Yesterday morning I got to the Pune railway station early because I had yet to buy a ticket for Mumbai. A notice at the ticket counter informed me that the train – Deccan Queen – was full. Disappointed, I walked to the nearby intercity bus stop.
As one can expect, the place is a sort of transportation hub where you get trains, buses (both private and public), taxis, and rental cars. Walking along that stretch of the road is like running a gauntlet. A dozen people descend on you, each offering to immediately transport you to Mumbai in great comfort, quickly and cheaply. They compete for your attention and tell you why you should take their bus or their car. One over here says the new Innova (a comfortable Toyota minivan) is about to depart and will be in Mumbai before 10 AM; the other over there insists that the Neeta Volvo will charge much less and they will not even stop midway, and so on. The competition is loud and enthusiastic.