Traveling by bus is the most common mode of transportation in India and there are many options. Buses go all over India and all cities are interconnected via a bus network. Sometimes in mountainous areas buses and jeeps are the only way to travel with frequent and fast services. Conditions of buses vary in each state and place and there are options for deluxe tourist buses to ordinary local buses. Every city and town has a bus stand and you can travel very cheaply around the country on buses but bear in mind that if you are taking only local buses the journeys are often long, with many stops, cramped and very bumpy.
So here are some tips from India Travelz before you hit the road. So buckle up and get comfy it’s a long journey:
- Deluxe buses: Owned by both the state and private sector and always carry a fixed number of passengers. Many states run their private bus services catering to
- Tourists (if there is a breakdown another bus will come and pick up passengers). The deluxe buses range in standard from luxury bus service which is new Volvo buses with plenty of room, AC and TV too much older buses that leave much to be desired. For those deluxe buses maintained at a high standard, seats are often 2 in a row and push back and there are also options on some journeys for sleeper buses (often without AC but with windows that open) which are either for singles or doubles with a curtain. If traveling alone always make sure that you will get a single sleeper
- Ordinary buses: The cheapest option and usually aging buses and range from wooden style seating to regular padded seats and no push back. Often take locals who stand in the aisle much of the journey. Often if it is a short journey or a non-tourist area and ordinary bus will be your only option.
- Private run buses are more expensive and more comfortable than the state-run options. If you are on a bus with AC the price increases and if you take a bus with two-by-two seating then the price goes up again
- For cheaper run private buses beware that the conductor will try and put as many passengers onto the bus and wait around until the bus is full to bursting before it will leave for its destination
- Traveling by bus in India is a very affordable mode of transport. Bus ticket prices vary from state to state and place to place. The cheapest options are the state-run regular bus routes and prices increase depending on what bus you are going on, how long the journey and if the bus has AC.
- Like on every bus in the world there is a storage compartment under the bus for luggage and often at the back in the trunk which you often have to pay extra for which is usually a nominal charge. However, there is luggage space also on the roof which is then often covered with canvas to protect the baggage during the journey. If you are concerned about your luggage you can always bring a padlock and chain and secure it with this.
- Small day bags you should bring on the bus with you with your valuables and store next to you or under your seat. On food and toilet breaks always bring your day bag with you and do not leave it unattended on the bus
- Deluxe buses can usually be booked in advanced and state-run buses usually can be booked a month in advance
- When booking always make sure you know what bus you are reserving your tickets for and where and when it will leave from
- When booking via a travel agency always make sure that you are paying for what you getting ie if you are buying a ticket for a deluxe private bus make sure that is what you will be going on
- On ordinary buses, you usually are unable to book in advance and just need to buy a ticket at the bus station before the journey. Often you are unable to even reserve a seat so get there early to ensure you are sitting rather than standing. If however you are getting on an ordinary bus in the middle of a journey and there are no seats you will need to stand until a seat becomes available
There are always several stops along the way for food at roadside dhabas and kiosks to pick up something to eat. Often these eateries on popular routes are busy which means food is fresher. However, always bring snacks on long journeys especially water because you can never guarantee how long you will be on the road for before the driver stops
There are no toilets on the buses so you will have to wait until the bus stops for breaks. Usually, there are toilets inside the roadside eateries but sometimes on less busy routes you will have to make do and find a quiet area in an open field
- Bus drivers often are behind the wheel for hours at a time without taking a break and accidents are always a risk
- Roads, especially in mountainous areas, can be very narrow, steep and curvy
- Night journeys are more dangerous. Roads can be dark and drivers are without sleep
TIPS FOR BUS JOURNEYS
- Earplugs: Like on the train bring earplugs to drown out the noise especially if you are planning on getting some sleep. Most bus drivers play loud music and beep their horns incessantly which adds to the atmosphere but not conducive to sleep
- Back row seating: On journeys always try not to get a seat on the back row. Firstly the seats often don’t push back and secondly, it is known to be the bumpiest place on the bus
- Women travelers: if traveling alone or with another female companion lookout for the female-only bus queues which theoretically allows you get to the front of the queue