The Forgotten Bus, is the story of Bus. 8954 of Depot 4.
8954 was lonely. He had been in Depot 4 for 6 years without a transfer, and was the only one of his batch left there. He was upset that he was such an archaic model while the newer and younger models around him boasted of superior features such as improved fuel efficiency, better suspension, and more power. He felt guilty that he cost the Company so much more in terms of maintenance. 8954 was worried that one day the Company would junk him, or worse sell him off as roller scrap. He feared the latter a lot more because he felt that being sold off as roller scrap was slavery. He wasn’t far off from the truth however. His good friend 8126 of Depot 6 was sold off as roller scrap and her new owners forced her to collect garbage.
8954 remembered his very first day with the Company. He had just been delivered from the Factory, and was Bright Red in colour. He was from a special batch of buses; one that was built in the factory itself and not by some coach builder. He was part of six special buses given to the Company in a trial basis, and soon after the trials were complete, he was gifted to the Company along with his batchmates.
He had been handed over to Depot 2 for trial runs, and when he was made permanent, he became a part of Depot 1. It was at Depot 1 where he had the time of his life. For starters, he and 8126, another bus from the Special 6 as they were called, were put on a special route. They both were on a Inner Circle route, continuously moving around the Central Business District. 8126 went clockwise, 8954 went anti-clockwise. The two of them netted the highest revenue in the depot in a day and the second-highest for the Company, making them as Proud as Punch. A year later, they were rerouted to form an up and down pair on a new set of routes launched by the Company. The route manager of the depot felt that the Special 6 buses should be relocated to Depot 1, and all 6 would be used on a new route Express-1, or E1. E1 was a special superfast route that took all flyovers and bridges en route and had fewer stops. The depot manager felt that these buses could handle the terrain and the gradient of all the bridges, thus making it a premium route. The plan was a success, and E1 was soon the most profitable route the Company operated.
Soon, the Company procured a newer set of buses from the same manufacturer. These buses were far superior to the Special 6 and were called the Incredible 8. They were far superior, individually and in number. The Incredible 8 were deputed along E1 and the Special 6 were shifted to a newer route E2. E2 was a shorter route, but more profitable. The depot manager and route manager argued with the Company that these buses were functioning well and had years of service left before they could even think of doing anything to them.
But all that was in the past. 8954 was now 8 years old, and the Company was no longer interested in maintaining him or his batch, nor were they bothering with the Incredible 8. The Company had struck a deal with a new foreign bus manufacturer who had supplied them with 100 new buses at really cheap rates. These buses were of better quality, consumed less fuel, were more comfortable for passengers and easier to drive. The New 100, as they were called, were deputed on all high-speed routes and high-revenue routes, while the older buses were slowly being phased out. Special 6 and Incredible 8 remained because the manufacturer was still providing support for them. However, due to a lot of mismanagement and bad maintenance, they were falling into disrepair and thus, slowly being sold off. 8954 was the only one among the 14 to still remain with the Company after 9 years, as he was still functioning reasonably well. He was deputed onto a Hop-On, Hop-Off route that generated very little revenue in terms of ticket sales, and thus was plastered with ads, turning him into a giant, moving billboard. Due to frequent breakdowns, he was not allowed to go very far from the depot, and was thus, transferred to Depot 4.
Unlike Depot 1, nobody cared for him at Depot 4. He would often go unwashed, with litter on the floors inside him. It used to sicken him, but there was nothing he could do. He had to put up with the lackadaisical behaviour. He used to wonder, ‘After all these years of hard work, this? Why couldn’t people be a little more considerate in their lives when their actions affected others? Today, the maintenance stops, tomorrow, I’m sold off as scrap, and nobody will even remember me after that. Is that what our lives are all about?”
8954 remained with the Company for another three years. When his condition became irreparable, he was sold off by the Company, but his new owners spruced him up a bit and rented him out, thus making him happier than he was in his last days at Depot 4.
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