Saturday, 29 October 2011

6. Public Transport

Using Public Transport is a good Reality Check.
So, when I had to travel from Marthandam to Kanyakumari and onward to Thiruvananthpuram, I decided to use Public Transport.

To begin with, I had to pay only Rs. 17/- (Yes, you read it right!) for  Marthandam to Kanyakumari, - a distance of approximately 40 kilometers.
Marthandam to Kanyakumari Bus Charges

The roads are good - narrow but in good condition. The driver and the conductor were friendly. They did not speak either English or Hindi and the bus board was only in Tamil, but I could manage to convey them my destination.

The condition of the bus was very poor. See what supports the board.

What did 'SSS' indicate I did not know. From where this bus was coming, I did not know. Somehow I could read 'Kanyakumari' written in Tamil and did run for the bus, then the driver and conductor helped me.  The journey was bit 'fast and furious' but enjoyable.

While returning to Thiruvananthpuram, I chose Railway. My favorite train is 1082 Up Kanyakumari Mumbai express. Now it is numbered something else - five digit number - something like 13682 - I am not sure.

I always like to visit Kanyakumari Railway station.

Especially early in the morning at 5.00, the sea breeze is very cool and that is the time I generally leave  Kanyakumari. So, I was bit nostalgic. This photo is taken at 11.00 am and not at 5.00 am.

Well, and the ticket costs just Rs. 31/- This distance is 87 kilometers. If I had hired a car, I would have paid at least Rs. 2500/- for the same journey.

Public Transport does not save only money. It opens our eyes. For  example, in this train journey I met a group of 7 people (6 women and 1 man) from Saran district (now called Chapara, Bihar) who were visiting South. They were happy to speak Hindi with me. None of them spoke English, how did they manage in this strange part of the country?

"Did you enjoy the food here?" I asked.
"We don't know. We are carrying Sattu flour with us" - they told me.

What do we need when we travel?
Maybe, just a place to sit. That is all.
Public Transport offers that.


  1. nice post
    yes sign language works.
    condition of the bus is not good but if someone checks that how much expenditure was incurred on the buses it will show huge ---------------
    sure you know it.

  2. sm, the board indicates "from where the bus is coming" - I have taken this snap from inside; so I could not at all 'read' it. And yes of course, there would be lot of money 'officially' spent on these buses!!

  3. Truly, a place to sit is the key requirement.
    I've visited kanyakumari twice only कन्याकुमारी रेल्वे स्टेशन छान लक्षात राहिलं आहे, मलाही आवडतं ते :-)

  4. This was an eye opener in many ways. I sulk when asked to travel using public transport :| and now when I am in London I have to use public understand that in India, it can save this much of money and convenient, I guess it is time I open my mind to a different mode of travel when in country....


  5. Well, Public Transport in India is not really good. However, millions have to use it without other options. It certainly needs improvements. And you get to meet 'different' kind of people :-)


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