Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Experiencing a Maharashtra State Transport Bus Journey

“Don’t tell me we will be taking those rickety red buses that ply on the roads here,” I asked my father.

“Yeah, those buses indeed!” he replied.

The only thought on my mind was how I was going to survive a 3 hour trip on one of those old iron buses whose engines make huge noises, the entire bus body crackles and on which I am bound to get motion sickness.

After a much needed respite from the heat, it had rained continuously for the last two weeks. It was a relief to see the sun up in the sky on Thursday morning, the day my sister and I were to leave from Chandrapur for New Delhi. Delay in planning had led to no direct train tickets availability on the route and so, we had got our tickets booked on the Bilaspur Rajdhani Express from Nagpur. This meant we had to cover the 154 kilometre distance from Chandrapur to Nagpur either by road or a local train to catch the Rajdhani.

The Government Bus Stand, Chandrapur, Maharashtra
We reached the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) government bus stand in Chandrapur around 3.15 PM and waited for our bus. There are regular services between Chandrapur to Nagpur every 10 minutes, and the buses almost always run with full capacity, my father informed us. I haven’t been on one of these local state buses in many years and was absolutely apprehensive about the journey.


Most of the buses go to the Nagpur Main Bus Stand, which is at a distance of 2 kilometres from the Nagpur Junction Railway Station. Some of the buses go to Mor Bhawan in Nagpur, and for going to the railway station, this is a more convenient and faster option. So we waited for the Mor Bhawan bus scheduled for 3.30 PM. Although every 10 minutes a bus started, there was no sign of the Mor Bhawan bus. Even the people at the Enquiry counter couldn’t say anything. At around 3.45 PM, we got on a Main Bus Stand bus, because waiting further would make it difficult for us to catch our 8.40 PM train from Nagpur. Not to forget, my sister and I had never been to Nagpur before.

There is no place to keep one’s luggage. No carrier on top or back of the bus. Everything has to be kept in the main cabin only. Thankfully, our bus was sparsely populated (and it remained that way the entire way till Nagpur) and we got good seats. The seats are not the old iron rod ones, as I had expected; they are well cushioned with arm rests (Don’t expect recliners). There was a lot of text written everywhere inside the bus, but all of it were instructions in Marathi. So, although I could read the Devanagiri script, I couldn’t understand most of it.

Being a journalism student, I have never heard of more than half of these newspaper names.
Picture taken at the Chandrapur Bus Stand
The bus started within 5 minutes and we waved goodbyes to our parents. I had already taken an anti-puking pill, but within a few minutes of the journey I knew they wouldn’t have been required. For one, the bus wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it (although from the exteriors, it does look the rickety types) and secondly, the highway was amazing.

The entire stretch from Chandrapur to Nagpur is a 4 lane highway. Popularly known as the ‘Nagpur Road’, the stretch is comprised of three sections- SH 264 from Chandrapur to Jamb and NH 7 till Nagpur. Probably it was because of the late afternoon timing, but the entire stretch seemed void of many vehicles. A smooth drive is easily possible. There are 4 toll booths on the way and recently, 3 of the 4 have been made free for 2 and 4-wheeler non-commercial vehicles.

And I thought the Arabic numerals were now a standard worldwide!
The bus ticket from Chandrapur to Nagpur
Even bad looks look good when there is a rhythm attached.
Exactly as I had noted during my Mumbai trip last year, the conductor returned exact change of two rupees when I paid the ticket amount. My father had also told him to inform us and help getting down at Raheta Colony in Nagpur, and he did that. We didn’t get down at Raheta because we had reached earlier than expected (at 7 PM) and decided to go the Main Bus Stand and see a little more of the city. We got down at the Main Bus Stand and easily got an auto rickshaw for the railway station, which is a little over 2 kilometres away.

What struck me as amazing was the cleanliness around the roads in Nagpur. The city actually looked beautiful. So was the railway station. With ample time in hand and with my craze for trains, we took a good tour of the station building, the platforms, the footover bridges (and the Bandra-Worli sealink replica over the station :P ). Our train arrived well before time at 8.15 PM and with it, our short sojourn with Nagpur came to a close.


Basic Details (Chandrapur to Nagpur):
Distance: 154 kms (Google Maps)
Connectivity:
Road- State run government buses ply throughout the day between both cities every 10 minutes (Fare: Rs. 164/-)
Rail- Chandrapur-Nagpur is on the North-South mainline of the Indian Railways. Chandrapur lies two hours away from Nagpur on the way to Hyderabad. Almost all North-South trains stop here.

Also read:


11 comments :

  1. This is a very helpful post for travellers! So necessary to write about such things as well as Mandir and flower photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandir and flower photos? (#Is this a spam comment?)

      Delete
  2. I love to travel in local buses and have done it a lot in Himachal, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Karnataka & Kerala. Nice post !

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  3. I have travelled several times on these buses but have never thought of writing about it. Well done. BTW it is Jam not Jamb.

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    Replies
    1. Google tells me there is a place called 'Jamgaon' a few kilometres away from Chandrapur. Also, there is a place called 'Jamb' which falls enroute to Nagpur. Can't find any place called 'Jam' (Can Google miss something out?)

      But may be it is the locals' given name to the place.

      Delete
  4. I haven't had the courage to travel in local bus for a long time now. But I think I must. Thanks for this post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should. Choose wisely though. Not all state buses leave you happy at the end of the journey. :D

      Delete
  5. Awesome! post Mr.Antarik, I love to travel in such type of local buses because,there is available of cheaper Bus Tickets and it makes me feel free and comfort.

    ReplyDelete

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