Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good old BMTC lumbers on

Good old BMTC lumbers on

Hemant Gairola
Crew behaviour not up to the mark: commuters

Travel experience of commuters has improved marginally

BANGALORE: Twelve years after Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) was carved out of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), the former is far from being a reliable public transport system for the Bangalorean.

During the last 12 years, BMTC could add only around 4,000 buses to its fleet, taking the total to 6,000 even as Bangalore’s population has burgeoned from five million to eight million during the period.

As a result, dependency on individually-owned vehicles shot up and their share has gone to 40 per cent in 2006 from just 14.6 per cent in 1982 even as BMTC’s share dipped from 55 per cent to 45 per cent during the period.

It is not as if BMTC did not make any attempt to oil its wheels. Besides improving its financial performance, the corporation introduced several innovative measures, including air-conditioned Volvo coaches and airport-dedicated services. It can be said that thanks to its Vayu Vajra, the Bellary Road that connects the Bengaluru International Airport is not clogged with thousands of cars.

By these, the travel experience of an average commuter has improved marginally if not substantially. H.S. Vishwanath, a software engineer who moved here over two decades ago, says the frequency and reach of services have definitely improved over the years. The main glitch, according to him, is punctuality. The other areas that need attention are cleanliness, display of destination boards and parking at bus bays. Hemanth Kumar, a regular on Vajra services, is a satisfied customer. “I’ve stopped driving my car to office after finding the convenience and comfort that Vajra buses offer,” he said.

But on an online forum, Nirupama, a commuter, was annoyed over the driver’s attitude problem. He did not stop the bus at the designated spot and she had to run to catch it.

The crew behaviour, despite holding several training and orientation sessions, is yet to improve.

Commuters’ comfort
A BMTC spokesperson told The Hindu that the organisation was working at optimum levels for the convenience of commuters. “Not all problems have a solution,” he said and added that people “will have to tolerate” the peak hour rush.

K.S. Vishwanath, Chief Traffic Manager, said the issue was more of civic sense than enforcement. Commuters may complain to Sarathi squad.

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