Coimbatore Bus Mafia and Adventure Trip to Ooty
Heard of black tickets? Well you must have somany times. After Aamir Khan glorified selling black tickets big way in Rangeela, Chennai’s private bus operators couldnt help but pick up a trick or two of the trade.
So there I am, unaware of the UCBTM (Undergroud Coimbatore Bus Transportation Mafia) cancerously proliferating and thriving in Koyembedu’s (where the hell is this?) backyard.
Little background on How Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore form this ugly transportation three-some:
Distance between Coimbatore and Chennai: 470 KM
Distance between Coimbatore and Bangalore: 380 KM
Distance between Bangalore and Chennai: 330 KM
Loosely put, these three cities form a almost geographical equilateral triangle. Triangles are interesting. They have given many a boy and girl many a sleepless night over how to break /make. They have also given many a movie maker many a success. So, most weekends a mass mass transfer (word repeat? check your vocabulary then ;)) takes place among these three cities.
Back to the Bus Mafia:
Enter Chennai’s Omni Bus stand in Koyembedu, you would realize that this is probably the only place in country to have a dedicated self-organized bus stand for private bus operators (Educate me if I am wrong). I must have been a rank idoit to plan a last minute trip to ooty for the long weekend. But being the inveterate optimist that I am, I went to the omni bus stand hopeful of getting seats for 2 of my friends and myself in a Volvo or something slightly more irritating. Soon I could figure out that there are no bus tickets available for Coimbatore. Thats right!, Who am I kidding by asking these bus guys for tickets. Its dushera time, add to it, its a long weekend. Easily the busses are occupied. But all the busses from all the operators ? I was suspicious.
Slowly, one slimy looking drunkard approaches me. He asks “to where?” With my lowly business tamil skills I tell him that I need 3 tickets to Coimbatore on 29, the Friday. He glares a promising look through his red red eyes and utters, “for each ticket, 50 rupees extra”. Well, fifty aint huge for such a favor. So I followed him through complex zigz-zag path trailing the busses and stench. He goes and meets some shady looking people and finally yells back, “3 tickets in semi sleeper hi-tech bus. OK?”. I am all too happy to get my job done so easily. I nod my head vigorously and reach out for my wallet. Just then, he shouts again, “each ticket is 550.” I am confused. So I ask, “is it AC?”. He says NO in disbelief. Then I ask him ” but the bus ticket is only 300/350.” He says, “there are no tickets available, these are black tickets.” So it would work out to be close to 2k just to go to coimbatore in some lousy bus.
I guess, you get the situation. The thing is, there is demand for friday bus tickets to coimbatore, bangalore from chennai almost every week. So these freaks would just buy the tickets themselves and sell it in black. No Cancellation, No Refund. If no one buys, they can always project empty seats or sell the tickets off at some discout in the last moment. And to buy these tickets itself you have to pay 50/100 extra to these drunkards who hoard the information about black ticket seller’s whereabouts.
What happened finally, you may muse? well, I couldnt get the tickets. Even the black ones are over; it seems. So I am going up to Salem (where is it?) and then from there I should get some cab/bus/something else to Coimbatore / Ooty.
Happy weekend and Dushera. And if you ever plan to buy tickets from Koyembedu stand and come across this ulgly looking red eyed freak trying to sell you something for 100 rupees extra, give him a tight slap from me. Thanks for the help.
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