That is the acronym for Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.
Well, they make and run the buses that I have been boarding every day to get to school since the last 3 years.
It's the best bus-service in the southern states. I'm pretty sure of that. I've boarded city buses in Delhi, mumbai, chennai, Nepal, Lucknow, Pune and so many other places. Hyderabad wins hands down.
The reason I've shrugged off the buses in those places is because of the poor way in which they are maintained. You should see the buses in Delhi and Mumbai, it's as though they have been coated with a paint of dirt. It feels as though nobody has cleaned them in decades. Or that's probably because I'm used to seeing innumerable buses in Hyderabad that are spotlessly clean.
Anyway, coming back, the reason I'm writing this is to tell you all about some of my experiences in them in the past few years. I've learned stuff that can only be gained from experience and trust me, you won't find it in any hand-book. However, those tips are for a later post. In this entry I'll just be talking about random stuff.
I travel in RTC buses around 3 times a day and spend almost 1 and a half hours in waiting and travelling in the buses. Give of take 15 minutes. Out of those 3, 2 are for travelling to and fro school while the other is for coming back home from a training institue I attend in the early hours of morning.
On an average, I spend about 24 rupees a day. Btw, that was just for trivia :P
Anyways, the most common buses that I catch are the metro deluxe buses. They're the blue colored ones with the electronic displays.
I am lucky to live in malakpet. Why? Around 7 buses go to my preffered destination, lakdikapul. The few numbers are 225, 217, 218, 156, 100 (some versions of it). And a few others that I can't recollect right now.
The waiting usually sucks but that's not the case for me because buses keep coming on and off all the time and my usual waiting time is around 2-4 minutes. That's pretty fast. You'll know what I'm talkig about if you have to wait for a bus in some remote area. It's incredibly fast if you compare it with that!
Anyways, since my school timings hardly change, I catch the same bus 75 percent of the time. What I mean by 'same bus' is the conductor. So, over the past 3 years, I can say that I have seen almost 90% of the conductors who work in the morning shift and work in buses that go towards the lakdikapul area.
Anyways, over the past 3 years I've seen some conductors so many times that I hardly need to tell the name of my destination. The already know what I'm going to say because they have seen me so many times!
So, today, When I was coming home from evens. I boarded a bus and saw a conductor whom I had not seen in many days. He just saw me and gave a smile of recognition :D and, that conductor is...umm...let's just say that he reminds me of Musharraf. Yup, the Pakistani president :D
I liked it. Who wouldn't?
Fast forward 40 minutes. I had just climbed aboard a metro deluxe with the number '217'. I looked around for the conductor and he turned out to be someone I used to see a lot of. When he came to collect the tickets, I handed him a ten-rupee note and I didn't even need to whisper 'lakdikapul'. He just looked at me and nodded his head. And then, while giving me the ticket, he smiled and said "it's been quite a while since you last came". I returned the smile and replied "yeah..."
Let me describe him to you ( who knows when you might run into him?). He is a bit tall - taller than me atleast! - in his late forties or early fifties probably, his hairline is receeding and he wears specs. You get the idea! I'll try and get a picture of him when I get an iPhone :P
Anyways, these two incidents made the day for me. I started of the day feeling not-so-good about it but then, these incidents...well...they brought a smile to my face and are the reason I'm writing this right now.
Anyways, my stop is approaching. Until next time.
(Writing on computer)
So, I wrote all that on my trip back home in a SETWIN.
Ironic eh? Anyway, here's some invaluable advice from me --
" Never board a SETWIN if you can help it."
Seriously, that's got to be the best advice I can give you. I say so because of a variety or reasons -- The buses are pretty cramped, the seats are 'tauba-tauba', the conductors grumpy, the driver's 'bekaar'. An ordinary journey from home to school would take me around 20 minutes in an RTC bus but, in a SETWIN, it's bound to be around 27-30 minutes. They stop for a pretty long time at every bus stop. Added to all that, they don't give tickets.
TRUST ME. NEVER CLIMB A SETWIN BUS UNLESS It's for the following reasons
-- If you are tired and the RTC buses are jam-packed and the SETWIN is empty. Go inside and take a seat. Though uncomfortable, it'll be okay.
-- If RTC is on strike. (Doesn't happen a lot but, yeah, sometimes it does)
If you climb a SETWIN for any other reason, you are 'doomed'!
And...I've got some personal reasons :P The effing conductors don't mind their own business unlike their RTC counterparts. They poke into everything. And, added to that, they keep yelling at us to go inside..inside...inside.
Anyway, that's the end of my rant.
Until next time,