The King Long B.E.S.T AC bus scam has already been beaten to death by one and many in the world of media. At the end of the day, nobody seems accountable for the fact that in the name of King Long buses from China, buses that were purchased were in effect made in India. Mumbai Mirror covered the entire scam but no one gave answers. What is strange is the company King Long never hit back against any of the allegations either! You can read more about Mumbai mirror’s coverage of the issue here. Well, here’s my personal experience aboard one such King Long, err, Fultoo Desi.
|Image source: Mumbai Mirror
I usually avoid B.E.S.T AC buses because I have known them to be super slow along with malfunctioning ACs leaving the interiors all stuffy as well as the fact that they have become notoriously famous for leaving commuters stranded owing to a host of mechanical faults. But because there seemed to be none others in tow, my mother and I were aboard yet another useless AC B.E.S.T bus where the air conditioning was not functioning (at all!) and the bus was super-slow. So when we finally complained to the conductor, upon discussion with the driver, they pulled into a depot and brought it to a halt to be checked by the mechanic. The conductor and the driver both hailed curses on the mechanic since they had apparently raised this issue already with him in the morning before driving it out of the depot. The mechanic however, had okay-ed the bus and had said everything was working fine. Allegedly, since that conversation, the AC had broken down multiple times that morning. While we argued with the mechanic, bolstering the conductor’s and driver’s statements other commuters were absolutely silent. Finally, because we were running late we fought to travel by a normal bus where we wouldn’t pay for the tickets because we had already paid for the AC bus (way higher than the non-AC!) which had been brought into the depot after not even five minutes of travel and we still had a long way to go. Initially though the ticket-checker wouldn’t let us, despite the fact that B.E.S.T’s the one that stood to gain money, he finally let us. It was probably just to get rid of us though! As we got into the non-AC bus, I heard a commuter from the AC bus saying he was okay to travel by that same bus, he didn’t mind that it didn’t have AC and was slow. His argument: Not everyone in Mumbai has AC in their homes or cars. “People don’t walk around with an AC on their head, do they?” He remarked animatedly.
My point: People who do not have AC in their homes don’t pay for one do they? And if they do, do they not have a right to expect a decent level of service? At the end of the event, I was still left with a bad taste in my mouth. Arguing with the bus driver/conductor/mechanic was hardly going to solve the problem, especially if we were the only ones doing that. It’s not a question of a few rupees, its a question of accountability.
Are commuters in AC buses expected to be cool and classy and standing up against such scams considered lowly? Why is everyone expected to just go along with the nonchalance charade? What’s with the ‘Chalta Hain‘ attitude?
I would love to hear your views!