Sunday, December 28, 2008

Drivers cold shoulder A/C bus stop

Drivers cold shoulder A/C bus stop

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‘ Buses never stop at shelters on Kasturba Road. Why waste so much money on constructing a new air-conditioned shelter? Deepak Bhardwaj, Student We pick people up from wherever they are standing. People should be told to wait at the proper bus shel- ters, and not at any place they please. Shantaraj, Bus driver
Both buses and passengers seem to be ignoring the newly opened airconditioned bus shelter on Kasturba Road. While buses zip pass the bus shelter, commuters seem to be waiting for them anywhere but at the stop.

Says Vishwa Das, who guards the bus shelter, “Not even one bus has picked up passengers from here. Only a couple of autos occasionally park in front of the stop.” Few commuters too find their way here.

“Since the buses never stop, there is no point in people waiting for them here,” he points out. The largely empty bus stop has not one but two guards to look after it. Vishwa Das is relieved by another guard when his shift his done. But they have been providing security to empty shelters until now.

According to Deepak Bhardwaj, an MBA aspirant, the air-conditioned bus stop is a waste of space. “I have been travelling on this route for the past five years and have never seen any bus stop at shelters here. Why waste so much money on constructing a new air-conditioned shelter?” he asks.

The buses pick up passengers from a point around 40 to 50 metres behind the bus shelter at the beginning of Kasturba Road but never from the stop itself.

People stand on the pavement near the entrance of Cubbon Park to catch the buses which slide to a halt at this point, causing traffic snarls and putting pedestrians to inconvenience. Says traffic policeman Shashi Kumar, who is posted near Hudson circle, “Pedestrians are inconvenienced by passengers running helter and skelter to catch buses which are meant to stop at the new shelter here, but never do. Unless the BMTC makes sure the buses stop at the designated spots, there could be accidents on the road.” Bus drivers blame the passengers, who they claim don’t wait at the new airconditioned bus stop.

Says a bus driver, Shantaraj, “It is not our fault if passengers stand at other spots on the road to wait for buses. They probably find these points more convenient than the bus stop. We pick them up from wherever they are standing. People should be told to wait at the proper bus shelters, and not at any place they please.” But commuters refuse to take the blame. “Passengers are not mad to wait for the buses under the scorching sun when there are two bus shelters here. It is the bus drivers who ignore these shelters,” says Anirudh, a student of National College. He explains that he did wait for buses at the old stop only to find that none of them ever stopped there.

The story is similar at bus shelters in Domlur and J P Nagar.

BMTC officials maintain that drivers have been strictly instructed to pick up passengers only from bus shelters and not from anywhere else. But the advice seems to have had little effect on the drivers who live by their own rules.

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