Monday, April 25, 2005

BMTC to worsen crisis on roads

BMTC’s expansion plan
Bussing Bangaloreans to a new crisis
Deccan Herald

It is target 4,440 for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The corporation is planning to add 518 buses to its kitty of 3,922 buses by October this year, to reach the magical figure.

Can Bangalore accommodate the latest batch of BMTC buses? With no studies conducted to find out the same, the BMTC seems to be responding purely by instinct, adding buses as per commuters’ demands.

Meanwhile, key questions remain unanswered: How much pressure can Bangalore roads take? What should be the ideal bus-population ratio? How many buses should ply within a certain stretch so that safety of other vehicles is ensured? Would unlimited supply of buses compromise on ecological concerns?

“There have not been any surveys to gauge the requirement of buses in Bangalore,” admitted BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathi. However, Delhi-based Rites Limited has been assigned to undertake a comprehensive traffic and transportation survey of Bangalore and submit the report in 10 months.

The BMTC’s prime goal, according to Mr Tripathi, is to get private vehicles off the roads, for which it is “willing to even add five times the number of buses that ply today”. Says Muralidhar Rao, Co-Chairman of Commuter Comfort Task Force formed by the BMTC, “The bus system should be dependable and understandable, with displays made simpler, routes clearer, and services made punctual.”

Traffic consultant and former IIM-Bangalore professor K M Ananth Ramaiah approves of the BMTC plan in theory, where “adding one bus is equivalent to adding three cars, but the latter causes more pollution and congestion, and does not offer the same capacity”.

Former Chief Secretary A Ravindra asserts that bus supply must be increased only if measures are introduced to curb private transport. The Traffic Police, meanwhile, welcomes this addition. “We want people to commute to schools and offices using public transport, which is possible only if connectivity is increased by introducing more buses in all routes,” says DCP (East) M A Saleem.

The bus bubble

No of buses: 3,922

Passengers per day: 31 lakh

Capacity utilization: 65 %

Routes: 1,250

No of bus shelters: 1,300

No of bus stations: 30

Types of buses:

Ordinary: 2,583

Parisara Vahini: 715

Pushpak: 156

Janapriya Vahini: 158

Swaraj mini buses: 129

Swaraj mini buses (A/C): 5

Vestibule buses: 91

Low floor buses: 60

Volvos (proposed): 25


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