A comfortable couch, fancy cushions, colourful lampshades, candlelight, flower pots, a library-like décor and scented perfume may make it sound like a lounge. But it is only a DTC bus stop.
On October 15, the Moolchand Hospital bus stop received a Rs 7 lakh makeover thanks to consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser, which re-decorated the bus stop to promote its' air freshener, Airwick.
“While it costs us between Rs 5-7 lakh a month to hire a bus shelter on the Ring Road, we spent approximately Rs 1 lakh extra on décor, including the sofa, lamp shades and flowerpots. We also hired two security guards for its upkeep,” said an official at the company.
With caretakers coming in daily to spray air-fresheners, the bus stop is posh not only according to Delhi, but even international standards. But there is a glitch — buses don’t stop here.
Ajit Singh, a marketing employee, was pleasantly surprised when he discovered the new bus stop. His cheery mood was short-lived when after waiting for over half an hour he did not find a single bus passing by. “What is the point of having this bus stop?” he asked.
His sentiment was shared by another commuter Rajender Sharma, an Airtel supervisor. He had waited one hour for a bus. “This is just a marketing gimmick,” he concluded.
Since the construction of the Moolchand underpass, the Moolchand Hospital bus stop has lost purpose, as buses going straight now travel through the underpass. Buses stop at the Gupta Market bus stop, 300 metres ahead.
“As buses rarely stop here, mostly people looking for autos wait here,” said Pramod Kumar, a security guard deployed at the bus stop.
“When a new construction occurs, several complications occur and some of the old stops lose function. These bus stops should not be re-constructed,” said a DTC official.
When asked why the company went ahead with the construction, company director N.C. Mathur said, “It is not up to us to pick and choose the locations with heavy traffic to construct bus stops. Under our agreement, we just take down the existing bus stops and re-construct them, regardless of whether the bus stop is in use or not.”