Bangalore was not new for me but I could not recognize anything of it when I came back last year. I chose to stay close to my kids’ school than office and that made my commute to work interesting. Interesting because I had to familiarize myself with the various routes, I had to understand the traffic pattern depending upon the time of the day and every day I had interesting observations. I see people trying to find the fastest way to reach their destination despite knowing the fact that they will reach at the same time as the others. My amusement lasted for couple of months and then I was ready to give my expert opinion on the most favourite topic of any gathering that is ‘Bangalore Traffic and it’s side effects’.
I started feeling some kind of uneasiness. No, Not due to pollution or stress but kind of guilt.
“How can I do my bit to solve the problem than being part of the problem?”.
When the roads are unable to breath due to congestion and when congestion is due to number of cars on the road, on what moral ground can I take my car out and call myself responsible?
So, what are the alternatives?
The easiest alternative was commercial carpools. You book for carpool and the app will find other seekers on the same route to make it a pool. I tried that but real test of a solution is when you desperately need it. It was raining and I needed a cab. Interestingly I could not find one. As I had no other option and could not have waited more so went on the streets to find a commute.
Aha! A Beautiful airconditioned bus with enough places to sit. I jumped inside, despite the fact that I had to change bus to reach my home but it was a pleasant experience. I paid almost the same amount as I would have paid to pool taxi but got better comfort here.
I downloaded app to track the busses and decided to take bus for rest of my life. It was convenient and I could use it comfortably. After couple of weeks I started feeling the pain as busses do not come at their scheduled time and waiting at bus stop for more than half an hour seemed counterproductive. I used to waste time on traffic and on top of it I used to waste time on waiting for busses. So despite liking this solution I could not consider this as a sustainable one. Now I was back to square one. Take my own car.
Interestingly in Bangalore Personal Car Pool apps are well advertised. So I found one. But it was a matter of discomfort for me to call somebody and tell that join me on my trip to office/home and pay me this much money. But app was quiet intelligently designed so that I dont have to say a thing. When I posted my ride first time one lady working in a bank asked for a ride. I reluctantly accepted. I was not sure what is not right and what I should avoid while strangers on board. But still went ahead with anxiety and apprehension.
I stopped at the said spot where my passenger was expected to get picked up. The good part of this car pooling app is, it asks you to set your route and ensures ride takers come to a spot on your route. I called the person and she picked up immediately and apologised for the delay. She said it will take few more minutes for her to reach the spot. Then I looked at my watch and realised that I reached the spot earlier than expected. So I did not mind waiting and she joined in couple of minutes.
For first few minutes I could sense an uncomfortable silence inside the car and luckily my radio was on. Then I could not take this discomfort anymore so started asking questions to know more about her. I understood this is not her first day as really de taker. I confessed by discomfort and my lack of knowledge in do’s and don’t when you offer ride for carpooling. She shard her experience and that made me comfortable as I understood there is nothing different expected and I should be just as I am. Then on I became a professional carpooler in my route. I did not mind waiting for a ride taker at times and other times I said then sorry and moved on. Some occasions I kept speaking throughout the article me hour ride and at times I didn’t speak a single work.