Bus timetable? Good idea, but it can't be done, says MTC

Anyone who has used a Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus to try and reach an unknown destination would know how easy it is to get lost in the city.

For commuters like Saurabh Sharma, a frequent user who wrote to the MTC seeking a booklet providing time and route information, a bus time-table would make a world of difference.

The MTC, however, in a written response to Mr. Sharma called the idea “unfeasible.”

It cited periodic modifications, augmentation of routes and timings on receipt of new vehicles and traffic congestion causing “non-keeping of schedule despatches” as the reasons for this.

However, S.K. Lohia, Officer on Special Duty (Urban Transport), Ministry of Urban Development, said “Information centres and toll-free helpline numbers are essential for transparent operation of urban transit systems. They are part of the guidelines under the bus procurement scheme of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)”. Chennai, like many other cities, has procured buses under the scheme.

“Corporations have been slow in adopting these features. But adequate timing information and route planning features must be available to all commuters if a city is serious about promoting public transportation,” he added.

Pointing out that it is impossible for a passenger to know about all the 300 odd bus routes in the city, Mr. Sharma said cities such as San Francisco, London and Munich provide a bus time-table for free.

“One can get them in any store. The guides also contain tourist-friendly circuits in the city. It is very easy to visit museums or parks in those cities, using public transportation.”

He added that booklets containing routes depicted on a map, with 80 per cent copies in Tamil and the rest in English, can be sold for a nominal amount helping the MTC to earn revenue as well.

A senior MTC official said that while he agreed in principle with the need for a route-wise information book, “providing precise arrival and departure timings when the buses are plying through highly congested city roads is unfeasible. Consumers will use the time table to find fault with us. We do not want to create problems for ourselves,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 12:52:11 AM |

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