Workshop on studying equity and access in Bangalore's bus services
Non-existent facilities for people with disabilities, physically handicapped, high fares and low frequency of bus services were among the prominent issues raised at a workshop held by Hasiru Usiru, a citizens' volunteer group, on Tuesday.
The workshop, open to public participation, aimed at examining the problems of commuters and evolving possible methodologies to study these problems.
Participants complained of improper planning of bus services in the city's central and peripheral sections.
At a similar group discussion held for children recently, many complained of ill-treatment by the crew when they board buses with large schoolbags, said Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru.
A student at Tuesday's consultation added: “I frequently cycle. But there are no facilities to stack my cycle on a bus and board it when I am tired.”
N. Parameswaran, Chikkalasandra resident and retired HAL financial controller, said bus fares are at the nub of the crisis.
If they are reduced, more people would use the service. This, he said would cut BMTC's losses and benefit commuters.
Contrasting the stark inequity in the transport sector, Mr. Sreenivasa pointed out that the government spends crores on the metro and Volvo buses, which are aimed at the upper crust of society. But ordinary buses, which the masses use, get barely any attention. Quoting a recent survey, he said though 40 to 45 lakh commuters use buses every day, the services are not widely accessible.
Through such meetings Hasriru Usiru plans to evolve the basis for a study on commuters' issues, which will begin in May. The group hopes the findings will ultimately be a tool to campaign for bus services which are equitable, not for profit and accessible to all, “especially the most disadvantaged sections in our city,” said Mr. Sreenivasa.
The workshop saw participants from other organisations as well, including the Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU), Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, Centre for Social Concern - St. Jospeh's College, Bangalore Slum Janara Samanvaya Samiti and CIVIC Bangalore. All these groups plan to collaborate with Hasiru Usiru for the upcoming study.