Travel in air-conditioned (AC) buses in Bangalore reminds me of the early days of plane travel where the atmosphere was quite rarefied. People usually dressed for the occasion, prim and proper. The chatter of railway journeys was absent (even now it is the same).
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As for the AC buses in Bangalore, it is not that people boarding these buses dress up for the occasion but it is just that normally they are better-dressed than the ones traveling in ordinary buses. The only sound you hear in AC buses is either that of the AC or the conductor! The AC buses also remind me of the first-class travel in Mumbai suburban trains. People are quite tight-lipped there too.
Anybody above the age of 40 would feel totally out of place in these buses. The peak hours are almost fully dominated by citizens of youngistan. One can count the people with white hair or no hair. Women usually occupy the front seats. This is a hangover from the days when they traveled in ordinary buses. There are no signs indicating that the seats are reserved for women. But they do feel that they have the first right on those seats. Even when the seats at the back are vacant, many of the women do not prefer to go there.
As for the elderly or the physically disabled, there are no separate seats for either. Also offering seats to the needy is not practiced in Bangalore, whether AC or no AC.
Also, only certain routes are covered by these buses. Most of them have destinations like Electronic City or ITPL or some such IT-haven. As for the fares, they were high but manageable a few months ago. The fact that fares have been increased substantially give further signal that it is especially the IT crowd that the authorities are after.
Thus, one cannot help feeling that the AC buses are essentially for the affluent (comparatively) and the young (comparatively). For others, there is always the older dabbas! ⊕