Friday, December 18, 2009

Wait for bus shelters ends

Wait for bus shelters ends
Ownership Goes To BMTC
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: The long wait for bus shelters, mainly in the newly added areas of Bangalore, could finally be over.
The BBMP has written to the BMTC, handing over ownership of the bus shelters and with it, the task of creating new shelters. This is in sync with the recommendations of the ABIDe transportation report which suggested the BMTC should be in-charge of bus shelters.
ABIDe sources said the location of bus shelters was dependent more on them being prime space for ad revenue rather than being need-based. Currently, the city has close to 600 bus shelters, but even by a rough estimate, the BMTC still needs at least 1,000 in the newly added areas. Also, in South Bangalore there are five new busbays ready but waiting for bus shelters.
The bustling Museum Road which is now a one-way, still has an old shelter on the ‘wrong side’ and not used at all.
EXAMPLES OF POOR PLANNING
A swanky AC shelter stands empty most often right beside a regular one on Kasturba Road, many shelters right at the entry and exit points of flyovers, many crowded with ads and no proper information to commuters who need it most, the ride from Anandrao Circle towards SJ Polytechnic College near K R Circle — dotted with educational and government institutions, this is probably the most frequented lane by bus commuters.
The recent development work on this stretch has sure got in broader roads, an underpass and thus more relief at the ever busy signal. But, a simple bus shelter here still needs proper planning.
HUGE DIFFERENCE
“There’s a huge difference between the BMTC asking for bus shelters and BBMP’s action. The main reason is it’s being done on a PPP mode and there aren’t many takers for ‘non-prime’ areas. The new agreement might also remove the tension between ad revenue and information value. Further, this might also get in a single agency to implement better planning based on commuters’ needs. Currently, the BBMP handles it as footpaths and sidewalks come under their jurisdiction and bus shelters are built on them,’’ an ABIDe member told TOI.
Though the written communication is yet to be given, oral confirmation has already brought in relief for BMTC. “We’ve been waiting for this. The exact plan is yet to be finalized. But, we’ll try to put up bus shelters at our own expense or might go the PPP way. The focus will also be on the right to information displayed on the shelters. It should benefit commuters more than anything else,’’ a senior BMTC official explained.
Sources in BBMP markets department confirmed this deal. “This is in agreement with what the BMTC had suggested. The city now has about 650 bus shelters now operated on a BOOT (Build- Operate-Own- Transfer) mode on a fiveyear contract. About 288 will be ready in four months.
“However, the issue came up as the new areas hardly have any takers. The BMTC has a list of at least 1,000 such spots. So, they’ll set up these shelters while we provide the land. In case of any ad revenue, it will be shared,’’ a BBMP official explained.
BUS MATTERS
Location of bus shelters was dependent more on them being prime space for ad revenue rather than
being need-based
Currently, the city has close to 600 bus shelters
BMTC still needs at least 1,000 in the newly added areas
In South Bangalore, there are five new busbays ready but waiting for bus shelters

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