Hop on the bus, Gus

Everybody hates Bangalore traffic. Gone are the days when Bangalore was known as the “Garden City” or “Pensioners’ Paradise”. The first thing that people from other cities ask me is “Is the Bangalore traffic really that bad?”. Well I hate to admit it, but it is!

Bangalore was never designed to handle the kind of traffic it does today and so the roads are not wide enough. But a large part of the problem is that Bangaloreans who can afford a car or a bike simply do not use public transp0rt. Compare that to Bombay, where executives in suits share the local trains with labourers in lungis.

A lot of blame lies with the public transportation system of the city. Until recently, the BMTC buses were unusable for the uninitiated or the brave. Buses that are designed to hold 40 people are packed with more than twice that number. Route information was written only in Kannada and timings were highly unreliable. However, things are beginning to change. The Volvo fleet introduced by the BMTC makes commuting on a bus much more comfortable. You get a comfortable ride in an AC bus with a great view of the city. I take a Volvo bus to work on most days and I enourage all of you to do so. It’s convenient, cheap and comfortable.

Even though the BMTC has done quite a bit, there is still a long way to go. Bus timings are still unreliable. The bus that I take to work (BIAS route 7) arrives anywhere between 9.00 and 9.20. I’ve resorted to calling up the bus conductor everyday to find out exactly when the bus will get there. The BMTC website is woefully inadequate. It is designed so badly it is almost unusable. Trying to find out information about the buses that ply on a particular route or timings of a particular bus are an ardous task. A more usable site which has such information is btis.in.

The Namma Metro project seems to be chugging along quite nicely, with things seemingly on track. I read a newspaper article today that said that the government is planning a mono-rail project to supplement the metro. There is a high speed rail link coming up that will connect the Bengaluru International Airport with the city. This will supplement the BMTC’s airport bus service.

Things are looking up as far as the public transport infrastructure goes. Now comes the hard part – bringing about a change in mindset. All you guys who drive to work and back everyday, hop on the bus!

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3 Responses to “Hop on the bus, Gus”

  1. Vishnu Raghav Says:

    Hey Suman nice post..

    Just to add to what you have mentioned, BMTC is India’s only profitable organization. It is the most well maintained, innovative(in terms of fleet updation) bus transportation in the country. KSRTC along with its sister wings like NWKRTC are the only profitable transportation institutions apart from the railways in the country. So we cannot blame BMTC for the mess.

    Lets analyze the reason behind the profits. In Karnataka the government has implemented a monopoly of bus transportation leaving only the remote rural to the private sector( this again is being improved ). The monopoly ensures profits, ensures fleet upgradation. No competition could be a problem, but Karnataka has been awarded several honours for road transportation services

    However in Bangalore, the odd person suffers with a tremendous ego problem. They would rather prefer to drive alone in their million rupee car flaunting it to satisfy their messed up life rather than use public transportation..In the process they belt up the good old environment

    In my view government must implement a policy of a single car per address rule ..

    Anyways still this is not the problem. I wonder why everybody blames the government for every mess they face in life(traffic). Traffic is not an entity which drops from the sky. Its people, its lakhs of people.

    there is this famous quote from a movie–> “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.”

    Well in the 70s,80s,90s it was mumbai, in the 2000s it is Bangalore. It is the whole of India to blame for Bangalore’s mess. They all came in the thousands from every corner of the country . In late 90s the population was 40+ lakhs, and in late 2000s we have hit 80 lakh. We have doubled the population in a decade. This is ridiculous and no government can cope up with the task of providing infrastructure. Government should take steps to control population explosion. Perhaps they could implement an entry tax for a start…

    Yes I am an Engineer, and I so hope the IT revolution never happened. Bangalore was well off without the millions of extra people.

    Hell to being cosmopolitan. Its a very apt way of covering all this mess.

    Solutions for the above: The other states need to improve, which would enable their people to stay in their states instead of migrating in the thousands to Bangalore. If this were to happen, Bangalore is another Mumbai in the making !!!

  2. reddy Says:

    bial busses are fairly accurate..they leave at the scheduled time from the depot…the variation in time along the route is due to traffic….its the non airport volvo busses that are highly unreliable since the routes they ply on are the high density ones.

  3. sumanbhat Says:

    @ Vishnu, are you talking about an entry tax to the city/state? That sounds like Raj Thackeray’s economic policy advisor talking. With all the separatism in this country all India needs is a state to start an entry tax. That would prompt every other state to enact similar policies. Not only will that take India backwards in terms of regional squabbling but it will also be a major step backwards in terms of social and economic standards in the country.

    I agree that the mindset towards using public transport needs to change. But don’t you think having a vehicle tax which makes it difficult for people to own multiple cars makes more sense than having a single car per address rule? A drawback I see with such a policy is that there still are a lot of joint families in India and asking them to have a single car might be difficult. Implementing a vehicle tax and maybe a fuel surcharge from which the revenues go towards financing more public transport services might work towards discouraging people from using cars.

    Blaming other states for the infrastructure mess in Bangalore is a convenient excuse in my opinion. Don’t you think taking steps to handle the number of people that are coming in would be more effective than hoping for other states to clean up their act?

    Why do you think the BMTC is the only public bus service that is profitable? This is despite the Volvo fleet losing crores each month. Is it because more people in Bangalore are willing to take a bus than in other cities or is the BMTC managed better than any other public transport organization? Going by the website I wouldn’t think that they have terribly good management

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