Be The Change

be the change you wish to see in this world

Public Property

Posted by k.r.a.k.t.i.k on March 14, 2006

  • MTC
  • BEST
  • Indian Railways

What is common to the above list? We use it on and off every day, and life without it to most of us would come to a stand-still. Yes, we’re talking about public transport.

Someone once rightly said that the measure of a city’s progress, be it fiscal, technical, environmental or moral, is the state of its public transport and the population’s view of it. Do you use the public transport in your city? How safe and reliable is it past 9 pm? How frequent is it when you most need it?

But while discoursing at length about this issue, we all tend to forget the one basic fact that applies to most, if not all, public transport – that it is, all said and done, public transport, by which I mean that it is as much the government’s property as yours and mine.

And with good reason – we pay to use it, but more than that, the taxes we pay play a major role in its upkeep and enhancing the quantity and quality of public transit services. Hence it is extremely disturbing when one hears news of buses and other transport being pelted with stones, burnt down or damaged in other ways.

But you may argue, and justifiably, that its not always easy to save the bus or train being torched or damaged when an angry mob pillories its way past you with stones and sticks. Fair enough – let us start at a level where you and I can make a difference.

Have you ever noticed how not too many people seem to mind spitting gum on the floor of the bus, or sticking it under the seat? How many people will fiddle with a small scratch in the seat resin until it becomes a huge crater with foam springing out from all corners? How “Amit loves Parul” is carved with aplomb (and quite some creativity) upon the back of every seat in painstaking etching?

This is our property – and it is upto us to take care of it. It mightn’t seem the worth of the 2.25 ticket that you buy, but its you that will complain eventually about the seats being torn and the springs projecting out dangerously, and it is your money that will eventually be used to replace the faulty apparatus.

So next time you feel the impulse to pick at that gash in the side of the seat while talking on the cell-phone; when you see someone dirtying or in any way damaging the bus or train you are travelling in, remember this – when you complain about the state of public transport, you’re really reflecting on the nature of your city and its population.


8 Responses to “Public Property”

  1. […] Be The Change exhorts us to protect public property and treat it like it’s your own. That can be a tad difficult when you share ownership with a billion other people; but it doesn’t hurt to try. […]

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