Two private All India Transport Bus (AITB) operators have even set up their own bus-stands at the busy Ananda Rao Circle further choking the central parts of the city
The proliferation of private buses in the city has reached a stage where they are rubbing shoulders with city public transport. On the one hand, you have the government directing the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to shift operation of its buses from Majestic to the outskirts of the city — citing traffic congestion in the central parts of the city — while on the other, the government is turning a blind eye to the large number of private buses, which operate from the very same Majestic and Kalasipalya.
Worse, two private All India Transport Bus (AITB) operators have even set up their own bus-stands at the busy Ananda Rao Circle further choking the central parts of the city.
By the government’s own admission, more than 2,000 private buses operate from Bangalore to different destinations in Karnataka and to places like Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Mangalore, Ernakulam, Hubli and so on. KSRTC, and its sister corporations, NWKRTC and NEKRTC and RTCs of other States operate more than 6,000 long-distance services out of Bangalore.
These corporations as well as RTCs of other States have been forced to shift a majority of their operations to Mysore Road Terminal, NGEF on Old Madras Road and Shanthinagar, even while the process of shifting operations to Peenya is on. With many private transport operators turning politicians and senior officials owning buses, the government is hesitant to apply the same rule on private buses, claim sources in the transport corporations.
The blame also lies on the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, which as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, may construct bus-stands for private buses. However, establishment of private bus-stands requires licence from the corporation. While the BBMP has been collecting property tax from these two bus-stands on commercial rates, it is not clear whether the palike has accorded permission to operate the bus-stands.
On regulating movement and parking of private buses within the city, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M. Abdulla Saleem said it was not the duty of his department. “We have written to the Transport Department to cancel permits of all the private buses which operate from within the city until the BBMP provides them dedicated bus-stands,” Mr. Saleem told The Hindu. He admitted that these buses cause chaos across the city.
Transport and Road Safety Commissioner T. Sham Bhat said that cancelling permits for want of bus-stands may not be possible. The government has to take a comprehensive decision in this regard, he said. On the other hand, AITBs, Mr. Bhat said, are made to pay hefty road tax, at the rate of Rs. 3,250 per seat per quarter, which comes to over Rs. 1 lakh every three months. Despite this hefty tax structure and booking of a number of cases, they are operating the services, he said.
Asked what action his department proposes on these AITBs, Mr. Bhat said, “We’ll stop them. Let people suffer.” They cannot operate as stage carriages and cater to groups of tourists. “If they are violating this rule, we’ll cancel the permits,” Mr. Bhat said.