Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bus - seat acquisition via Aufbau principle.

Bus - seat acquisition via Aufbou principle.
Generally when we enter a seemingly vacant bus, we try to fill each seat in the order of one person per seat, and those who enter later on, fill the rest of the seats.

We have all studied in chemistry, that this behaviour is very much evident in electons when trying to fill a vacant shell. An electron fills a completely vacant seat first, and all the electrons that arrive later form pairs as per the Afbau Principle.

It is remarkable how the results seen in electrons are also visible in real life scenarios.

If the bus is completely vacant then the first arriving person takes a considerable amount of time to decide where to sit, this is because he tends to rely on his past experiences and need to sit in a particular seat such as a window seat. Other factors affecting the sitting could be the proximity of the bus tyres to the seat, relative distance from the entry to the bus, etc...

However when almost all seats have been occupied by at least one individual, the oncoming visitors, tend to occupy a seat in a hurry. Because he is concerned about Factors like:
  • Destination distance
  • Need for comfort
  • The apparent demand for the seat
  • In case there are lot of people boarding the bus at the same stop

The late arriving passenger does not mind the dimensions (body sizes) of the people occupying the seats which are vacant when he gets in. He tends to temporarily rely on instincts rather than thought process, and often gets denied of better available opportunities.

More-over, a late arriving passenger would have experienced a lot of waiting in the bus-stand and desperately sees the comforts offered by the sitting arrangement in the bus.

Another interesting phenomenon is the kind of orderliness that happens when an interested traveller sees an approaching bus from a busstand. It is as if, someone has ordered everyone to queue up in many situations, all the people waiting in the bus stand suddenly become extremely alert; It can be compared to the the way iron filings behave in the presence of a magnetic field. (^_^)

However this is not true if a lot of people are waiting in the bus stand, because in this situation, people tend to mass up and there is a lot of confusion while boarding the bus apart from the inherent competition.

It is also observed that when a completely filled bus approaches a bus stand, the situation is very different, but we can observe that the environment is usually unpleasant.

Bus Seat Reservation:
For the convenience of woman travelers, the government of Karnataka has enforced reservation of seats for Woman, the old aged people and the handicapped. How ever, despite the contention for these seats, normal seats are also most often reserved much earlier than they are occupied.

Like my friend Naresh points out, It is a common scenario to reserve a seat by marking the spot with your kerchief. This reservation extends to Bags, Lungies, Towels, books, Bags and several other commodities that people happen to carry with them when they travel. Though normal reservations like these are common i many parts of the country, I had once heard that in Bihar, they spit the pan that they chew to reserve the seat, later wipe the seat just before acquiring it. I was shocked and surprised for a very long time after hearing this...

To reserve a seat, the person reserving it has to be alert and ready to strike as soon as the bus arives. He should jump select the appropriate seat for reservation and throw the kerchief just as the bus stops, else the seat can get reserved by another person.

BUS overflow:
This phenomenon has been commonly observed in cities in India, where there is shortage of public transport during peak hours and people are forced to resort to standing on the foot-board, back ladders and the roof tops of the bus or any public transport. I have traveled like this many times, though there is a little amount of suffocation on the inside, hanging on the foot board could be a fascinating experience.
Bus overflow
Footboard travel
As you can observe in this figure, women enjoy a better facility when it comes to foot board travel and many prefer to take the next bus instead of trying to fit into the same bus.


  1. Haha Nice work GK :).. u missed out on "handkerchief reservation" :P Lolz :)

  2. ha ha, yeah, i will add a lot more details after my internals. There are a lot of posts which need editing and I am not finding time to add new posts. visit again after sept 21st.

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