In 2019, with much fanfare, the ‘priority bus lane’ was opened on a stretch of 17 km between Silk Board and K.R. Puram at a cost of ₹14.3 crore. Today, it has “disappeared”.
Once the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) started work on the Outer Ring Road (ORR), the road narrowed and authorities decided to remove all the bollards installed to demarcate the bus priority. The BMRCL is building over 750 pillars on ORR to facilitate the construction works on the median of the road, which requires nine metres of space.
As the metro work progressed, demands came from various quarters to allow all types of vehicles on the priority lane. Recently, the authorities re-asphalted the road, including the stretch that was dedicated for bus lanes. However, signages about instructing motorists to not use bus lanes, cautioning about surveillance cameras and others still remain.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has removed 25,000 fibre-reinforced bollards protecting the bus lanes on both sides of the ORR. The BBMP, which installed the bollards on the ORR as per the plan given by Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), gave responsibility of removing the bollards to BMRCL.
An BBMP official said: “We have directed the BMRCL to store the bollards and re-install it in future once the work on the stretch is completed. Any material used for the bus lanes will not be wasted.”
V. Manjula, commissioner of DULT, also said that BMRCL will reinstall the bollards once the work is completed. “Since the road was narrow after the Namma Metro work started, the bus lane was removed, and we have told the BMRCL to reinstall the bollards once the metro work is done.”
A senior traffic official said: “After the metro works started on ORR, traffic flow got impacted as the width of the main lanes narrowed. For smooth flow of the traffic on ORR, many measures have been put in place. We have asked the BMTC to instruct their bus drivers to use the service roads instead of taking the main lanes. Rest of the traffic will go on main lanes. This will help in decongesting the traffic wherever possible. Bus stops will be temporarily shifted on the service roads till completion of the metro project.”
“Only after 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. we allow for closure of roads wherever required, for movement of heavy machinery or construction material. On other hand, we have also asked the BMRCL to remove the barricade once they are done with construction of the pillar. We are also getting support for manning the traffic. Considering the safety of pedestrians, the BBMP has been asked to provide lifts or provide safe access to the skywalk,” the official added.