Family, friends struggle to get back home

Family, friends struggle to get back home

Passengers wait for a bus to Mangaluru at the Majestic bus terminal. DH PHOTO/GRACE HAUCK

The KSRTC has resumed bus services to Mangaluru and various locations in Kerala, but many passengers are still finding it difficult to travel back to their families. While some buses are filling up fast, others aren’t hitting the road at all.

Shikha Eveline (19), a college student, arrived at the Satellite Bus station unsure about whether her bus to Kerala would leave the platform. Her previous tickets had been cancelled — twice.

“I have a ticket, but I don’t know if they’re going to cancel it or not. Yesterday, they already cancelled the bus,” said Eveline, a native of Kozhikode, travelling home to help her family. Thameem Mohammed (20), who has been studying in Bengaluru for two years, was travelling back to Kakkanad to help relatives clean mud out of their homes. “My native was affected very bad. It’s a low-lying area. The water is still not gone, and there is no electricity,” Mohammed said, adding, “I’m nervous if I can reach home. There were landslides at so many places. But I bought a ticket online.”

The KSRTC operated nine buses to Mangaluru on Monday morning, and 13 that night. The numbers improved on Tuesday when it operated 11 buses in the morning, and 32 at night, according to Srinivas Rao, divisional controller at the Kempegowda Bus Terminus. “Bengaluru to Mangaluru is usually about eight hours. Now it is two hours extra with the diversion,” Rao said.  

Tough for drivers too

For drivers, the long journey has been tough. “Our crew is struggling. Even our officers, throughout the night, are watching because the signals are not available. If anything happens, we can’t contact them. There’s no phone signal,” Rao said.

Drivers expressed concerns about the narrow roads and unusual conditions. “We have to take maximum care and not lapse concentration for a single second,” said a driver on the Kozhikode route. In its extra luggage space, the KSRTC is transporting food, water and basic needs to affected areas. At more than a dozen locations, the KSRTC has placed extra buses for emergency purposes. “Yesterday, we took 40 to 50 maximum affected members from Kerala to Bengaluru, then to Mangaluru,” Rao said on Monday.