Wednesday, January 20, 2010

VOLVOS SHY OF FLYING OVER

VOLVOS SHY OF FLYING OVER
BMTC may not take the expressway due to the toll; it prefers to use the road
SUCHITH KIDIYOOR & SRIDHAR VIVAN


If you are one of those techies who travels to Electronics City in a Volvo bus every day, chances of you being deprived of a drive on the new elevated expressway are quite high. Reason: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is contemplating running its swanky red-coloured buses on the surface instead of the expressway.
The BMTC runs around 100 Volvo buses on the Electronics City route, catering mainly to the city’s techie population. The expressway, which is all set to be thrown open for traffic on Jan 22, is meant to reduce travel time between the central parts of the city and the IT hub.
HOLE IN POCKET
But what is coming in the way of a straight-drive by a Volvo bus is the toll fixed by the expressway promoters. As the toll charged for a bus on a single journey is Rs 70, it is likely to drill a bigger hole in the pockets of the BMTC’s Volvo fleet, which is desperately trying to break even.
“The best option would be to not use the expressway and take the road on the ground,” said a BMTC official.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, BMTC managing director Syed Zameer Pasha said, “We have not yet decided whether to operate our Volvo buses on the elevated flyover. As they are charging tariffs, we will look into the matter. People travelling in buses that take the expressway will be charged Rs 70. If the corporation uses the expressway, it has to shell out a lot of money as it operates around 100 buses to Electronics City.”
MORE STOPS ON GROUND
BMTC officials feel there is no need to use the elevated flyover as there will be less traffic on the existing road. Moreover, plying on the ground will increase the BMTC’s revenue as there are many bus stops en route.
“There are several stops from near the Central Silk Board up to Electronics City and a lot of commuters board the buses at these stops. If the bus takes the expressway, we will not only put these commuters to hardship but also end up losing revenue,” they said.
SLIGHT HIKE ‘FINE’
Srikanth, a techie who travels to Electronics City from Vijayanagar every day, says, “I wish the Volvo buses could use the flyover. It can easily save 20-25 minutes. BMTC can also consider having separate Volvo services using the flyover. We don’t mind paying three to four rupees extra if we can reach the other end fast.”
However, the KSRTC has kept its options open on plying the Airavata buses on the expressway. “These are long-distance buses and the travel time is crucial for us. We will take a decision later on using the expressway,” said a KSRTC official.

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