Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The right drive

The right drive

Before all the fancy transport innovations, BMTC ought to clean up its act
The Hindu

There has been plenty of talk of late about modernising the public transport system in Bangalore with the hope that it will reduce the ever-increasing number of vehicles. Skybus, monorail, and now of course the almost-launched metro, are on everyone's lips. Wouldn't it be nice if authorities were to pay attention to the here and now BMTC?

A few months ago, I spent some time in Birmingham, U.K. It has an excellent and user-friendly bus system and I was able to visit almost every place of interest on my own. Before I chalked out my programme for the day, I could get all the details such as route numbers, the time the bus would be reaching a certain point, fare to be paid and so on from the Internet. The timings were rarely out by more than three minutes either way. While clockwork precision is a long way off, am I expecting too much when I ask the BMTC to publish a timetable once a year? In sufficient numbers so it doesn't get exhausted on the second day of its appearance?

If the BMTC would not like to be tied down to timings, it could at least issue pamphlets detailing the routes, route numbers, earliest starting time, last bus — the minimum information needed to plan a trip. When a bus arrives, by the time I try to squint through the dirty glass covering the route board to decipher where it is going and make sense of the small Kannada lettering, the bus is gone!

While everyone talks of eradicating corruption, some simple things BMTC can surely implement if they are interested. I am referring to the undignified spectacle of well-built young men sitting in seats reserved for women while long-suffering women, some carrying babies, hang on to the straps. A firm diktat to the crew that they would be punished if they condoned this should do the trick. But then who can help if women themselves, who vociferously demand reservation in Legislature, don't ask men to vacate the seats in the bus? I have rarely seen them do so.


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