Saturday, 25 October 2014

Bus Stop Index

I have a fascination for buses, as some people do for trains, ships, trams, cars, motorbikes, and yes rockets. I take being a connoisseur of the commonplace seriously. Buses are perhaps the least appreciated, definitely the least glamorous, of motorized vehicles. Even bicycles are far more fashionable. Bicycle snobs abound; no bus snob exists. Part of the static infrastructure of buses is bus stops, where people wait. I believe buses and bus stops reflect a community, a government and the economy. 

Buses are one of the miracles of the 20th century, far more important for freedom and prosperity than most measures dealt with by economists. Economists use such measures as Consumer Price Index(CPI), Gross National Product (GNP), inflation, growth rates and the Gini coefficient - most people understand these poorly, and journalists, bureaucrats and social activists often have such a poor understanding of these, that their ignorance might be more useful. Mathematicians, fortunately, find these so practical, that they avoid them altogether.

I think a bus index and a bus stop index may be one useful index of the economy. The former is a index for the economy, with fares, people transported, times of operation, seating capacity, and being useful information. A bus stop index would merely reflect the aesthetic standards of a community, or the degree of apathy or engagement of local government. In Madras for the last few years, there are no bus stops in most places, so no shelter from rain and sun. This is purely a contractor issue and political one-up-manship.

Here are a few regular and a few unusual bus stops, that caught my eye, usually, when I was in a bus and had my hands free.

Kerala

Politics permeates every aspect of Kerala life, bus stops are no exception.

Thiripparaiyaar
Notice the post box on one of the pillars. And the complete absence of movie or business or siddha doctor pamphlets plastering the surfaces, unlike in Tamil Nadu.

Thiru Vallam - Congresss pillar
Thiruvallam - I took the photo from inside the bus stop. These are Congress colors not India colors, there are party flag posts outside. It has 3 seats, not in photo.

Trivandrum East Fort
I found this bus stop in Trivandrum city, near the Padmanabha Swamy temple. I like the aesthetic touch of the paavai vilakku (Lady with Lamp) statue aesthetically pleasing, though orange paint would not be my choice.

TamilNadu

Thiruneelakkudi - near Mayiladuthurai
You have to admit, that the bus stop at Thiruneelakkudi is more fancy than some houses or government buildings.

Suchindram
This one at Suchindram, the bus stop for the main temple, has a roof, slight modeled on a temple vimana, with kalasams on top!

Gujarat

My bus stop index idea is a recent one, and I took a few pictures of bus stops and buses while in Gujarat. This first yellow paint square shelter, outside Bhuj, is typical of rural areas, even in TamilNadu.

Bhuj

Naroda, Ahmedabad
This is a bus stop in Naroda, a suburb of Ahmedabad, with a long bus stop, and a few seats and a tea shop. Also quite typical. The next two, are the interior and exterior of BRTS bus stops in Ahmedabad - very atypical. Pune and Delhi are two other cities with BRTS. The one in Pune is a farce; I haven't been to Delhi.

BRTS bus stop - interior - Ahmedabad

BRTS  bus stop Ahemdabad
This one below, in Baroda, is actually more typical. A simple bus stop in Baroda, one of the cleanest cities I have seen. I did not see many buses in the early mornings, though. In Tamilnadu and Kerala buses are quite common, even in the early mornings. North Indian winters are cold, those states wake up late, so that's not a surprise.

Baroda

Mehsana
Finally, Mehsana, a small town with a simple bus stop. Sadly, still better than most of Madras.

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