Sunday, May 17, 2009


I was traveling in a private bus “MARIA” from Palarivattom to Lissie Junction. When the bus reached Kaloor International Stadium, the driver suddenly applied the bakes hard. The bus came to a screeching halt and we could hear a “thud” sound. All the passengers fell forward on account of the sudden braking and those standing in the bus had a tough time balancing themselves and some fell on top of the others. There was a commotion inside the bus. The conductor told us there is an accident and we have to get down.
I got down and saw the accident. The bus had rammed into the backside of a lovely car. The glass screen and the lights at the back were completely smashed and the back portion of the car was also damaged. The bus driver was trying the blame the car driver for the accident. The car driver wanted a police case and the bus driver wanted a private settlement. The car driver refused to accept this suggestion and he started to call the police on his mobile. The bus driver realizing that the police will come and book a case, he started calling the owner of the bus to inform him about the accident.

I was in a hurry. So I clicked some photos and left the scene

In Kochi, the private buses painted in red are called “RED KILLERS”. The drivers are known for their rash and negligent driving, overtaking in prohibited places, unnecessarily hooting loudly, causing unwanted accidents and sometimes even running over people and killing them on the spot. The police are helpless because these drivers have powerful unions. At the slightest provocation they will go on strikes and the traveling public will suffer due to over dependence on these buses for going to work, school, shopping and various other needs. Only the courts can instill the fear of God in them but court cases are few because most of these accidents are settled without court involvement. As a result accidents continue to happen, people continue to be hit and some unlucky persons will die in the process. There is total public apathy. And, of course, life goes on.

I am sure you have some thoughts on these rash drivers in Kochi, the efficiency of your own public transport system and some thoughts on interesting things that happened while traveling in public transport.

Have a wonderful day


Mel said...

Hi Joseph,

Wow, you had quite the adventure. As you know, I've been taking the bus to and from work for the last month or two, and loving every minute of it. However, our bus system is very strictly regulated, and any accident involving a bus always ends up in a police incident report being filed. It irks me when companies and systems have so much power and control, and can get away with greed, immorality and illegal activities. I'm glad the driver of the vehicle that was hit is going to press charges, it sounds like that needs to happen more often.

I did have an interesting interaction on the bus the other day... I was reading the book "A Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian McLaren, and the lady sitting next to me wanted to see what I was reading. So I held up the front of the book in order for her to be able to read the title, and she looked a little taken aback. She said, "I would never read a book like THAT. It looks boring." Then she proceeded to tell me about the adventures she had when she got her upper and lower dentures...

It took me a while to catch up with her train of thought, and finally I realized that she thought the word "Orthodoxy" had something to do with "orthodontics." I chuckled to myself quite a bit on my way back to the office... :)

I hope you have a beautiful day, Dear Joseph!


What an awful expereience for you Joseph, the photo's you took were excellent showing the impact of the collision. Hope no one was hurt.
Our transport on the roads are not too bad considering the long routes they take.
Now you take care.
Have a good week-end.


meerasworld said...

I havent seen a bunch of people so unresponsive as we are .After an accident people just seems to be accepting the fate and move on.Even if its a minor accident caused by these killer drivers,the victim's people should go with the law as far they could ,to get the maximum punishment for these killers.Once they start getting punishments regularly,they would start to accept that driving like mad isnt fun anymore.As you said,only the fear of law can do something in this matter.

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
That is an interesting and troubling post. In our culture law suits are very common and often frivolous. They are so common that it has shaped us into a fearful people worried that if we make a product we will be sued for some foolish reason. We have lost many of our freedoms because of incessant lawsuits. This case you sight seems to be the other side of the coin, where the power of the unions allow them to bully the public. No wonder Jesus listed Justice as one of the most important elements of God’s law.
I’m glad no one was hurt and appreciate learning about the good, bad and the ugly.
God bless,

Mel said...

Hi again, Joseph! I pray your day is going well. :) (Although, I should probably say I hope you're getting good sleep, since it's probably around 4 a.m. there...)

I took your advice and posted a picture of a few of the birthday bookmarks I've made...

Bless you, Joseph! :)

Trudy said...

Oh my, that is quite hard to believe that innocent people are dying at the hands (or feet!) of these bus drivers. It sounds like you are taking your own life into your hands just by hopping on the bus!

American unions also carry some power and weight but I hasten to think that deliberate manslaughter would still be allowable, even for the unions! That is really quite atrocious! Do these bus drivers have to pass a test saying the have no conscience before signing on to drive?

I relied on our mass transportation system for many years to get to and from my job in downtown Minneapolis but never had any accidents or other major events to speak of. The worst trouble we had was weather, lots of snow storms in the Minnesota winters!

Be safe Joseph!

venus66 said...

A wonderful post. This is the reality.

Mark in Spokane said...

Were there any lawyers around???

Just askin'...

Sorry your trip was interrupted by the accident. I generally like taking the bus, and take it whenever I can. I would take it to work, but it would take me almost two hours to get from my house to work by bus -- it's only about 15 minutes by car directly.

A New Beginning said...

Its reminds me of the red lines we used to have in Delhi, these were killer buses like the red killers youre takn about. Thankfully they have been banned, but the irresponsible behaviour of bus and especially truch drivers still exists.
Hope the Almighty keep each one of us in his protection.
You have quite a thought provoking post here:)

Rajesh said...

Yes, I have traveled in these buses from Ernakulam to Kochi several times. They drive very fast just to overtake other similar buses.

roentarre said...

Looks like a very crowded life there

I cannot imagine to live in that sort of circumstance!

Anonymous said...

They are known as Red Killers? Hmmm, I wonder if that keeps certain people off of them, but entices other thrill seekers to ride them more often. I'm thinking perhaps some of these drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or that their "bosses" require them to make trips more quickly than is ever prudent in order to stay employed. Otherwise, why do they all(or most)go so fast & have so many accidents, though they have different drivers?

Unfortunately, no country is immune to public apathy. We all see it in one form or another. ~Mary

Rhapsody said...

Namaste: Just a short visit to see vicariously through your writings how you are. I trust all is well with you.

oooooh...The red killer, wow, hmmmm....Thank God no one was hurt and you live to tell the tale. Have a blessed day.

Rhapsody said...


In all fairness you have not visited the older enteries. Nor have you revisited my other blog with hundreds of entries....haha, there is much to keep your interest and keep your mind occupied and twirling with insights for you to share with me via your comments.

MSN Blog:

Leo said...

The buses in our cities are government owned and operated and heavily regulated to comply with the rules of the liability insurance carrier. But, it is not unusual to see a bus with only one or two passengers on it. Most people just aim at each other with their two ton cars!

Trudy said...

Hi Joseph, it's me again. Stop over at my blog, I have something for you to collect!

Trudy said...

Hi Joseph, I have something for you to collect over at my blog...stop by again soon!

SkyJuice said...

Hi Joseph,

Sorry to read about the unpleasant journey. Glad no one was hurt.

I've not been on a bus in months. Used the LRT (light rail transit) or drove to work last time. Liked taking the city rail, and tried to avoid the rush hours. Still do take the LRT when I'm in Kuala Lumpur sometimes.

I use the intercity/interstate express buses when I don't feel like driving, taking the train or flying. I use only the reliable bus companies because some are known for their inconsiderate and reckless drivers.

Now, I usually drive because it's more convenient for me to get around, especially to campus. There's no city rail here. Intercity/interstate train services are available, but there's no station at the campus. So, driving or taking the buses are the only options. I dislike driving in big cities due to heavy traffic and road bullies, but I enjoy long–distance driving because there's much to see. :-)

Have a good week ahead! :-)


SkyJuice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shravan | ശ്രവണ്‍ said...

joseph sir,
it happens not just at kochi, but every where.. anyways, we dont have the "red killers" here, but the rash driving and carelessness are all common.. there was one initiative from the govt to control this by bringing into action the speed governor and all, and now, none is speaking about that..
once again, the photos are too good :)

have a good day sir :)

hpy said...

Oh yes, I have thoughts about accidents and will tell you what ahappened not long ago. A reckless driver drowe into another car, hurting both cars of cours, and also the driver of the other one. But all he was able to say was : Oh my car, oh my poor car!

Amrita said...

Very common here too. I am so scared of crossing the street. Its like taking your life in your hands.

They don 't test your driving abilities while issuing a driviing lisence

Femin Susan said...

Now a days accidents are very common in Kochi.everyday in the news paper we could see up to 3 -4 accident cases.

The red killers never used to obey traffic rules and the signals which lead to accidents. When I went to my mother's house lately, I saw about 4 vehicles which had smashed front side, one been pulled by another truck, etc..

have a nice day

Margaret Cloud said...

Our bus drivers don't dare drive like that or they would loose their jobs, union or no union. Hope not too many people were not injured. very nice post and photos. Thank you for coming by.

Swarna said...

We need broader roads, for better use by public transport (and not to be crowded by more private vehicles). Some of the lanes and by-lanes look impossible for heavy vehicles to go thought, and it turns out that they are not even marked 'one way'...
Just read this after GVK's account of their accident.
And in Delhi, no one cares at hitting or being hit... time is too costly for them to stop and have a look.

Catherine said...

That's what blogs are made for. Sharing experiences, comparing, learning......
In fact, in my country, public and private transport are very supervised by regulations.
Even in Paris where traffic is so important, buses accidents occur rarely.
Drivers of public transport make part of various unions but they don't offer any protection concerning a driving accident. Drivers are respecful of the traffic rules otherwise they would lose their job.
Have a nice day Joseph, and take care crossing the streets. Keep standing on the kerb when you see a Red Killer in the distance.

Merle said...

Hello Joseph ~~ How awful that those bus drivers cause so many accidents, and driving so dangerously. It would not be tolerated in Australia. I am
glad that you were not hurt.
Thank you for your comments and I am glad that you enjoy the jokes. I try to find some good ones. Take care
my friend and try walking or riding a bicycle to keep off those killer
buses. With best wishes, Merle.


Hello Joseph, Many thanks for your visits and lovely comments, they are much appreciated.
Have a nice day.


rema said...

I agree 100% they are red killers. They race their Buses to taking common mans life. I havn't travelled by bus much but whenever I was inside the red killer it runs a shiver inside me the way it chases the other buses and vehicles especially two wheelers. Once it brished my two wheeler mirror and passed without even stopping to see what might have happened. I always fear when my son is riding a bike - going to thevar college for his cricket coaching, tuition etc. I pray almighty for every one's safety from these killers. I have heard many near and dear ones losses bcos of these red killers.

rema said...

Yes Sir,

I agree 100% they are red killers. They race their Buses to taking common mans life. I havn't travelled by bus much but whenever I was inside the red killer it runs a shiver inside me the way it chases the other buses and vehicles especially two wheelers. Once it brished my two wheeler mirror and passed without even stopping to see what might have happened. I always fear when my son is riding a bike - going to thevar college for his cricket coaching, tuition etc. I pray almighty for every one's safety from these killers. I have heard many near and dear ones losses bcos of these red killers.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rema:)


What a surprise:) I am thrilled to see your wonderful comments:)

At last a great way to keep in touch with each other:)

I hope your will keep visiting me again and again and again and post some interesting thought provoking comments.

You should also start a blog to note down interesting things.

God bless you Rema and your family and shower upon you all success and happiness:)

Rema said...

Hi Sir,

Thanks for wishes and blessings. I wish you and fly the same.

P.N. Subramanian said...

Public transport in Kochi has improved a lot over the years. This is what I could experience.