I am not an adventure sort of a person, or so, I thought till yesterday that is before, I had booked an Online Ticket for a Haryana Roadways bus from Delhi to Chandigarh, now I always knew, the reputation of our beloved Roadways, being born and brought up in Faridabad( Haryana), I have seen these mean blue machines roaring on our Roads for last 20 years now and yes, I have been told myriad stories by my friends of how it feels to be travelling in the Fastest thing on Indian Roads- The Roadways Bus!
In any Haryana Roadways Bus, there are 4 Main Characters;
1. The Driver ( Who thinks he should have been a Pilot and not a Bus Driver)
2. The Conductor ( Who thinks he should have been a IAS Officer but could only manage to be a Conductor)
3. The Traveler ( Who thinks travelling by Haryana Roadways should not be that bad or is it?)
4. The Haryana Roadways Bus!( The Blue Monster!)
The night before my journey, I was browsing online for Railways tickets to Chandigarh but was unable to book them, so I looked for Bus tickets and found this website for Haryana Roadways online ticket booking.(http://hartrans.gov.in/online/index.asp) I booked my tickets online after couple of attempts.
The real fun started once I reached the Bus Stop, as I boarded the bus, I saw a lady seating on my reserved seat, sounding as gentleman like as I could, I had the following conversation;
Me: Madam, I am sorry but I think you are seating on my reserved seat, which is W20
Lady: (Gives me a straight look which says Are you nuts?)
After 5 Secs( Which looked like a eternity)
Lady: I have been reserved on W20, here is my ticket!
Now, after seeing two tickets for the same seat, I contact the conductor for respite but found only surprise, our conversation went something like this;
Me: Sir, Their is a another person seating on my seat!
Conductor: Did you take a ticket?
Me: This is my online ticket!
Conductor: ( With a long look!) What is this?
Me: (Knew this would happen!) Sir, Online Ticket from your official website!
Conductor: Is it? but, I do not have any chart given to me, Why have you come so late? you should have come 20 mins earlier than others! ( In short you are wrong and I am right!)
Me: but, sir, How is that my problem? Their is no where written that I have to be 20 Mins earlier! What is your problem, I have a reserved ticket buddy!
Conductor: Ohh, so want to be the smart one, go talk to our manager, I am not going to take you!
Me:( Does not want to miss the bus is back to his Indian Best!) Arey sir, aap to naraaz ho gaye!( Why are you getting angry sir!) help me out please, I need to get to Chandigarh!
Conductor: To aisa bolo na!( The say it like this!), go sit on the front seat and from next time, do not try to be smart and book online roadways tickets!
Me: Never in my life Sir!
and, that was it, I got a seat and reached Chandigarh but I had an experience of how badly are our plans implemented in our system. I do not want to be a cry baby but who ever got this online program implemented should also look at customer support for which like all things in India their is no support and customer is left to himself. It should not be a stand alone system but an organization wide initiative.
Another interesting thing happened mid journey, our bus broke down mid ways about 80 kms before Chandigarh, all the passengers were off loaded on road and were forced to stop on coming buses to hitch ride, no compensation was given, no second arrangements were made, It is as if, nothing had gone wrong and all passengers went their ways without raising an iota of voice.
And, you know who gave us a ride till Chandigarh after our bus had broken down, it was another of our friendly Haryana Roadways Bus!:-)
Happens only in India!