A line from Kannada movie goes: ”ಕಾರ್,ಕಾರ್,ಕಾರ್,ಕಾರ್ ಎಲ್ನೋಡಿ ಕಾರ್ ... "ನಮ್ಮೂರಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಗೇನಿಲ್ಲ ಬಸ್ಸಲ್ ಜಾಗ ಸಾಕಾಗಲ್ಲ ... ಟಾಪಲ್ ಕೂತು ಬೀಡಿ ಸೇದ್ತಾರೆ...!" (lead actress refers to large number of cars in America, hero, originating from a village in Karnataka, says “its not like that in our village-there won’t be enough space in the bus, hence people sit on top and smoke Beedi”
Public transportation is scarce at majority of the villages in India. While a few do have state run or private buses plying, many prefer smaller vehicles like tempos, jeeps, Tata Magics and the likes.
Below are some photos of an overcrowded jeep, spotted near a village on the way to Araku valley in Andhra Pradesh. (Read this post about share auto driver shaking hands with foreign tourist at the same spot)
Being weekly market day, the crowd was larger than usual. The jeep in picture below, is fully packed with close to 35 people (5-6 in front row, 5-6 in second row+ another 5-6 people on the makeshift wooden plank seat in between first and second row, 6 in rear side of the jeep, about 10 on top, 3-4 on bonnet, with few people still negotiating with the driver.
There’re some unique reasons why people prefer jeeps and vans, even when bus services are available:
- Buses usually have fixed stops while jeeps stop anywhere
- Buses have fixed fares while you can always bargain with jeep driver
- Buses may not be frequent enough
- Most of the places the roads are too small/ too bad for buses and jeep and tractors are the only drivable vehicles (we often go out in search of places to off road while these people drive on non-existent roads every day)
Either because of compulsions (of not having a better alternatives) or to save some time/money, many risk their lives and travel in overcrowded vehicles in lakhs of villages all over India. Seat belt, airbags, seating capacity.. what are these things?
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