Buses in India have an image problem, which makes it harder to get public support for buses. But they have so much untapped potential. Here’s why we think buses are the coolest.
When we launched the Bus4us campaign in 2022, we knew what we were getting into. Buses in India don’t usually get the warmest welcome. They’re often seen as the underdogs of transportation – unexciting, slow, and inconvenient. But, you know what? Buses have so much untapped potential if we give them a chance.
Three reasons why buses have great potential
1. People Power
Picture a bus carrying 60 passengers. Now, imagine if those 60 people were all driving their cars individually. Traffic nightmare, right?
2. Flexibility Matters
Buses can easily adapt their routes to match the changing needs of commuters. That’s not something you can say for those fixed metro lines.
3. Your Doorstep Service
Buses can pick you up just a short walk away from your starting point. Convenience at its best.
But here’s the catch. Buses in India often find themselves stuck in the slow lane, dealing with overcrowding, sparse numbers, and less-than-ideal conditions. So, our mission with Bus4us was clear – we needed to get people excited about buses. That was easier said than done because, let’s be honest, buses didn’t exactly have a reputation for being cool or efficient. Everybody wants to back a winner, right?
The real issue is that without strong public demand, buses won’t get the attention and funds they deserve. Instead, those funds often get funnelled into building more flyovers. You’d think flyovers would solve traffic problems, but they only shift traffic from A to B (like a band-aid solution to surgery). And then, they usually make things worse by attracting more cars on the roads. So, why do we keep investing in solutions that don’t work for the larger public?
The simple answer is that people haven’t yet imagined how awesome buses could be. Just think about it: sleek, modern buses you can reach within a 5-minute walk, taking you wherever you need to go, running so frequently that you don’t need to check a schedule, and enough of them so you always get a seat. Imagine comfortable buses with their own lanes, zipping past traffic. Imagine buses being safe because of more women staff, well-lit streets with improvements, and stops on request for women. Now, are you on the winning side?
Consider this: A well-organised bus system can provide a great alternative for private vehicle owners. With that, if vehicles have to pay the price for causing congestion, buses could become an obvious choice. If more folks take the bus, it will cut a lot of chaos on the streets, reduce air pollution, and save you money.
It’s time to rethink buses in India. They have the potential to transform our cities into more efficient, eco-friendly, and accessible places. With your support, we can make buses the real heroes of urban transportation.
Our campaign in Bengaluru started with promoting the airport bus, Vayu Vajra. During the campaign, we capture the public’s love and support for buses, along with their dreams of better bus services.
Amdavad, aka Ahmedabad, has a dedicated Bus Priority Lane stretching over 100+ km. The campaign has a fun element, associating joy with bus commuting. It also highlights the everyday stories of the bus commuters, their hopes, and dreams. The idea is to brand buses as cool and aspirational.
Do you take the bus often? Share your bus story with us by using #bus4us on Instagram or Twitter, or email your bus stories to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you like to know more about the Bus4us Campaign? Check out our blog ‘Bus4us: A Citizen-Led Campaign for More, Better and Faster Buses’.