BMTC buses come in clusters every 45 minutes, putting passengers in a fix
At the end of a long day, it’s an endless wait for hundreds of daily wage workers, labourers and employees of private companies and factories anxious to get from their workplaces abutting Outer Ring Roads (ORRs) around the city.
As the sun disappears into the horizon, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses too perform the vanishing act, only to resurface after half an hour to 45 minutes in multiple numbers.
During this interval, one can see tens of hundreds of people thronging bus-stops, particularly at major junctions including Hebbal, Goraguntepalya, Kottigepalya, Kengeri, Nayandahalli, Banashankari, Silk Board, Marathahalli, Tin Factory and other places.
N. Sathyan, who commutes between K.R. Puram and Peenya (Tumkur Road), said he is lucky if he can manage to get to his workplace/home within two hours. Otherwise it is a tedious three hours for him. Even if a bus stops at Goraguntepalya, it is just impossible to get in as it is packed with commuters far outnumbering its capacity.
Ring road bus journeys are particularly stressful for women. Sujatha Sham, who works for a garment unit in Peenya and stays off Hebbal, said as there are fewer buses late evenings, male passengers occupy every available seat. “Besides, the situation offers excuses to troublemakers,” she said.
Even bus-stops at major junctions are sources of trouble for commuters. Sumangala Ramesh, waiting for her bus from Hebbal to K.R. Puram, said: “I just thank the Almighty every evening after boarding the bus whenever I escape lecherous looks and lewd comments.” She said the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should provide proper shelters with sufficient lighting at all the major junctions. “Our plight worsens whenever it rains.”
Bhola Ram, a construction worker, said he often accepts a lift from cabs when the buses don’t turn up. “I know boarding a vehicle driven by strangers is dangerous. But I have little option,” he said.
BMTC Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) C. Nagaraj told The Hindu 364 ordinary buses and 151 Volvo buses (with route numbers 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 600, 601 and their alphabetical series) make 3,200 and 888 trips respectively every day on the ORRs. “We have found the number of buses and the trips are sufficient for the traffic demand. Arrival of buses at particular locations could be delayed due to evening traffic snarls,” Mr. Nagaraj reasoned.
BMTC is prepared to conduct a survey by deploying special squads on all ring road junctions and improve public service wherever necessary, he said.