April 26th, 2019

Why do Delhi buses never stop at bus stops?

I have no idea.

And with that answer to my own question, this could, potentially, just be the shortest blog post ever.

Flippancy aside, let me tell you what I’m doing here.

Despite having known India for over 3 decades…

Despite being married to an Indian…

Despite living here…

There is still WAY too much about India that I neither understand nor “get”.

And it suddenly struck me that I have a prime resource, right here at my finger tips.

You, the reader.

Especially all of you who live in India.

You’ll definitely be able to answer my questions way better than Mr. Google could.

So, from now on, dear reader, expect the odd, random, unfathomable question about India.

Like, for example, why in a city like Delhi, the nation’s capital, the damned buses don’t stop for passengers.

They never pull in close to the stop, preferring to slow down in the middle of the road, engines revving, and people have to run and sprint to get onto a moving bus.

Like so:

Every day scene in Delhi, people sprinting to get on a still-moving bus

WHAT is the collective problem with the city’s bus drivers?

Are they paid by how quickly they drive and how many journeys they make?

And why don’t the cops and the traffic cops ever do anything about it?

I drive in Delhi – no, I don’t use the buses, though I definitely would were they safe and clean, the way they are in much of the world – so, back to what I was saying, I drive in Delhi, and there are truly terrifying moments, when people sprint into the traffic to try and get on a bus that is cruising insolently past the bus stop.

There is one scary section I drive past several times a week, after my running group sessions, just near the Hyatt. The damn buses just about manage to slow down a little in the middle of crazy traffic, much of it thundering down a flyover, and people dart into the traffic, running alongside so they can jump aboard.

My heart stops every time.

And I always have the same thought…

WHY DON’T COMMUTERS PROTEST?

What about elderly people, and pregnant women, and women with babies, and people with shopping?
It all seems to be part and parcel part of the disdain with which non-car-owners are treated in this city.

Pedestrians get super short shrift here.

And before you say anything, yes, for much of the time I’m a pedestrian here.

I am a runner, and I regularly pound the city’s pavements, dodging traffic, fearing for my life at every red light and zebra crossing, knowing for how little they count.

Anyway, folks, back to my original question.

Why do DELHI buses never stop at bus stops?

I’d welcome your thoughts.

5 comments to Why do Delhi buses never stop at bus stops?

  • Sanjeev Chhabra

    I have a life time of thoughts! Watch this space

  • christine

    I am watching closely!

  • Sanjeev Chhabra

    Ah! And here is the rant:
    Many times I see a vehicle and say, “That’s a scooter driving a car.” What I mean, obviously, is, the guy now driving a car has spent way too many years driving his scooter wiggling in and out of traffic, and having no rules to follow.
    Having said that, let me enlist the crimes of DTC bus drivers (not to be confused with drivers of contract buses, luxury coaches or erstwhile Blue Line)
    1. Does not stop at the designated bus stop either in the X or the Y axis. (will stop way ahead or before the Bus Stop, and at least one bus width away from the footpath!)
    2. Does not wait for the passengers to get off or get on. In fact seems to have an ego problem if you do not appear to be in a tearing hurry and scramble to the doors!
    3. Must hog the right lane, and, to achieve that, will veer sharply. This act will be done even if his bus stop is metres away. He has no qualms,. Will veer sharply to the left in no time.
    4. The bus you expect does not appear for, say, 40 minutes (supposed to be 20), and then lo! two buses of the same route appear together! Very frequent.
    5. Will brake suddenly or turn sharply, regardless of what is happening to the passengers standing, especially ladies!
    6. Will stop at unscheduled places like red lights and patiently wait and smile as passengers deboard with the risk of getting run over by traffic rushing to the red light

    These are experiences spread over two eras: circa 1975, and 2015 both eras succeeded by moving to a bicycle (where the only risk on the roads was DTC buses)

    And by the way they appear to have carte blanche from the police. Neither will the beat constable take a complaint, nor with the DTP Facebook page.

    Reason for such behaviour: ITs an autorickshaw driving a bus!

  • christine

    Of all your very valid points, Sanjeev, I think I like #6 the best! Thanks, my friend, and I‘ll soon have more questions for you!

  • Sanjeev Chhabra

    What saddens me is when I decided to ditch my car, for green reasons, in 2009, bus was not an option, thanks to experiences of 1975 and a middle class ego (yes the same m.c.e. that is creating traffic jams). So I took to cycling.
    It took me years to deal with that ego, and I was saddened to see nothing had changed.

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