India is failing its public bus commuters

India has 66,000 public buses when it needs 188,500. Even in the existing fleet, the ridership is falling. What’s going wrong?

For 30 years, Vidyadhar Date took a bus to work. His boss did too, as did many other colleagues. “Many of them didn’t need to,” says Date. “My boss owned a four-storey building in Bandra. He still preferred the bus.”

Date worked at the Mumbai bureau of The Times of India till he retired in 2004. For him, the bus was more than a mode of commute. “It was a joyride,” he says. “I know people who’ve got married after meeting on a bus. Even Rosa Parks’s role in the civil rights movement in the US started from a bus.” …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

Senior Features Writer