A bus on the home stretch for HSR Layout residents in Bengaluru

Volunteer groups gear up to promote feeder service in the neighbourhood 

Updated - August 09, 2023 05:30 pm IST

Published - August 09, 2023 09:00 am IST - Bengaluru

One of the feeder service.

One of the feeder service.

As ‘Feeder IA’ makes its way into HSR Layout, residents receive the “visitor” variously -- some with a knitted brow, surprised by the presence of a BMTC bus in their neck of the woods; and those who knew it was coming their way, smile and hop on the bus for a ride. They are greeted by the conductor with an enthusiasm matching theirs. The conductor holds a laminated map of the route, and shares the details it has to offer. 

That is how it was on August 2 at HSR Layout, a day after the service started plying in the locality. 

SuMA programme

Launched by Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation, along with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) as part of the Sustainable Mobility Accords (SuMA) programme, this feeder service will go down as Bengaluru’s early exercises to address the question of last-mile connectivity.  

There is also an element of responsible citizenry to this initiative. The service with its various features can justifiably be seen as the result of three years of discussions between volunteers from HSR Citizen Forum and HSR Cyclists Group and DULT. 

Part of these interactions had helped firm up the stops on the route. Originating at Agara bus stand, the bus proceeds to take in the major sections of HSR Layout, including Mangammanapalya and Somasundrapalya. Eighteen stops have been marked, ensuring coverage of all the seven sectors of HSR Layout. Currently, 10 buses are in harness, and arrives with an impressive frequency of 10 to 15 minutes. 

A focus group discussion of students conducted during the pandemic.

A focus group discussion of students conducted during the pandemic. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Citizens’ engagement

The citizen group continues to engage with BMTC drivers to fine-tune the route and also to train the staff on adopting ways to nudge people into using this service. 

Nirupama V, a resident, got to know about this new service through the WhatsApp group from her street. “Although my walk home from the Agara bus stand needs less than 1.5 km, getting a bus to cover that distance for you is certainly a huge help after a long day at work,” says Nirupama, who uses the public transport to get to her workplace on MG Road. 

To get more people to use multi-modal transport, the citizen forum is working on creating awareness at educational institutions, parks, food joints and supermarkets. 

“We will soon be putting up posters at all these points to create awareness about the feeder service, its route, and frequency,” says Jayanthi Srikanth, member of HSR Citizen Forum and project lead for SuMA. 

Street plays, events in buses, and programmes to encourage children to switch to sustainable modes of transport are also being discussed. 

Cycle day events

Shashidhara K., founder of HSR Cyclists Group, which has 600 members, says every fourth Sunday is celebrated as Cycle Day in the neighbourhood and their new campaign pivots around adoption of multi-modal transport. 

“We are also reaching out to three major players in the co-working space that have a presence in the locality to encourage their tenants to adopt the feeder service,” says Shashidhara. He added that HSR Layout has 18 designated cycle parking areas, with the shopping hub 27th Main Road alone accounting for seven of them. 

How HSR Layout got picked 

As part of SuMA Cohort 2020-21 to engage communities in Bengaluru to promote sustainable neighbourhoods, applications were invited from registered Resident Welfare Associations/Societies/ Trusts. 

Seven communities or SuMA partners were shortlisted to undertake a project to help improve the mode share of sustainable mobility in their neighbourhood, says a note on the DULT website. 

They are Malleswaram, HSR Layout, Doddanekundi, Begur, Rajmahal Vilas (RMV), JP Nagar and Kanakapura. 

“HSR did not have a convenient public transport system connecting the neighbourhood all these years, so when we took five proposals and presented it at a community consultation, intra-layout shuttle service and last mile connectivity won the maximum votes,” says Jayanthi Srikanth, project lead for SuMA feeder bus service.  

The programme involved data collection and analysis, preparing proposals and implementing them. 

“Much of our ground work of engaging with people across sections was done during the pandemic which was a challenge, but because of the reach HSR Citizen Forum had through WhatsApp groups and with various initiatives we were able to accomplish,” says Jayanthi. 

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