Open letter to Himachal’s transport Minister GS Bali from an angry passenger

Dear Mr Bali Sir,

I am writing to you for the purpose of raising a public grievance around the shabby and pathetic condition of the HRTC TATA A/C buses plying on the Delhi Shimla route.

I have already tried contacting the concerned authorities via various social forums and your department’s so called helpline and complaints & grievance number +91-94180-00529 but to no avail.

To say the least, the conditions of these buses are deplorable and appalling. It seems that it has been ages since these buses have seen the sight of a workshop or mechanics. The omnipotent “JUGAAD” used by HRTC to fix issues at the cost of public exchequer are visible for all to see as soon as you enter an HRTC bus.

To eke out profit margins and in the name of on-time schedule, the buses have become a rotten hole and passengers are being duped of lakhs of rupees in the name of additional comfort of which they have no other solution/ back up plan.

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Since, the summer months have arrived, and the holiday season would soon be at its peak, the least we can do is to ensure that some repairs are carried out on these buses so that they become fit for plying again and do not bring about shame to the state government and all us folks alike. It really is a shameful manifestation when people travelling from outside the state talk ill about the condition of state’s functioning and finances. While on the other hand, Himachal is promoted as the number one hilly state in the country.

To give you a brief background, my plight started when I booked onto a TATA A/C bus plying on the Delhi Shimla route on 3rd May, 2015. The bus smelt of a pungent odour and many of the seats were torn to the smithereens. (Pictures enclosed alongside)

The real trouble started when the air conditioning was turned on. To everyone’s utter dismay, the air con vents were missing /broken and these had been smartly (pun intended) replaced by used plastic tea cups and polythene bags. (Mind you, polythene is banned in Himachal)

To make matters worse, the HRTC staff had no ideas about the air con temperature controls and the air conditioner was running at its maximum power. So much so that the driver had to shut it off when some fellow passengers complained about it being too cold for their liking. Once the air con was shut off, it became a much more harrowing experience, since there was no scope for ventilation and people had to ask him to start the air flow again.

Somehow, everyone adjusted to this but the real shocker came after the bus had traveled to the plains of Haryana and Punjab. The bus driver suddenly had an out of the realm supernatural inhibition of being the next Michael Schumacher and he constantly broke the maximum speed limits set for vehicles of this class on the NH1.

Furthermore, he was driving too dangerously to be called sane and safe. Twice was the bus on the verge of toppling over, since the driver thought of overtaking some slow moving traffic when road works were being carried out on some flyovers in Haryana.

I have enclosed a few pictures alongside for your perusal and viewing. Hopefully, you would somehow wake up from your slumber and mobilize resources within HRTC to take action on this to save the face of the department and the state.
Hoping for some fruitful action to be taken against all involved (which may or may not include you as well).

Thanks in advance
A responsible citizen who cares for Himachal and HRTC alike

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Himachal Watcher.

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