This is the article I sent to the NXG supplement of the Hindu, some nine months back. It did not get published, and since my blog is the one place where I can do as I please (now, how cool is that? :)), I am posting it here now.
Who said you have got to make use of your own vehicle because public transport is not so interesting?
It can be fun you know. MTC bus journey in the city can be enjoyable (conditions apply!). I travel by them to college every day. It takes about one and a half hours in the mornings and a solid two hours in the evenings (phew!). The following are some of the interesting observations I made:
Number 1: You may have waited for a particular numbered bus for even up to half an hour (especially in the evenings), but two or three of it, will come one behind the other, often racing each other (causing you to curse with rage!).
Number 2: Okay, now is the best one. Let’s say, you did not give the right change to the conductor and he (mostly) does not return your exact change, falling short of a 50 paise. What do you do? My advice: Shut up. If you ask for it, you will get a cold stare or will get scolded badly for not giving the correct change! Just kidding, you have every right to ask back your money, at least be prepared as to what to expect after reading my article ;)
Number 3: Even if the bus is literally empty, many young guys prefer travelling in the foot boards (boys will be boys?!). This of course, is not applicable, to AC buses and the closed door ones. They particularly find joy in hitting the bus, singing some dumb songs, and exhibiting ‘monkey’ like behavior. And they travel in groups. Nobody bothers as long as they don’t bother someone. Some conductors don't allow this and yell at them to come up, but most don't mind.
Number 4: Passengers are often kind to each other- like all good things in life, conditions apply; say for instance, not applicable if the bus is too crammed. When people stand with heavy bags, people sitting get it from them and have it until either one of them gets down. This is particularly helpful for school kids (who, by the way, seem to carry bags that weigh more than them!).
Number 5: When pregnant women travel standing, people seated always get up and give place for them to sit. This is applicable for very old people and mothers with infants or toddlers too.
Number 6: Commuters help each other by passing money and tickets (some passengers though, can be quite unwilling about participating in this free trade, don't disturb them, for your own good!).
Number 7: Most of the drivers are passenger- friendly, even if they had already started from the bus stop, when they see people coming towards the bus, they wait until they get in.
Number 8: Now, here is information, which many people don't seem to know. If you get the so called 30 Rupees ticket from a conductor in any of the MTC buses, you can travel anywhere within the city, in any number of MTC buses (except AC buses and the night buses), for the whole day. You can make use of this if you switch between buses, saves money. And there are other kinds of tickets also, like you can avail the same facility for a month by paying 600 bucks.
A few points in this article may be superannuated now. For instance, point number 8 was not so well known back then, but awareness about it would have improved by now. And the 30 bucks and 600 bucks tickets’ rate may have changed. But I suspect that it will not be so, coz the TN Government rarely increases the rates of bus tickets; even after the Central Government announced the increase in the fuel prices recently, the TN Govt. announced that it won’t increase ticket prices. Over here, the ticket rates were increased by one rupee the very next day (sigh) - for ordinary buses, for ACs it was much more. The rest still hold good I guess.