Lakdi-ka-pul has become an unofficial inter-city bus stand as hundreds of people flock to the area to catch a bus to travel to about 15 cities and towns. In turn, traffic jams have increased
This is perhaps the busiest of junctions after 10pm, as well as the most crowded. Driving here late at night would make you look at your watch to see if it isn’t late evening instead!
Lakdi-ka-pul has become an unofficial inter-city bus stand as hundreds of people flock to the area to catch a bus to travel to about 15 cities and towns. In turn, the traffic jams have increased and motorists say it has become a nightmare to commute across the area.
While inter-city buses have made travel extremely easy and affordable, the flip side is that these buses, most of which are at least 45-seaters, stop by the side and congest the traffic. Some of the buses even double park if they are not able to find space.
The average wait for motorists to tackle through the buses can be as long as 15 minutes for a distance that is hardly 1.5km.
Right from State Bank of Hyderabad to Ravindra Bharati, the main road of Lakdi-ka-pul is chock-a-block with over 100 different buses that have made this their official bus stop. A large group of people can be seen at these pick-up points with their luggage.
Even the Lakdi-ka-pul bus stand that is supposed to be used only by APSRTC buses is made a pickup point. This blocks the incoming public buses and delays the traffic further.
What is saddening is that despite Global Hospital being in the midst of the pickup points, these private transport buses honk often, disturbing the patients and doctors alike.
Surprisingly, while the buses are allowed to park here, cars, bikes and auto rickshaws aren’t. In fact, when they are parked here, the traffic policemen come and chase them away. The massive fleet of buses fail to come to their notice, although officially they aren’t allowed to park here either.
When we asked T Shravan, manager of OML Travels that operates six buses to Bangalore, Mumbai and Vijaywada, why they have made Lakdi-ka-pul as a bus stand knowing that the buses obstruct traffic, he sheepishly replies, “But this isn’t our only stop. Our buses pick up passengers from Hitec City, Nampally, Afzalgunj and finally Lakdi-ka-pul.
“The proximity of the area to other major areas, as well as being centrally located, makes it an ideal location. We don’t pose much of a problem to the motorists as we pick up the passengers and leave. I’m sure they can bear waiting for a few minutes.”
Upon further enquiring as to why the transport company doesn’t have a common point for all the passengers and why they can’t make a proper bus stand instead of picking people up from the middle of the road, he said, “Doing so requires capital and space. When we have the privilege of picking up passengers from different places, why would we make a special bus stand? It doesn’t make sense.”
When asked if the traffic police ever stop them from making this a bus stop, Sharavan added, “It is hard for them to stop hundreds of buses that come here.”
Unfortunately, this is a common opinion of almost all the transport companies, where they show sheer apathy to the traffic problems that they pose.
Mohammed Muneer, a bus driver of Ameresh Travels, said that the number of passengers that use the bus service every day is phenomenal and they want a convenient area to board the bus.
“Lakdi-ka-pul is that area. We have to cater to the passengers and not vice versa. Many bus companies have a barter system with the petrol pumps. They fill up their tanks in exchange of them providing a space for them to park their vehicles,” he said.
A top-official at the Road Transport Authority in Khairatabad, who wished not to be identified, admitted to the problem.
“Last year, we had called the owners of almost all private transport companies to address this problem. We advised them to make a common point for passengers. They opposed the idea. However, we make sure that they don’t halt their vehicles for too long and follow the pickup-and-leave policy. We will call them for a meeting soon,” he assured.