After over one-and-a-half years, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) resumed night services from Sunday. To begin with, 70 buses will be operated on various routes.
Considering the dip in the number of COVID-19 cases, on November 6, the State Government lifted the night curfew imposed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., paving the way for the BMTC to extend services.
A BMTC official said, “During pre-COVID-19 times, we used to operate 130 buses as night services. We will start with 70 buses and steps will be taken to increase the services depending on the patronage. Usually, people working in hotels, malls, and restaurants or those having late night shifts use these services. As per schedules, the buses will be operated on prominent routes from Majestic and other points.”
For late night services, the BMTC charges one-and-a-half rate.
Patronage for city buses has been gradually increasing. The BMTC is running close to 5,200 buses every day. On an average, 21 lakh to 22 lakh people are travelling in city buses. “Patronage is increasing gradually. However, we are yet to reach pre-lockdown time ridership. Due to work from home and other factors, people are yet to travel in large numbers. During pre-COVID-19 times, we had an average daily ridership of 35 lakh,” an official said.
A majority of the buses operated are ordinary ones. The BMTC has a fleet size of 860 AC buses, but hardly 120 are operational. The BMTC is gradually increasing the number of AC bus services depending on the demand.
Namma Metro services
On the other hand, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) is buying time to extend the metro services. During pre-COVID-19 times, Namma Metro services were available till midnight. Now, metro services are available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. After resumption of services, for the first time, the metro ridership touched 2.9 lakh on November 8.
Chief PRO of BMRCL B.L. Yashwanth Chavan said, “Discussion is on about extending metro services. We have to consider various factors prior to that. On Mondays, the ridership is very high and on other days it drops. Depending on the demand, the BMRCL will decide on extending the services.” But commuters are demanding that the BMRCL extend services till midnight. Mohan Kumar, a metro passenger, said, “The number of people coming out for shopping or dining is increasing after lifting of the night curfew. In the interest of the public, the BMRCL should extend the services. There is also a need to run feeder services from metro stations during night.”