They either waited for hours or paid through their nose

The wait was long and tempers short for a good many commuters in the city as they felt the impact of the strike by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) staff which began on Thursday.

Bus stands and terminuses were deserted all day and people waited for a minimum one hour to get a transport vehicle.

Maheen (name changed), a Kaverinagar resident whose office is near Shankar Math, said: “I took a tempo till M.G. Road and walked to Shivajinagar bus stand where I’ve been waiting for over an hour for a bus,” she said.

“There have been no buses since morning. I have been waiting for hours to catch one to Basavanagudi,” said another commuter waiting at the Jayanagar IV Block bus stand.

Police security

Officials at the bus depot said that it was mainly buses heading to Majestic that were operating since morning and that too irregularly. Many police personnel were also stationed at the bus depots to prevent any violence.

Police official Gowramma said that each bus operating had a police personnel onboard and provided with walkie-talkies.

Varsha, a third year degree student, whose college is in Jayanagar, said that she and her friends decided to stay put at home.

“Many of my classmates come from Vijayanagar and Kengeri and they did not go to college. We called our teachers and asked them to reschedule some of our classes,” she said.

Autos make hay

Meanwhile, as is their wont, many autorickshaw drivers made hay as they extracted the last rupee possible from desperate passengers.

Shivajinagar resident Vinod had been waiting for hours at the bus terminus rather than pay the Rs. 300 quoted by auto drivers to go to Yeshwanthpur. “I refused and came to the bus stand but no buses have come for a long while now,” he said.

Babu, a social worker, said that he was asked to pay Rs. 120 to go from Shivajinagar to Upparpet.

“I had gone to buy some items from a shop and the auto driver asked me to pay double meter,” he said.

Vijayanagar resident Pooja said that she managed a bus to Majestic but was asked to pay Rs. 400 by the auto driver to go from there to J.P Nagar. “I somehow reached my office in the morning. But I am concerned about getting back home as the situation may be worse in the evening,” she said.

Fewer patients

Hospitals reported a dip in outpatients. The Medical Superintendent of Victoria Hospital observed a five per cent decrease and attributed it to the absence of public transport.

However, the doctors and other paramedical staff reported for duty as the hospital had arranged for their transport, according the Medical Superintendent.

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