasant way to begin the day. Heavy rush combined with the time it takes to reach the destination makes the experience an ordeal. Buses seldom arrive on time making people wait for a long time.
Blame it on lack of awareness among bus drivers or inefficiency of traffic guides in monitoring the traffic flow, irregular halts at bus bays cause much inconvenience to its commuters.
Brazen violation of traffic signals and utter disregard for road users have earned RTC drivers notoriety.
Buses contribute to about 50 per cent of the traffic on the roads and to a significant percentage of the accidents as well. Disregarding traffic rules, jumping signals, braking and swerving without warning all make for a perilous and tense ride.
Once in the bus, the commuters face a different set of challenges altogether.
Ticketing itself is dubious. Ticket for a stop in the same route of a bus is charged varyingly by different conductors.
One dare not argue with the conductor, who is ready with an armoury of insults! Hyderabad is a culturally diverse city, but the boards that depict the bus number and route are mostly in Telugu.
At times the front nameplate of the bus has a different route when compared to the rear one.
No choice here
While authorities might argue that buses are still the most used public transport, the daily commuter knows that it is out of sheer necessity than choice. For a department that generates huge revenues from passengers, it still has a long way to go in delivering prompt and decent service to commuters. After all numbers do not maketh the facility, courteous service does.