Priority should be on hygiene too, say commuters

For lakhs of commuters on the State-run Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses, the increased fares don’t translate into better facilities.

As yet another Bus Day rolled by on Thursday, quite a few aired their grievances, saying BMTC had a long way to go before it became efficient, reliable, safe and comfortable. Many were pretty vocal about the recent fare hike and abysmal service, pointing out that priority should be on hygiene too.

Holding forth on the torn seats, dirty aisles and broken panes, Marilinga C., a construction labourer, fumed: “When it rains, the water comes inside. Some windows don’t close: maintenance is extremely poor.”

Bus-stands also came under fire. Jaffy Thomas, Christ University student, said the Shivajinagar terminus reeked of garbage and the water purifiers were defunct.

Other students complained about interminable wait after classes. “Sometimes we travel on the footboard in really crowded buses. We know that it’s unsafe but have no other option.”

Women complained of poor security. Nagamma, who works in a hotel near Shivajinagar, said: “Large bus-stops such as the Kempe Gowda Bus Terminus are deserted after 10 p.m. When I travel from work late in the night, men harass me.”

Admitting that the maintenance of buses was an issue, BMTC general manager (technical) C.G. Anand said 500 old buses would be replaced with new ones by March 2014. “Road infrastructure is directly linked to the condition of buses. Very often, punctures and breakdowns are caused by bad roads.”

The Hindu had also reported earlier how lack of maintenance had impacted the day-to-day BMTC operations as cancellation of services went up to 5.4 per cent in 2012–13 from 2.8 per cent in 2008–09.

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