Republic Day parade rehearsals leave Delhi commuters stuck

January 23rd, 2009 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Trying to get into on one of the overcrowded, impatiently honking buses at one moment and waiting endlessly for transport and then finally giving in to the demands of fleecing auto drivers - the Republic Day parade rehearsals saw a lot of harried commuters on the capital’s roads Friday morning.”After a bad experience of waiting for nearly 45 minutes and then getting fleeced by an auto driver on Wednesday when the Republic Day rehearsals took place, I started early today knowing things will be the same,” said Richa Verma, a bank employee.

Traffic was diverted from areas around the India Gate since 9 a.m. Friday until noon because of the full dress rehearsal of the parade at Vijay Chowk - resulting in temporary suspension of bus services along those routes.

“I take the metro till Central Secretariat and then the bus to Moti Bagh, where my office is. I reached the bus stop at 8.30 a.m. today and was taken aback by the sight - the bus stop was teeming with people, overcrowded buses were impatiently honking and then being driven at breakneck speed.

“Somehow I managed to get to on one of the buses and was spared the horror of endless wait and over-charging auto drivers,” Verma said.

Some took alternate bus routes to their destinations.

“I had to go to R.K. Puram for which there are direct bus services from Shastri Bhavan. Today however, I took a different bus which left me halfway to my destination since all others were just too overcrowded. From there I took yet another bus,” said Ravi Sharma, a student.

“It took me longer, but at least it did not burn a hole in my pocket thanks to those auto drivers,” he added.

There were however still others who were stuck without any transport for a long time.

Sakshi Jain, a homemaker, was one of them.

“I thought that the full dress rehearsal was Saturday and got a rude shock when I reached the bus stop at 10 a.m. Thereafter I had no choice but take an auto to my destination, after the usual haggling,” Jain said.

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