Friday, November 02, 2007

longest path first

i used to travel home daily from work by rickshaw. these days though, thanks to various reasons, i occasionally take a bus home.

taking a bus vs. taking a rickshaw may seem like a simple time vs money tradeoff, but it isn't as simple. taking a bus has quite a few advantages too:

  • if i get to sit, a bus is more comfortable

  • if i have a book (which i usually don't because it's too much effort, but still...), i can read in the bus

  • if i get to sit, i can sleep in the bus as i don't have to worry about hanging on while the ric swerves around corners and vehicles :D, or giving directions for that matter

  • the air in the bus is much cleaner, as a ric is usually right in the face of the exhaust of a diesel-guzzling truck that's invariably stuck right next to the ric in a traffic jam

  • the sound of traffic is much less in a bus, so i can enjoy good music all the way, and not just outside traffic jams

  • and then again, taking the bus one-way costs a good 50 bucks less than a ric. not very significant on any given day, but it adds up to a half-decent sum at the end of the month :P

so with all these advantages, and the fact that my evening is effectively already over when i step out of the office (i left a little past 9 today), i decided to take a bus.

to put it all in perspective, i shall put a comparision of the time it usually takes to travel home from my office:

  • 20 minutes: rickshaw after midnight (when there's no traffic and few signals)

  • 25 minutes: bicycle after midnight (again, when there's no traffic and few signals)

  • 30 minutes: bicycle at any non-traffic-free time of day (yeah, the signals add that 5 minutes - i just love weaving through traffic jams on my cycle :))

  • 40 minutes: rickshaw during typical peak rush

  • 50 minutes: bus 202/707 during typical peak rush

  • 65 minutes: bus 224 during typical peak rush and the current state of the road (it goes by a road that's in pretty bad shape)

  • 110 minutes: today.

the interesting part is how. seriously, a perfect combination of bad timing and bad luck.

i got out of the office at 9pm

5 minutes later, the office car that drops us to the main road arrived

for some strange reason the car waited for 5 minutes before leaving (it usually leaves every 5 minutes, and when i checked today's log book, it actually skipped its 9:05pm trip)

after 5 minutes of waiting, 2 buses arrived. bus 202 and bus 707. both follow the same route, but 707 costs a buck more. i obviously got into bus 202.

when i brought my ticket, the conductor told me the bus won't take its usual route, but would stop at the depot halfway. since it was too late to change buses now, and i already had a pretty good seat, i decided to sit on.

about 2/3rds of the way through it's shortened route, i saw another bus waiting at a signal, waiting to join the road my bus was travelling on. it was bus 206, which goes all the way to (almost) my doorstep.

i got off at the next stop, since that would increase my chances of getting a good seat in that bus, which i would be taking to go home anyway

i waited for a couple of minutes, and the bus arrived. i got on the bus.

2 minutes later, when i'm purchasing my ticket, the conductor told me the bus will stop halfway through its usual route. unfortunately, it's too late to change my mind now - that's the only bus route that goes from that stop to my home. i sit on.

i alighted at its last stop, borivli station. walked to the next stop, as there's a single queue for both the buses that go to my home.

there was no bus for the next 10 minutes.

when a bus finally arrived, it wasn't bus 206, but the one that goes almost till my home and then takes another road, 1 stop before my home. to top it all, it was jam packed, and i barely squeezed into the door before it started moving. the only plus was that i met ralston in the bus.

finally, at 10:50pm, i reached home (or rather, one stop away from home). trudged my weary ass up the stairs and crashed into the first chair i could reach.

in retrospect, i should have taken the ric.

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