Monday, 1 July 2013

But the people are sensitive

My last two posts about my travels (travails?) in the US have not been so complimentary. However I would be unfair to my hosts if I did not comment on the many positives one sees here and contemplate ruefully on how far behind we in India (as well as most of the world, I would imagine) are. Let me comment on one fact I learnt as well as one personal experience.

First, `the ride' I learnt about, when I was in Boston; THE RIDE paratransit service provides door-to door, shared-ride transportation to eligible people who cannot use fixed-route transit (bus, subway, trolley) all or some of the time because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability.

Just imagine making a call around because you want to catch a bus at 7, and having the public transport system arrange to come and pick you up at your home about 6 and take you to the bus stop and put you on the bus! (See You can see how many centuries behind we in India are!

`My personal experience' concerns a bus ride I had to take from New ork ity to Massachusetts. We had chosen to go by bus because this cost under $20 while the train cost more than $150. In view of the necessarily no frills nature of the bus operation, there was no big bus stop with seats to wait on; instead the buses stopped by the pavement, and people waited patiently for their bus to come. But there had been some misunderstanding about when our bus was due. We realised that we had been issued tickets for the wrong day, and that we had a couple of hours for the next bus, on which we were able to get tickets. When this came to the knowledge of the administrators of the bus company, who were a bunch of African Americans (or black people as they were called before the current `politically correct lingo' came into effect) who were cherfully doing their jobs, directing people to the appropriate place to go. The one who seemed to be the chief there, was sitting on the only available stool there. When he saw my discomort/pain, he immediately and sweetly offered his seat to me, and asked me to sit there till our bus came, when he would put us in first and let us choose the seat most comfortable among those available. 

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