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Uttar Pradesh Roadways: Watch when you travel with it

Months back I had written a post about how my train journey from Kanpur to Lucknow was a nightmare , courtesy Indian Railway. Now the reverse happened just a few days back courtesy State Roadways. 

Due to the rains and all, the schedule of trains has gone haywire and it being a Monday I had to reach Kanpur, my office from Lucknow. Morning was drizzling a bit but I rode racing against my watch to catch the before 7.10 am bus from Charbagh. Due to the fact that many more people were taking the bus, it filled quickly and departed around 7. After purchasing the ticket I dozed off to complete my sleep. Due to the fact that the bus was going through the city we did not sense anything wrong. Trouble started when we had crossed the dense habituated areas and still the bus was moving at a very slow pace. It was so slow that even tempos and 2 wheelers and others started to overtake it. 

People senses that and asked the conductor and driver and then came the shocker… there was issue with the gearbox of the bus and the transmission was not moving beyond 1st gear. It was 7.10 am. People started shouting when they told the driver that he shouldn’t have operated the bus if there was fault, even the conductor was angry. As the bus was coming from some other place and the traffic had not necessitated the need to go much faster, the driver did not pay any heed. The fundae with road transport is that there are NO refunds of the tickets, only transfers into another buses. The people had alighted but it had started raining and we had come out so far ahead that it was impossible for any bus coming from behind which might have seats . 

We got into the bus to save ourselves from the rain and the driver started driving again. All the helpline, toll free numbers you see written on the inside of the buses proved to be useless as no one was picking up the various numbers and the request to send an empty bus from Lucknow depot was not being paid heed to.. all the customer care person on the line was saying was to wait for a bus coming from behind and transfer. In the meantime we had crossed the limit of Lucknow and even my GPS was not locking on to my location so that I could request either an Ola and Uber outstation cab (would have been possible as Amausi Airport was within a 8 km radius but even then it needed 45 mins to reach ) . Majority of people in my bus were office goers so everyone was eyeing that 10 am deadline. 

People got down and a few boarded taxis going to Kanpur. The clock was ticking. It soon launched into a full fledged downpour, we all got inside and then decide to roadblock the whole way in order to force the vehicles to stop. We forced the bus driver to angle the bus across the whole road and turn the engine off. So we created a blockade of the whole road and forced all the vehicles coming from Lucknow to stop. Our plan was to create such a huge traffic jam for kms so that the authorities of any kind take notice because the deaf people were just not listening. Our plan worked but only half. 

The vehicles began to stop, on a fast paced highway we managed to stop vehicles for as back as 100 m. The trouble started when the other bus drivers / conductors were not stopping the buses/opening the doors. The people of my bus were even ready to travel standing but to no avail. Some conductors pushed women off the bus and some made a getaway with some women even dangling from the doors. They were saying to the drivers, “ बस चलाओ, मरते हैं तो मर जाएँ “ (Drive the bus, let them die if they do). All this while our conductor was arguing with other bus conductors to let us on in batches. Our driver did not had the guts to leave the bus as he knew that he was the reason of the mess we were in. All the while I was kind of a de facto navigator while eyeing all the buses coming from Lucknow and shouting “ Kanpur Kanpur” while looking at the destinations so that the people left know which direction and bus to run to if the current one they were trying became full. I had become drenched by now and considering all the chaos that was happening around me, there was no way I could take out my umbrella from my bag and use it. 

When I had decided to bail out and hitch a ride letting my ticket go to vain and incurring extra money on the ride, the conductor sensed something in my way of navigating and handed me the whole transfer slip ( its nothing but the complete list of all tickets booked in the bus on a particular journey) for the rest of the people left behind. There were just 9 of us left now. He gave me the instructions, “ Just take this and hand it over to anyone who asks you the ticket, be it this conductor or any official from the roadway.” Just then a bus slowed down, we shouted “ Transfer “ to the conductor , he nodded, I let all 8 get in first out of which 2 were families and then got in handing the conductor the partially drenched slip. Thankfully the bus was only some 40% full so we all got seats. I glanced at my watch, it was 8.10 am , a full 40 mins had passed since our ordeal had begun.. The bus took a shortcut once we were in Kanpur so that saved a lot of time and by 10.10 I was in my office but that was some kind of nightmare. 

With various options like Ola, Uber, Extra cash with me all with me but still I could not use any of it as the phone was not able to get a GPS lock on to my current location to be able to book a cab and all. That day it also told me that all those numbers in the inside of the bus are useless and of no use when most needed. The person manning those numbers would only listen and do nothing about it….then you would be at god knows whose mercy?? 

So be extra alert while travelling with UP Roadways. 

For those who want to read my train ordeal…here it is:
Uttar Pradesh Roadways: Watch when you travel with it Uttar Pradesh Roadways: Watch when you travel with it Reviewed by Shwetabh on 1:17:00 PM Rating: 5

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