Partial unlock: With no public transport, commuters struggle

Vehicles on Ballari Road in Bengaluru on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

As the city began limping back to normality after the State government partially lifted the lockdown in most parts of Karnataka from Monday, commuters had a difficult time getting to places without the availability of public transport.

According to the orders of the government, only autorickshaws and taxis are allowed to operate. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is operating around 320 buses for those who carrying out essential services and chartered services. At Majestic on Monday, migrant workers and others were seen waiting for buses, but only those who had valid ID cards were allowed to board the essential services buses. Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. is also not operating Namma Metro train services, as per government orders.

Citizens have questioned the government’s decision. Arun Prasad, a resident of Wilson Garden, said, “On Monday, I wanted to travel from Wilson Garden to Kandaya Bhavan and stopped a BMTC bus. The conductor told me that only those doing essential services were allowed to board and asked me to show an ID card. I did not have one as I am not a government official and do not do any essential service work. But I showed him documents to prove I had work. Neither I nor a courier delivery person was allowed in.”

He said it was unfortunate that only autorickshaws and taxis were allowed to ply, while city buses, used most by commuters, especially the poor, were not given the green signal.

With the relaxations, traffic made a big comeback. Traffic jams were seen at major junctions as the traffic police struggled to handle the situation. Hundreds of vehicles coming from the neighbouring districts were seen stuck in long queues at the entry and exit points of the city. Traffic jams were reported at Freedom Park, Seshadripuram, Malleswaram, Town Hall, Richmond Road, Kempe Gowda Road, and in and around Majestic. As many as 154 vehicles, including 139 bikes, were seized for violating the rules and 12 cases were booked under the Disaster Management Act against shops and commercial establishments.

The government has allowed people to purchase essential commodities between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. People thronged K.R. Market and Avenue Road to buy groceries. “It was very difficult to manage the situation after 2 p.m. as hundreds of vehicles were still plying on the road and the commuters were giving excuses,” a police officer said.

Street vendors are optimistic the increased business hours would help them find more customers. Giridhara, a street vendor in Yelahanka, said, “People like us suffered a lot during the lockdown. We earn on a daily basis to meet the household expenses. We are hoping the extended hours will help us find more customers.”

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 1:58:14 PM |

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