Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By Arushi Kumar
What is public transport to Gurgaon connectivity? Will it take a Millennium?
When do people opt for public transport? If they don’t know how to drive, don’t have a car, are too tired, don’t want to be stuck in massive traffic jams or simply don’t want to be dependent on others.
It is sad that Gurgaon is a place where a person has to be dependent because of a lack of said public transport facilities. If the many newspapers, even the Haryana government had to define the geographical territory of Gurgaon, they would surely miss out on the relative outskirts such as Palam Vihar, Farukhnagar, Sector 45 , Old Gurgaon and such other places where the metro failed to reach. DLF, Sector 56 and South City do not count as the only territories occupied by mere mortals with woes and demands.
Now public transport and Gurgaon are like stepsisters who want to make life hell for each other. The demands of both never end. Rickshaws, Autos, Shared Autos, Haryana Roadways Buses and of course, the Delhi Metro, however, connectivity is something all of them are not able to fulfill. My Vodafone connection fares better. Sigh. The roads add to the misery as well, Gurgaon roads are so bumpy that it is possible to have effortless sex on them.
Shared Auto: It is a huge smoke spewing vehicle which in principle, accommodates 12 people. It charges Rs. 5-10, for the preset distance of 5kms. The concept is brilliant, easy on the pocket, but most of the drivers I’ve encountered are stoned or drunk, drive extremely rash, stop at any point on the road and generally, are a nuisance for others. Also, they are extremely ‘accommodating’ and 20 is the minimum number of people hanging on to them for dear life. Moreover, sweaty, lechy men is no woman’s fantasy. Bhavya Sachdeva,18, travels from Kapasera Border to Palam Vihar everyday, she says, “Men who travel in shared autos are very cheap. They look at you as if they haven’t seen a girl before. In evenings specially, I feel very insecure. Even the owners give cheap gestures. It is irritating to the core.”
Private Autos- Are a relatively new thing in Gurgaon, but not easily accessible everywhere, most of them are found around metro stations. They charge around Rs.12-15 a kilometre. The drivers charge a lot and agree to go after a lot of haggling, they sometimes also, refuse to go short distances. Pink ‘women special’ autos are also very few in number. There is a need for autos which go by meter like in Delhi.
Radio Autos: The Red Radio Tuk Tuk and the Blue Auto Call were a revolution in themselves-residents of Gurgaon could just call for a moderately-priced auto and it would come to their doorstep and take them wherever they needed to go in the city. Moreover they are armed with GPS, a security alarm and a mobile charging point, but what’s the use of the frills without any service? The radio autos are less in number (around 100), unless you call for them 4 hours before you are scheduled to leave, they will be unavailable. Sometimes, they do not arrive on time, getting late by an hour or two in the pretense of having to wait in line for fuel. Alisha, 20, said ” I take radio tuk tuks regularly to the metro station to go to college. Quite a few times, they came an hour or more late, this was extremely annoying, I called them up to tell them how dismal their service was, now they make sure to send the tuk tuk’s to me on time.” Geeta Johrey, 50, travels by radio tuk tuk everyday to her workplace everyday and is extremely happy with their service, though she hopes there ‘are no pan and gutka wrappers stuffed in the charging point or drivers smoking beedis.’
The Buses- Ancient Haryana Roadways buses aren’t the sexiest of the lot there is .They are old and mangled, smell of vomit and do not cater to large parts of Gurgaon . A few good CNG buses come and go at set timings <thank god for small mercies> everyday but cover only a few parts of Gurgaon. Also, they are extremely crowded and inter-city buses are also uncommon. Metro feeder buses are not available, nor are the authorities working towards the same.
The Metro- The metro has been a blessing to Gurgaon. Now, it is easier to go to work, come back from work and commute without traffic hassles. Going to Delhi has never been easier, no longer are daddies and drivers and cars required. Those who travel regularly always notice that there are delays of 10-15 minutes each day at peak hours. It is pretty annoying for those who have to reach work or college on time. Prachi Sharma, 19, says ,” I have missed so many lectures because this stupid metro inexplicably stops at Chattarpur station everyday! What does it stop for? Breakfast?” She wonders in mock speculation , “Maybe praying at one of the Chattarpur mandirs will ensure I don’t get short on attendance….?”.
Though the situation has improved in the past few years, connectivity in the ‘Millennium City’ remains a big issue. Perhaps it’ll take another millennium for residents to have no worries about transportation and their security, till then, bon voyage!