Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A route to break the gridlock

A route to break the gridlock

Deccan Herald

The grid system will be introduced to reduce pressure on the bus stands. Commuters will have to travel across grids by switching buses to reach destination.

Till now, all the bus rush was directed towards the City’s centre. But soon, Bangaloreans will start moving in circles and squares.

The BMTC is planning a major revamp of its routes, replacing the present central system with a grid system of network. What comes out is a complicated mesh of big circles, small circles, ring roads and square grids, along with a lot of bus-hopping. But this brainchild of the BMTC’s Commuter Comfort Task Force (CCTF), also promises what Bangaloreans need most: Lesser travel time and less road congestion.

The main idea behind the grid system is to reduce pressure on the City’s major bus stands, mainly in Majestic, City Market and Shivajinagar. A whopping 3,587 buses of the total BMTC fleet strength of 3,925, ply in these areas of Bangalore. With the grid system, it is expected that the pressure on central city routes will be reduced by half.

The grid system will be direction-centric rather than destination-centric. Commuters will have to travel across grids, switching buses to reach their destination.

This bus shuffling might seem tedious and expensive, but BMTC authorities assure that it will not be so. Explains Mr R V Bhosekar, Chairman of the CCTF, “As there will be short routes inside the grid, with a maximum distance of 10 km, the frequency of buses will increase and travel time will be reduced to reach the main routes. As all main grid routes do not share the same destination, not many buses will vie for road space (as is currently happening in the present road network), resulting in less traffic bottlenecks and higher speed”.

The decision of BMTC to increase its fleet to 4,440 by October will be an added advantage.

“More buses will be plying in all directions, which will increase the frequency considerably. There will be one bus every five minutes on every route,” said Dr Upendra Tripathi, Chairman of BMTC.

As for the biggest objection — multi-ticketing — the BMTC is considering introducing fair fare solutions for the commuters. These include introducing automated ticketing machines on all routes, where fares will be determined by the travel time required between destinations.
Reduction in ticket fare

Another suggestion is to reduce ticket denominations from the existing Rs 2 - Rs 8 to Rs 1 - Rs 4, to bring down travel costs. However, the BMTC is yet to decide upon the fare system, revealed Dr Tripathi.

But it would be another few months before the new system comes in place across the City. Before that, a series of awareness campaigns and public debates have been planned to create public opinion. “People will naturally resist a change in the system, so we will interact with them to inform them about this system’s feasibility. There are going to be few alterations in the routes, which they will have to agree upon before we initiate changes,” said Dr Tripathi.


The grid system works like this: 27 high density trunk corridors have been designed, which are more or less straight lines moving vertically, horizontally and diagonally. None of the grid routes overlap. Two circular routes, one in the central area and the other at the Outer Ring Road, is also planned. Additionally, feeder ring routes within each grid have been introduced to provide bus access to the interior areas. Two-three wards are expected to be covered within each grid.

A commuter who wants to travel from, say, Jayanagar to Benson Town could choose between two routes. One route could be via BTS bus stop on the vertical grid (green), and switch to horizontal (blue) at Shivajinagar. Another shorter route could be on a diagonal (orange) grid, a switch to vertical at Richmond Town, move via Cubbon Park to reach Benson Town.


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