BBMP to install plastic bollards on bus priority lane

Officials hope that the barriers will keep other motorists out of the lane

January 08, 2020 10:51 pm | Updated January 09, 2020 12:56 am IST

In the early days, the civic body had installed metal bollards, many of which were damaged during the trial run. Owing to fear of accidents, they were removed.

In the early days, the civic body had installed metal bollards, many of which were damaged during the trial run. Owing to fear of accidents, they were removed.

Two months after the bus priority lane on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) was introduced between Tin Factory and Silk Board, commuters, BMTC drivers and officials say that it is yet to reach its potential. Initially, after a flurry of campaigns, motorists for the most part followed the rules. But in the absence of a physical barrier and constant vigilance, private vehicles, especially two-wheelers, have started using the bus lane.

To tackle the problem, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to install plastic bollards designed by the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT), along the bus priority lane. BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar told The Hindu that flexible plastic bollards will be installed, and in certain spots, there will be interlocking plastic barricades.

Officials hope that the plastic barriers will instil discipline among motorists.

In the early days, the civic body had installed metal bollards, many of which were damaged during the trial run. Owing to fear of accidents, the bollards were removed.

Citizens’ groups, which have been conducting their own campaigns urging people to switch to public transport, pointed out that barricades alone will not solve the problem. More signage and punitive action against errant drivers is required, they argued.

“I was on ORR on Tuesday morning and saw motorists, mostly on two-wheelers, using the bus lane,” said Prasad D. “Closer to Marathahalli, there was a traffic pile-up. Buses were on the priority lane, but they were blocked by other vehicles who were also using the lane. What I saw was a collapse of the concept.”

K.G. Mohan of Bellandur Jothege, who commutes frequently on ORR, said that awareness drives need to carried out at regular intervals. “Stringent punitive action should be taken against those who stray into the bus priority lane. Until there is strong enforcement of punishment, there won’t be tangible change,” he said.

The BMTC, which had launched an innovative social media campaign, is optimistic. C. Shikha, Managing Director, BMTC, said: “We are stabilising operations on the bus priority lane. They are improving day by day. Once everything is set and bus priority lane is expanded, our services will be more effective.”

BMTC drivers that The Hindu spoke to admitted that it’s not always a smooth ride on the stretch, and hoped that the plastic bollards will be a deterrent.

A BMTC bus driver said, “Since two-wheeler riders are conditioned to ride on the left of the road, they naturally get into the bus priority lane. If bollards are installed, it is easy to enforce lane discipline.”

DULT to submit design for bus priority lane

The Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has prepared a design for effective and sustainable implementation of bus priority lanes in the city, which it will submit to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

V. Ponnuraj, Chairman, DULT, said that the design was prepared at the behest of civic officials. “We have prepared a design based on the transportation engineering principles and practical knowledge. It includes practical solutions for handling vehicles at junctions and signals, installation of signages and colour codes. This will make the bus priority lane more efficient and sustainable,” he said.

He also said that other agencies involved in implementing bus priority lane, including the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP) and BMTC, have been briefed about the design.

“We have spoken and taken inputs from all the agencies concerned. We have got a positive response from all the departments,” he added.

‘Police should go smart’

Citizens want the Bangalore Traffic Police to add violations on the bus lane to the Public Eye app, which allows users to submit photos or videos of violations. However, there is no provision for lane violation.

“Once violations on bus priority lane can be uploaded on the Public Eye app, it will encourage people not only to follow the rules but also make others follow them,” said a BMTC driver.

A marshal on ORR, who was monitoring traffic, said that it is not possible to catch every errant motorist. “Every day, I spot many violations. If I can take a picture or a video with the vehicle’s number plate and post it on the Public Eye app, it will be effective,” said the marshal.

Acknowledging the problems, senior police officials cited the lack of manpower and unwillingness on the part of motorists to obey rules. “Installing mannequins with cameras throughout the stretch will definitely help in bringing down such violations,” said an inspector.

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