Big green Himachal Road Transportation Corporation (HRTC) buses with 2/2 seat configuration, running betweenChandigarh and Bhunter (Himachal Pradesh,India), provide enough leg room and luggage storage space. However, broad leveled roads crisscrossing Kharar and Ropad inPunjab converge into narrow roads of varied gradients, fringed with deep valleys on one side and high mountains on the other side in Himachal Pradesh (HP), during 8-10 hours’ journey.
This transition in altitude and roads may cause hill sickness among a number of passengers. HRTC provides complimentary purple color hill sickness bags to vomit without leaving the bus since neither windows of AC bus can be opened nor bus can be stopped now and then to allow passengers to vomit. The buses have two roomy overhead storage racks throughout the length of passenger cabin and a spacious boot. However, coolie charges unjustifiable INR 10/- per piece of luggage to “throw” your luggage in the boot that just takes a split of second.
When I traveled by morning HRTC AC bus in the first week of this month broad clean glass windows unfolded panoramic views of the countryside, villages or towns located en route. I stretched and enjoyed scenery and a siesta in a reclining cushioned seat as I was fortunately on seat number 7. The ride was a breeze. However, sockets for charging mobile in both driver and passenger cabins were out of order.
I did not have advance reservation for return journey by the night HRTC AC bus so I had to accept any available seat irrespective of its location in the bus. It was seat number27. Inthe middle of the night, bus bumped along the rough road so the passengers, including me, occupying last 15 seats.
Jerky maneuvers of the bus shook my whole body and broke cozy embrace of sleep and forced me to look for something to hold on to avoid hitting against the interiors of the bus and injuries. I was asking myself why did not I reserved the seat. I heard other passengers allotted back seats were also complaining about this bumpy ride. Moreover, there was no socket to charge mobile phones. Does this bumpy ride with inadequate facilities worth INR 415/-? Next time I will also reserve a seat in one of the front rows for return journey.
Nevertheless, if 15 seats go empty per trip, HRTC will book substantial losses. Can’t bus design be improved?