Commuting within and to/from Gurgaon can be nightmarish. There are issues to do with the lack of signage, unnamed/bad roads and traffic congestion, and even if I were to focus on just one aspect such as the means of transport, there would be a lot to be frustrated about.
For moving about the city, the only modes of public transport one sees with some effort are cycle rickshaws and shared autos. Cycle rickshaws became noticeable about 7-8 years ago, and even though they brought respite to people for ad hoc usage, with the city expanding rapidly and still full of poor roads, they can hardly be viewed as a viable option to commute. But while I’ve taken a cycle rickshaw at some point, I’ve never braved a shared auto till now.
Earlier, we saw just New Delhi-style auto rickshaws exhibiting ingenious use of cramped space by carrying 2 extra benches and about 10-14 people for a single trip – I believe they charged, and still do, Rs5/- for every fixed point of destination. We would see the semi-rural crowd from villages Jharsa, Kanhai, Sikanderpur and more, using them regularly. Now we also see some roomy ones sporting benches facing, and behind, the main seat but they are mostly noticed on the MG Road. They seem new, appear to allow respectable sitting space to its occupants and also carry some urban crowd in the form of BPO staff or young couples. But with their sparse network and the model of point-to-point trips, they prove unreliable for most janta.
Government buses don’t ply within the city but they do carry a lot of hapless commuters to Delhi on one side and Rewari, Manesar, Dharuhera, Pataudi on the other. They are certainly not a pleasant way to commute but where there is no choice, they’re considered a blessing. Some private builders have contracted buses to transport their inhabitants to Delhi or old Gurgaon, but most public is unaware of their schedule, and in any case these ramshackled buses can only be identified by their regular passengers.
Most of us are therefore learning to fend for ourselves by overcoming our fear of driving and by arranging any kind of wheels we can manage. This leads to much confusion and traffic on the city roads but a big positive of this phenomenon is the independence that women and older folk experience by learning to transport themselves.
Amid this confusion on our roads, of late we’ve been witness to regular construction activity at various points to usher in the Metro. Much of the inconvenience due to the Metro related mess reassures us that it’ll become a reality and improve the way we commute.