Friday, November 20, 2009

Bus terminals have miles to go

Bus terminals have miles to go

Satellite terminals, supposed to be the alternatives to the Majestic bus stand, are not yet ready

Shwetha S. Bangalore



Transport minister R Ashok may have announced that 20 acres of land at the Majestic bus terminus of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will be handed over to the Metro Project in a week's time.
Despite the announcement, however, there is little to show for the administration's preparedness to start services from the satellite terminals, located in different parts of the city, that are meant to take the load off the central Majestic terminus.
The terminals at Shantinagar and Mysore Road have only a limited capacity to handle operations; at the other terminals, even the completion of infrastructure work seems some while away.
Officials at the KSRTC admitted that much remains to be done.
For the time being, they contend that a limited number of bus services would be shifted elsewhere: "Only about ten buses travelling to Kerala will now set out from the satellite bus station at Mysore Road. Buses plying to Mysore, Kerala and Coorg will depart from that bus terminus. About 80-90 buses plying to Tamil Nadu will be shifted to the Shantinagar bus station." This, however, will comprise only a small proportion of the number of departures from the Kempegowda or Majestic terminus.
Nearly 2,700 buses depart from Kempegowda each day. With the Metro set to take over 20 acres of the terminus, work of maintenance of the entire fleet, that is currently being handled at Kempegowda, will shift to Shantinagar.
DNA visited the Shantinagar bus terminal, only to find that it has miles to go before being able to take on the load envisaged for it.
Infrastructure work is still underway here, and workers at the site said that completion of the work will take at least a few weeks more. A senior official at the terminus said on condition of anonymity: "There are already 250 buses being garaged at the Shantinagar depot; the terminal can take a maximum load of 300 buses for garaging and maintenance." He went on to add, "Two more terminals—in addition to the three already existing—are being set up to be able to bear the extra load."
Commenting on the Mysore Road terminal, the same official said that it too was in a similar state, and that the move to make Mysore-bound buses depart from there would only add to the inconvenience of those commuting from North and East Bangalore.
All the satellite terminals — at NGEF-Old Madras Road, Hosur Road, Peenya and Yelahanka — are still some way from being operational. One official admitted that the NGEF terminus is likely to take at least another month.
Gaurav Gupta, managing director, KSRTC, said, "I agree; initially, there will be a little inconvenience for commuters, as we relocate buses from the Kempegowda bus station. We will work towards making the shifting process a smooth one, so that commuters are not troubled for long."

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