Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slum around in a BMTC bus

Slum around in a BMTC bus

The slum-to-bus stand service is likely to be named Badavara Bussu

Rohith BR, Bangalore

After introducing a spate of high-end services like the Volvo, HOHO, BIG 10 and Pushpak, the State Transport Department is now set to introduce a service tailored to the needs of the urban poor, manual workers or street vendors who travel frequently in public transport and live in the slums or poorer parts of the city.
In what might well be a record, state transport minister R Ashok said the custom-designed buses will ply from selected slums and poor areas in the city, connecting these with the nearest major bus stand, and vice versa. "We have selected 12 slums in the city and will be starting bus services for them soon," said an official in the transport department.
Minister R Ashok inspected one such bus designed for the urban poor service and suggested some changes in its features on Monday. "There are thousands of slum residents who cover long distances in search of daily wage work and other duties. The new service will go a long way in addressing their transport needs," he said.
The bus for the poor will have a large area dedicated to luggage, as many of the poor carry the implements of their trade with them. There will be fewer seats in the bus, arranged in single rows on either side. The bus will only have around 30 passengers sitting; the rest will be able to travel standing. Four handle bars will be provided so that the large number of passengers who travel standing can hold on for balance. The bus fares will be highly subsidised, as the service is meant for the city's poorest.
However, transport officials are not too pleased: "The idea cannot be faulted; however, we need adequate financial back-up, or we may incur losses if this service is taken up in a full-fledged manner," an official said.


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