For the first time, the City Police Commissioner has come out with a notification prohibiting entry of other vehicles on to the bus priority lane on Outer Ring Road (ORR) from Central Silk Board to Tin Factory (K.R. Puram) and then towards Byappanahalli. As per the notification issued on Friday, only city buses operated by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) can use the lane.
Starting Saturday, the traffic police will penalise motorists who violate the rule. “We have been conducting pilot runs for two weeks and sufficient awareness has been created. Now that it is officially notified, we will begin penalising offenders,” said B.R. Ravikante Gowda, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
For now, offenders will be booked under ‘other offences’ of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which comes with a fine of ₹500 for the first offence and ₹1,000 for every subsequent one. “However, we are writing to the State government recommending doubling these penalties,” Mr. Gowda said. The notification issued on Friday does not specify the penalties.
The notification states that the bus priority lane will help ease traffic on ORR. “It will help the BMTC provide faster services. Passengers relying on public transport will travel faster and waiting time will be reduced. The priority lane will also help reduce dependence on private vehicles,” the notification stated.
The bus priority lane will cover the 17-km stretch from Central Silk Board to Tin Factory (K.R. Puram) and the subsequent 3-km stretch towards Byappanahalli. However, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is yet to demarcate the entire stretch. BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar tweeted that a 12-km stretch of bus lane on ORR was functional.
Earlier in the day, BBMP Special Commissioner D. Randeep also tweeted on the matter, saying that work on the bus lane was under progress from Iblur to Silk Board Junction and would be completed by the end of November.
According to the plan, the BMTC will operate 835 buses, including 350 AC ones, on the priority lane. Buses plying on this stretch will have stickers with the words ‘Nim Bus’. To avoid breakdowns on the priority lane, the corporation has decided to operate buses with mileage not above 2,00,000 km. In the initial days, the bus priority lane will shave 30 minutes off the passenger’s commute time, according to officials.
The BMTC has installed cameras in 70 or so buses. “Footage of motorists violating the rule will be provided to the traffic police so that they can take action,” an official said.
The notification also talks about imposing one-way traffic restrictions on the service road of the ORR. One-way traffic has been introduced between Marathahalli and HDFC Home Loans building, E-Zone club and Marathahalli Bridge, E-Zone and Jeevika Hospital, and Marathahalli and Kadubeesanahalli, among other stretches.