By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM

The other day I happened to travel to Delhi by bus. Since I did not have enough time to book a train ticket to Delhi, I looked for other possible options. Traveling by air was expensive so finally I decided to go to Delhi by bus. Because some time ago I knew about the bus service from Pokhara to Delhi.

I drove to the office of Modern Era Tours & Travels at Zero kilometer. After a brief conversation with a lady staff, I came to know that mostly two buses leave to Delhi every day. The first bus leaves at 7 o’clock in the morning and the next bus leaves at 12 o’clock in the afternoon.

The first bus was of Nepal Bharat Maitri Bus Sewa that leaves at 7 o’clock in the morning. I chose to get a ticket for the same bus, because it would drop me in Delhi at around 2 to 4 pm. So that it would be easy for me to reach my destination before sun sets.

The front wind glass of the bus had a big whole, but the travel agency paid no heed but asked us to our seats. Driver took the bus to India in the same condition. Is it not risky to drive a bus for long distance with such a big whole in the front wind glass? Photo: LB Thapa

The lady staff prepared my ticket and gave me. I paid Rs.4000 rupees, a big amount of course. I duly checked date of journey, bus number and seat number. Everything was right; as a result, I left the counter.

My reporting time was 6.30 am at Zero kilometer…I reached at 6.15am. First thing when I reached at Zero Kilometer, the bus had already left to the Tourist Bus Park. I was told to get the bus from the Tourist Bus Park only. I took the taxi to the Tourist Bus Park.

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As soon as I saw the bus in the Tourist Bus Park, I heaved a sigh of relief. The driver was having some chats with his fellow drivers. I interrupted him, showed my ticket and asked the cleaner to keep my luggage in the dickey.

The driver looked hard at the ticket then returned to me and said that I should contact the counter, because the seat number mentioned in the ticket had already been issued to someone else. I was shocked. I could not believe what he spoke to me. How this could be possible when I have a genuine ticket in my hand.

When I asked him how it was possible to allot my seat to someone when I have the ticket in my hand. However, the driver refused to talk to me and said I should contact the counter and he showed me the ticket counter nearby. I showed my ticket at the counter and explained how my seat was given to someone when I hold the valid ticket in my hand.

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He threw a cursory glance over my ticket and said to me that they did not sell that ticket so that they were not responsible. Then I asked the man what I should do. He suggested me to contact the main office at Zero Kilometer from where the ticket was issued. I took a taxi and reached the Zero Kilometer.

The lady who had issued my ticket was at the counter. I showed my ticket and asked her how she could allot my seat to someone. Without looking at my ticket, she said that actually another travel agency did sell the ticket with my seat number and forgot to inform them. She replied rather nonchalantly as if that was not a big deal.

When I expressed my strong dissatisfaction and threatened them to take to police, they showed no panic whatsoever. To my horror, another lady at the counter shouted at me and warned me for not creating a scene in the office.

“No need to shout we will manage a seat on the next bus that will depart at 12 noon, or you might possibly miss that seat as well”, said the lady as a matter of fact way. I wanted to take the matter to police but because I had to reach Delhi on time that’s why I dropped the idea and moved away from the office of Modern Era Tours & Travel, making no further protest.

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I went to Lakeside and spent about one and half hours before reaching to Tourist Bus Park. The bus has yet not arrived. In the meantime I saw one policeman and thought of discussing this matter with him.

I explained what Modern Era Tours & Travel did to me. He took me to the same office located inside the Tourist Bus Park area, but my problem could not be resolved. Because the man did refuse to take any responsibility. The policeman did also phone to the main office located at Zero Kilometer, but they also refused to take any responsibility.

About that time one gentleman standing beside me said, “I know what happened with you. I did run a travel agency in Pokhara for eight years. Actually, they sold your seat to a person who desperately wanted to reach Delhi.

The person must have paid more money to the office from where you have purchased this ticket. Since Dasain is round the corner many people ask for a ticket or two in the last moment and they are ready to pay any price for the ticket”.

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The man said all this in front of the policeman who was on duty. I was flabbergasted and looked at the policeman and asked him if the man was right. He showed his utter ignorance and said that he did not have any idea of such practice. Anyway, I understood the modus operandi of making quick bucks by the Modern Era Tours & Travel. I was just another victim of their lust and corruption.

Looking at the present situation of the country where powerful politicians and high-ranking bureaucrats enjoy free loot without any fear of law and order. What happened with me must have been a regular occurrence with many passengers. These travel offices do it without any fear of police. If these people are not afraid of police then where should we take the matter?

Extremely disgusting bus service

We were told that no extra passengers than the number of seats would be allowed in the bus. It was only a big lie. They stopped bus at every stop like a local bus until the Nepali border. I took this photo inside the bus. Photo: LB Thapa
This is my ticket. Here date and departure time of the bus are written very clearly. It was a morning bus with departure time at 7am. But they allowed my seat to another person and asked me to take 1pm bus instead. I discussed with the bus driver, went to the office and talked with a policeman at the Tourist Bus Park, but no avail. Photo: LB Thapa
This is a photo of the place in Delhi where we were asked to get down at 9pm. This is not an official bus park. Photo: LB Thapa

Those people who are aware of all the hanky-panky of Modern Era Tours & Travel, they make sure to travel by the first bus only, which leaves at 7 o’clock in the morning from the Tourist Bus Park. This bus is being operated by Nepal Bharat Maitri Bus Sewa and its service is excellent.

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However, the second bus that is being operated by Modern Era Tours & Travel is no better than a city bus. The bus was supposed to leave at 12 noon but the driver was waiting for more local passengers. The bus was packed with several passengers; many of them were standing as well. Finally, the bus left Prithivi Chowk Bus Park at around 2pm.

Once the bus started from Pritvi Chowk, the cleaner began picking up more passengers on the way. Despite our strong protest, the cleaner continued collecting passengers throughout the way until the bus reached at Nepal India border at Mahendra Nagar. The bus reached there, only next day morning about 9 o’clock.

Whatever sufferings I endured by traveling with Modern Era Tours & Travel, I want other travelers should not go through such ordeal. Out of my experience, I want to suggest you that first thing first never be fully assured of the ticket you have received from Modern Era Tours & Travel.

Because, they can still sell your seat to anyone at a price. Get the ticket from the Tourist Bus Park and remember you must travel by Nepal Bharat Maitri Bus Sewa. Its service is excellent. Unless tangible improvement, which seems less likely, avoid traveling by the second bus being operated by Modern Era Tours & Travel. They are rouges in the garb of travel agency.

Let me make myself clear that the prime purpose of writing this piece of write-up is to educate those travelers who want to travel to Delhi by bus from Pokhara to Delhi. Please check on internet you will definitely find other service providers, who may be more professional and honest to their jobs.   

The blogger stands in the middle of the Sarada Barrage, below flows the Mahakali River, which Indians call it Sarada River. Photo: ontotheroad.com

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