In one of my earlier posts I had brought out some of the transport problems that the ordinary citizens of Bangalore face daily while commuting.
In this post I will list down a few practical steps that can be taken in our city to mitigate to a certain extent the transport problems that we face today in our day to day life.
From meter to App – Bangalore Autos: In Bangalore, at least on paper, the autos run on the concept of metered fare. The reality unfortunately as we all know is totally different. Apart from haggling for higher
Fares than those stipulated by the transport department, most auto drivers in the city refuse even to switch on their meters. Some even go to the extreme of hurling expletives and threatening hapless travellers if they ask the reason from the auto drivers for demanding extra or refusing to ply to their destination. The traffic police usually will refuse to act against these errant drivers.
One of the innovation that the RTO and the transport department can implement is to have a similar software application or app that is used by cab aggregators – Uber and Ola.
All autos in Bangalore must install the RTO approved software application. Booking for autos is to be done only via the App which would be owned by a centralised agency under the purview of the government, however, to ensure efficiency and effectiveness the management would be run by professionals only.
One suggestion would be to outsource the maintenance to an outsourced agency similar to what has been done in respect of some of the passport services which has been outsourced by the Ministry of External Affairs.
To avoid moon lighting, all autos must ensure that the software application is running for at least 8 hours in a day for either 5 or 6 days in a week. Any deviation has to be explained with proof.
While this concept is targeted for the general public at large, I am sure that like uber and Ola, once this app is developed and installed in all the autos plying in Bangalore, auto rickshaw drivers would also benefit in the long run through higher customer acceptance.
In addition the app would also help to track the movement of auto and provide customer feedback.
Errant auto drivers can be identified and post investigation of any complaint their licence cancelled.
BMTC bus timings:
With Bangalore being a 24X7 city, it is imperative that we have a public transport system in tune to meet the requirements of a modern ,cosmopolitan city .While 24X7 bus facility may not be feasible yet due to safety issues , it would be worthwhile to implement normal bus services at least till 12 AM midnight.
The skeleton bus service that we see plying from 11PM till early morning is not adequate to meet the transport needs of a modern workforce working different shift timings, supporting different geographies of the world or in many cases stretching to meet deadlines over and beyond their normal work timings.
From personal experience of traveling daily from Brookfield to Electronic City. I am amazed by the fact that while private taxi and bus operators provide services till around 1 AM in the morning, the BMTC buses except for a few routes are almost non-existent.
I am not expecting the transport department of running normal bus services till 1 AM but what I want them to do is at least run the services till 12 o’clock midnight. For example the rush that I see amongst ordinary city folks to catch a private bus say from Cosmos Mall or Kundanhalli gate or Marthalli Bridge to go to Silk Board at around 11PM at night clearly proves that BMTC has missed a few tricks to plug the ballooning revenue deficit that it cries about daily.
In contrast when I wait for a bus at around 2.30 PM in the afternoon till 3PM at silk board to show up to take me to Brookfield , I can count at least 20 to 30 Volvo busses of route 500CA going almost empty.
It is bemusing and saddening to view the national wastage in terms of diesel and depreciating vehicles that ply nearly empty at that time on the silk board to ITPL route.
Just like many modern private sector organisations have multiple shifts to cater to their business requirements, BMTC should also do a time study of the demand and then modify the bus routes and timing accordingly.
It is no point in providing 20 Volvo AC busses on a route at a particular time period when there is no demand for the same. Instead allocate more busses on a route and time when there is an existing demand to be tapped.
In this way not only will it be able to reduce expenditure but also increase their revenue, which can be invested in upgrading their infrastructure.
Bangalore needs more skywalks .One of the major reasons for slowing traffic that I have noted at major choke points in the city is the absence of skywalks. While the city authorities have slowly woken up to the problems by constructing a few skywalks in Koramangala/Adugodi on the Hosur Road, as always a lot more needs be done.
My personal experience of watching people crossing the busy and congested roads, the Marthalli Bridge and at numerous points on the outer ring road being an example is that the absence of sky walks not only are a cause for growing accidents but also is factor for slowing down the traffic in our already congested roads.
The crossing from Marthalli to Kalamandir bus stop across the outer ring road has been crying out for a skywalk since decades but it seems that simple solutions to problems escape those in whose hands we have entrusted our governance.
Another sky walk should be constructed at the busy silk board junction which connects the southern part of the city to Bangalore. The daily foot count at silk board would easily run into tens of thousands and a sky walk would be greatly beneficial to the daily commuters who use silk board as the central point to reach their destination to a different part of the city.