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Uncomfortable ride for commuters

Treena Mukherjee, May 11, 2013, DHNS :

Bitter Complaints

Inconvenient: Commuters complain that BMTC conductors keep only one door open.

Commuters, who travel by bus, experience their fair share of problems everyday — they not only have to jostle for space but deal with large crowds, on a daily basis. However, matters become worse for them when only one of the doors of the bus is kept open.

Many BMTC buses keep only the front entrance of the bus open, causing a lot of discomfort to the women commuters standing in this portion of the bus. Krithika, who travels by bus everyday, says that this is a problem that women like her face all the time.

“The front portion of the bus is specifically used by women and keeping only that entrance open for both entry and exit makes no sense. The commuters literally push us when the bus is packed. I have even seen women almost fall off the buses when people start pushing to the front, so that they don’t miss their stop,” she says.

Subhash, who also commutes regularly by bus, says that this is often the case in the AC Volvo buses as well. “It becomes difficult, because someone seated right at the back has to struggle, to get down at his or her stop. Sometimes, when there is luggage kept near the door, we have to push other commuters to make way. It would be very helpful if the rear doors are kept open too,” he informs.

Veeranna, a bus conductor, explains that the rear doors of some buses are kept closed keeping in mind the safety of the passengers. “Many passengers travel on the footboard, which is unsafe. During peak hours, it becomes risky to open the rear door as people tend to jump out and then fall. However, when there isn’t much of a rush, we open both the doors. We don’t intend to cause inconvenience to the passengers but their safety is our prime concern,” he notes.

Rohan, a student, begs to differ. He says that the doors are closed, even if there isn’t too much rush. “It’s a convenient option for the conductors, as they can monitor people better when only one door is open. But this is a huge problem for commuters. Sometimes, we have to request the drivers to open the rear door too. Even then, they argue with us,” he states.

Anjum Parvez, the managing director of BMTC, says that the new buses which have been procured recently don’t have this problem. “All the new buses which have been bought and those that will be bought, in the future, have a door in the centre as well as in the front. The old Pushpak buses have this problem where there is only one entry and exit which cause a lot of problem. We are trying to replace them with the new one and it is a huge technical challenge for us. But if buses open only one door despite having two doors, we will definitely look into that,” he adds.

Lavanya, a professional, says that opening both the doors of a bus can make things easier for many women. “By the time we reach our destination, our clothes get dirty thanks to the daily struggle we have to face in the bus. Opening both the doors can ease the congestion and mayhem caused inside the bus,” she sums up.


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