There were traffic gridlocks as BMTC buses went off the road on September 13 and 14
Scenario 1: On September 13 and 14 when employees of State road transport corporations went on strike, people expected the city to be free of traffic as 6,000 BMTC buses were off the roads.
Instead, there were traffic gridlocks on major trunk routes. The reason: those who routinely travelled by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses brought out their own vehicles.
Scenario 2: Namma Metro, which runs services between Byappanahalli and Mahatma Gandhi Road, ferried around 7,000 passengers more than the normal quota of about 15,000 passengers.
Scenario 3: Levels of air pollution drastically increased — sulphur dioxide by 33 per cent and nitrogen dioxide by 27 per cent on September 14 near the Bangalore City Railway Station. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board officials attributed this increase in the pollution levels to the extra two-wheelers and four-wheelers plying on the roads. The strike served to show the people’s reliance on BMTC services and indicate a strong future for Namma Metro.
Private vs Public
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M. Abdulla Saleem told The Hindu that any number of private vehicles cannot match public transport, particularly BMTC buses.
More than 45 lakh people travel by BMTC buses every day, approximately 22 lakh each half of the day.
During the strike, these commuters brought out their private vehicles, the result of which was traffic jams, Mr. Saleem said.
BMTC has provided at least 800 buses on chartered service to information technology companies and others to wean away employees of these sectors from using private vehicles.
These buses too did not ply during the strike.
Mr. Saleem said that the worst affected localities were the IT corridors — Hosur, Bannerghatta and HAL Airport Roads, Bellary Road, Richmond Road, Okalipuram and surrounding areas.
Despite complete disruption of bus services on the two days as well as on Bharat Bandh on September 20, Namma Metro operated normal services, even though the ridership on Bharat Bandh was about 50 per cent of the normal days.
Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. Director (Operations and Rolling Stock) D.D. Pahuja said that the corporation had enhanced security arrangements in view of the strike as well as the bandh. “We had deployed additional men and officers in each station and train besides subjecting every passenger to compulsory frisking to ensure safe operations,” Mr. Pahuja said.
He noted that unlike road transport, rail-based transport is less prone to disturbances from external forces given the nature of its infrastructure.
Phase 1 of Namma Metro is scheduled for completion in December 2014 even as BMRCL is gearing up to open a stretch of the North-South Corridor, from Peenya to Sampige Road Metro Station by April next.
Namma Metro Phase 1 is projected to carry about 12 lakh passengers every day when fully ready.
Namma Metro Phase 2 with 61 stations on a 71-km network is awaiting Union government clearance.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2017 and is expected to transport 15 lakh passengers every day.
BMTC, according to its outgoing Managing Director K.R. Srinivasa, has added about 300 new buses this financial year.
It will add 600 more before April next.
He said that several initiatives are in the pipeline to make BMTC the preferred mode of transport for Bangaloreans.