New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) For three months, Amit Mishra hoped the familys waitlisted tickets on a train to Bihar would get confirmed. When he failed to get reserved seats, the Delhi resident decided to take a bus to Madhubani.
Mishra, flanked by his wife and son and waiting for the bus near the Anand Vihar bus terminus here, said he was aware of a recent accident in which a Delhi-bound bus fell into a 20-foot deep pit and burst into flames in Bihars East Champaran district.
“It is not a matter of choice for us. But what option do we have other than taking a bus for such a long route,” he asked, pointing out that the over 1,000-km trip to the Bihar district would take more than 20 hours.
Mishra said the Rs 2,000 per seat he had to shell out on the privately run, air-conditioned bus was significantly higher than what a train ticket would have cost him.
“I had booked my train tickets barely days after the start of the advance reservation period (ARP), and still they did not get confirmed,” said Mishra, who is originally from Bihar.
Many of those lining up for buses said they had opted for a road trip either because there were no tickets or due to the fact that trains to Bihar were running late by several hours. Or, as some said, it was a combination of the two factors.
“I have heard that trains are running late because of work on rail tracks but the Railways should make some alternative arrangements so that passengers do not suffer,” Faridabad resident H K Jha said.
Jha, also from Bihar, was among those who had not managed to procure a train ticket, but he was not unduly worried about possible accidents on the long road trip.
“Accidents may take place anywhere. Train derailments, plane crashes keep happening. So, whats the big deal about a bus accident,” he asked.
But like Mishra, Jha blamed the government for the dearth of confirmed train tickets.
“I had offered to pay up to Rs 5,000 to a broker for a confirmed Tatkal ticket in an AC train, but it was of no use. I had to go for a bus ride instead,” he said.
But the passengers loss was the bus operators gain.
The area was humming with activity, with people lining up in front of a dozen private operators whose buses ply on the long route between Delhi and various destinations in Bihar.
Some of the operators said all their tickets for the day had been booked.
Scores of passengers were either seen negotiating for tickets or waiting for their bus at the tour operators offices.
A few operators said after the accident, they had cautioned their drivers to take due care on the journey.
But accidents on the routes were not rare.
In March this year, a Bihar-bound bus from Delhi dashed against a dumper near Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh, killing at least five people and injuring several others.
Last year in March, a bus on its way to Madhubani turned turtle near Bihars Muzaffarpur district, killing five people who were on their way home from Delhi to celebrate Holi with their families.
On Thursday, the private air-conditioned bus on its way from Muzaffarpur had skidded off NH-28 at around 5 pm in Belwa village under the Kotwa police station area. Locals claimed the driver had taken a sharp turn on the highway while trying not to hit a motorcycle after which the bus fell into the pit and burst into flames.
East Champaran District Magistrate Raman Kumar said no one died in the accident and that a total of 13 passengers, who had boarded the bus from its starting point of Muzaffarpur, were undergoing treatment for injuries.