Friday, February 05, 2010

Sporting Bangaloreans take to buses

Sporting Bangaloreans take to buses

Karan A.
BMTC says it witnessed a 25 per cent jump in commuters on Bus Day
BANGALORE: Thursday was a day with a difference. Many Bangaloreans left their cars behind and hopped on to Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses instead, thanks to Bus Day.

If the response is any indication, Bus Day could well be the beginning of a much-needed shift from private vehicles to BMTC buses. Said Ruthvik P., a software professional who boarded a Vajra (Volvo) bus at the Kempe Gowda Bus Station to ITPL: “I commute by bus: today I see more people here.”

The BMTC has declared the fourth day of every month as Bus Day. Its director (Projects) P.K. Garg said parking lots of IT majors Infosys and Wipro witnessed at least 1,000 fewer cars on the first Bus Day.

Up 25 per cent
Officials at the nodal Kempe Gowda Bus Station estimated that commuters’ numbers swelled by at least 25 per cent more. Although Bus Day focussed on the city’s IT corridor, the BMTC operated additional services on routes where there was a spike in demand because of the campaign.

Many new users, appreciating the BMTC’s initiative, said would travel by bus if the routes were better publicised and frequency increased.

The Vajra buses are really comfortable, said V.N. Raghu, a professional.

If timetables and route details were communicated better “more people, including me, will [switch to] BMTC services,” he said.

There were those who expressed their reservations about travelling by bus, apprehending that the narrow roads in and around the International Tech Park Ltd. (ITPL) would result in delays.

An IBM employee said he preferred riding his two-wheeler to reach office.

A few others were discouraged by the fact that they had to change two or three buses to reach their destinations.

IT major Wipro, which has an arrangement with BMTC to operate 200 trips terminating on its campus on Electronics City, said the trips peaked on Thursday at over 325. Although these trips terminate at Wipro from different parts of the city, other commuters too could board the buses en route.

Good response
Several senior executives of Wipro took the bus on Thursday. The IT major distributed Bus Day badges and caps to the BMTC staff and arranged a special lunch for all of them. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood said the police had deployed adequate number of police and Home Guards to ensure that the buses were not caught in traffic jams. They also ensured that the bus drivers parked the buses in bus bays and stuck to the bus lanes. Errant drivers were fined.

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