Thursday, April 29, 2010

Get on that bus

Get on that bus
Companies on Outer Ring Road approach BMTC for an exclusive fleet of buses to ferry their staff

If all goes well, tech employees working in the Outer Ring Road-Marathahalli-Sarjapur Road belt will travel to their workplaces through a Common Bus System (CBS) in a couple of months.
Eager to reduce traffic congestion and to cut down on the use of private transport, members of the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) have approached the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) for initiating CBS for their employees. This means that instead of taking cabs or their own vehicles, employees from different companies will travel in common buses.
Though talks are in the initial stages, both companies and BMTC are positive that the system will help at many levels — traffic management, reducing environment pollution and bringing down transport costs. A series of meetings have been held between BMTC senior officials and facility managers of companies — which are from IT, banking and other sectors — to discuss this issue.
“This will be like a semichartered service to tech hubs. The target is to get at least 6,000 employees from our 200 member companies to travel in the common bus system. Companies such as AOL, Accenture, Intel, Northern Trust, CISCO, Patni Computers and Genpact have expressed interest in using the system. If everything falls in place, we should start using such a system by June,” said Vishwanath Seetharam, General Secretary, ORRCA.
The Association has roped in a tech company, RCNTech to collate data from employees of member companies, to find out how many people are willing to travel by public transport. Of the 825 people who have logged in to RCNTech’s website in the last two weeks to provide information, as many as 90 per cent have said that they prefer to travel by BMTC Volvo and Marco Polo buses.
“The idea is to provide passes to employees through member companies in advance at Rs.1,300 per employee for a period of three months. We are looking at having these buses on around 30 routes, but these details are still being worked out,” Vishwanath said.
It is a win-win situation for companies and BMTC, feels Ganesh K, Asset manager, RMZ Corp and security in-charge for Ecospace Tech Park on ORR. “There are 16,000 employees in Ecospace alone. Even if 20 per cent decide to take public transport, it makes a big number,” he says.
Syed Zameer Pasha, managing director, BMTC, is positive about this initiative. “Yes, some tech companies have approached us to provide a common bus system and we are working out the details. We are happy they want to use public transport and we will provide all the assistance needed. They have told us that initially around 6,000 employees will use this service and details about passes and routes are being worked out,” he told Bangalore Mirror.


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