Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More buses no way to end road chaos, say experts

More buses no way to end road chaos, say experts

Instead of introducing bus services at random, BMTC should first conduct systematic surveys on passenger-oriented routes to help commuters

Shwetha S. Bangalore



Traffic experts feel that starting more bus services is not a solution to decongest city roads. According to them, it will only add to the existing chaos. But the state cabinet differed with this view when it recently allotted a sum of Rs160 crore to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) for acquiring 1,285 more buses.
At present, BMTC has about 5,600 buses plying in the city. This includes 480 new buses acquired under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
"At the end of the year, we will have 1,000 more JNNRUM buses in the city. JNNRUM has announced a one-time grant for 1,000 new buses. We are expecting more buses to roll in. We had asked JNNRUM to provide 5,900 more buses to the city," BMTC official sources said.
"We accept that we have sufficient number of buses running in the city. But to give a tough competition to private sectors, we are introducing innovative hi-tech, low-floor buses in the city to attract more passengers. As there are few depots to keep the buses, we are planning to construct eight more such facilities in the city. When the number of buses increases, bus stations and depots will go up gradually. These depots will be constructed in two months along with the 10 traffic and transit management centres (TTMCs)," the sources said.
"But introducing more buses is not all a solution to decongest roads and help passengers. This will only bring more bottlenecks and chaos. BMTC is operating about 5,600 buses. This is more than sufficient provided the corporation operates the services correctly and through proper routes," said Muralidhar Rao, traffic expert.
"But unfortunately, BMTC does not conduct any survey before introducing buses to a particular area. Instead of that, they randomly keep introducing buses to places where majority of the people rely on personalised transport. On the other hand, there are places where people are yearning for more buses as frequency is less. Unless the BMTC conducts proper surveys and formulates strategies on direction-oriented routes, adding more buses will neither help the BMTC nor the public," Muralidhar Rao, traffic expert, said.
MN Sreehari, another traffic expert, said if the BMTC planned to bring in more buses, there would be no space available in city to accommodate them.
"Till now, the BMTC has not conducted any systematic 'origin dedicated survey' before introducing buses to a particular area. So whenever new buses come in, they just indiscriminately operate the buses on trial-and-error basis. When the buses do not operate profitably, they withdraw the buses. After metro comes, most of the buses will be running empty. This will result in huge losses to the BMTC. So it should start re-routing the buses and operating on 'passenger-oriented routes' which will bring huge demand from the commuters," Sreehari said.
"We are happy if more buses serve the city. This will increase the number of services for passengers. We are in the process of constructing depots across the city. In two months, eight more depots will be ready to accommodate more buses," K Vishwanath, chief traffic manager of BMTC, said.

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