How I am treated on BMTC buses as a woman senior citizen

public transport is not a friendly place

…Mostly, without any courtesy, is my sad answer.

I do not own a car, and use public transportation (read buses…the Metro is yet to be within useful reach for me).

I know that senior citizens are entitled to a 25% discount on all BMTC fares, except on Vayu Vajra (presumably, the assumption is that if I can afford to take a flight or even visit the airport, I can pay the full fare!).

I also know that there are two seats reserved each for women and men senior citizens.

However, over the two-plus years that I have been using the buses as a Senior Citizen, I find that rarely do people get up to offer me the reserved seat…even when I ask them to. (I don’t ask if I find a woman with a child, or a disabled man, in the seats.)

The conductors and drivers, as a rule, do not help me out. On the contrary, their behaviour is consistently rude, When, unable to get the seat, I stand near the driver, I am often harassed to go to the back of the bus, where I will certainly not find a seat. Twice I have been harassed to get out of the bus if I did not move to the back, even when, on one occasion I explained that I was going to get out two stops later.

Conductors often try to cheat me of the change due to me, “forgetting” to give me the rupee or two which they should return. The air-conditioned buses have NO reserved seating for senior citizens (one reason that I prefer ordinary buses, the other being the music that blares in the a/c buses.)

Nor are co-passengers usually considerate to me. I am generally knocked about and arrive at my destination travel-crumpled.

Yes, I decided to give up my car and use buses as a “green” principle…but there are times when I wonder if it is worth it to stick by one’s principles!

Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 713 Articles

Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

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