Friday, February 12, 2010

Not-so-special platforms

Not-so-special platforms
Dedicated Spaces For Vajra Volvo Buses Confuse Commuters
Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: Passenger convenience is the mantra Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) seems to be adopting, to impress upon people the need to take buses every day.
Furthering the strategy, BMTC recently reorganized the way buses start from Majestic bus stand. Implemented a few weeks ago, Vajra Volvo buses now start from dedicated platforms. But not many seem to be happy with this ‘convenience’.
Passengers say it’s not only confusing to figure out which bus starts where; it is also a problem when you are in a hurry. Raghu G, a daily commuter, said there was always much confusion.
“Earlier, if I was in a hurry, I would take any bus that came along the platform. If it was a Volvo, good, or else the others. But now we have to go to a specific platform, with the specific purpose of taking a Volvo and wait there even if other buses are coming and going,” he rued.
The buses now leave from four platforms. BMTC officials said buses to Katriguppe, Chandra Layout, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Jayanagar and BTM Layout will leave from platform 1. Volvos to Peenya, Hebbal, Vidyaranyapura and Yelahanka will leave from platform 2, while buses to ITPL, Kadugodi and Marathalli will leave from platform 3.
Volvos from platform 4 will leave to Bannerghatta National Park, Anekal, Narayana Hrudayalaya and Electronic City. Narasimha N, another regular commuter, said it is especially a problem in late evening.
“If I have to take a regular bus, there is another platform, but in late evening, there may be a Volvo going in my direction. So I end up shuttling between two platforms hunting for a bus,” he said, adding it doesn’t make sense especially when someone is in a hurry.
Narasimha was witness to an interesting ‘violation’. “Volvos usually park in the first ring now. But late in the evening, around 10 pm, there were hoards of people waiting to go to Bannerghatta. One Volvo, instead of going to the designated ring one, came to ring three and 50 people got into the Volvo. There is uncertainty whether there is a lateevening Volvo. So people don’t wait at the Volvo ring. If the Volvo hadn’t come into ring three, it would not have got the 50 passengers.”
An elderly passenger complained about the shift in Vijayanagar-bound buses to the third ring. “We have been travelling from the first ring for so many years and it was convenient. But now all Volvos have shifted to that ring, though the number of people is less. The number of people in the third ring has gone up heavily. The older arrangement was much better,” Ramesh S said.
Even as passengers voice their disapproval, BMTC drivers are also saying there is a dip in the number of passengers. A Volvo driver, who did not want to be named, said: “Most people still do not know about the new arrangement and there is a decrease in the number of passengers. We end up going to other platforms and calling out to people.”
BMTC officials said they were aware of the confusion created by the new arrangement and termed it an ‘experimental’ move. Given the inconvenience created by moving all Vajra buses to just four platforms, they are mulling going back to the old arrangement, added sources.
Total Vajra Volvo schedules: 350 From Majestic: 149 Vajras, 9 Vayu Vajras From Shivajinagar: 11 Vajras No Volvos leave to City Market from Majestic


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