Don’t underestimate the preferences of the common man. Indian common man, the perennial, ever-present, the ubiquitous backbone of the Indian society, the middle class, makes or breaks any industry, hits or flops a film, ditches political regime or coronates it. Thus, don’t underestimate the preferences of the common man about their favourite mode of transportation as well.
India has a good, if not robust, public transport system. And then, there are the private transportations which clog the highways and narrow lanes alike. Let’s have a look at both.
Public Transport System
India has airlines, buses, metro and rails as the major public transportation system. Some other less common modes might be the auto of Delhi or Mumbai, trams of Kolkata, and other localised versions of different standard and semi-standard public transportation. However, nothing is as hugely popular, effective, far-reaching and affordable as INDIAN RAIL!
Indian Rail (IR) is the undisputed king of public transport in India. No matter where you want to go, you have Indian Rail. As on the end of 2015-16, IR’s rolling stock comprises over 251,256 Freight Wagons, 70,241 Passenger Coaches and 11,122 Locomotives 39 steam, 5,869 diesel and 5214 electric locomotives, according to Wikipedia. More than 13,000 passenger trains run daily to carry millions of common people (along with Netas, MPs, Ministers and other freeloaders of the system) from one place to another, be it daily commuting to the nearby city for work or moving long distance across India.
Even when not travelling for needs, Indian Railways is there for the common Indians. Whether you want the toy trains of Darjeeling or the super expensive Palace on Wheels, Indian Railways is always catering to our middle class needs. Yes, we can’t always afford Palace on Wheels, why we can’t always afford even the 1st AC of Rajdhani, but still, the point is proven.
Indian rail provides basic protection to every traveller by including a kind of travel insurance for them. If someone dies or gets injured due to a train accident, he/she or the next of kin would receive a good sum of money.
Do you know you can go to Pakistan and Bangladesh (be careful when you go) on Indian Railways? Don’t believe me? Do a Google search and check. 🙂
Private Transport System
Cars and bikes, the choice is rather less here, unless of course you are Ambani-esque and own choppers (what happened to helicopters, the word I grew up using!). While cars are becoming more commonplace, due to the very high rate of fuel and India’s sad dependency on import, the common man prefers, yes, bikes. I don’t say it; the stats say it.
India is the home of the highest number of bikes in the world and we are adding a few thousand bikes every day on the road, tells a lot about the bike love of Indians. However, this love is not always voluntary. A bike would give you 60 KMPL, think of a car’s mileage. Secondly, wide roads are for Hindi films, we all need to take the “2nd cut from the shiv mandir, 3rd house, 2nd floor” route to reach our home which leaves us very little room to park our cars. Finally, with Rs 1 lakh Nano dream evaporating, bikes are much more affordable for any Indian.
All these reasons accumulate to give us a huge preference towards bikes. Think of a road where you don’t come across a bike, a locality where no house has bikes parked in front or a TV show where bikes are not advertised! Indian brands like Hero, TVS, Bajaj or the foreign players like Kawasaki, Honda and others are known to everybody. Every brand has a cricketer or film-star endorsing the bikes. Why those alone, even brands like Harley Davidson and Ducati have strong presence in India.
However, unlike Indian Railways, the manufacturers don’t cover you with a life insurance nor would they provide a two-wheeler insurance for free. It would be prudent that you choose a bike insurance, which will offer you coverage in case of loss or damages caused to your vehicle or/and third-party. Getting a bike insurance is easy and if you are lazy like me, you can buy it online as well. There are long-term two-wheeler insurance policies also which promise to offer you coverage for a longer tenure of say two or three years in one go. Moreover, you can also do bike insurance renewal online giving you the least headache about the whole process. You will receive multiple emails and calls before the due date of insurance premium.
However, I will finish on a slight healthy note. Enough of cars, bikes, choppers, Ola, Uber and flights. Walk, if possible, as much as you can. Not on treadmills, but to work, to the nearby garden or just a leisure walk. You will do all the humanity a favour by leaving fewer carbon footprints and yourself the favour of a healthy body. The umbilical cord with nature will remain intact as well and no ride, no insurance offers you that.