Shelters in shambles, infrequent buses, and unreliable schedules
Public transport in any metropolitan city is an essential service. However, the quality and reliability of such services are equally important to encourage people to use them extensively. In Bengaluru, we often see that there are numerous gaps between supply and demand. Here’s what a section of commuters had to say about their daily experiences...
Priyanka, a frequent public transport user, says the buses do not stop where they are supposed to, and this increases the commuter hassles.
She adds, “In the morning, the buses don’t arrive on time. This makes us feel that our time is not valued. The bus shelters here are not well equipped. We are at nature’s mercy when it rains.”
Another commuter, Rijoe John Rajan agrees that bus shelters leave a lot to be desired. Buses do not halt at the shelters. “What’s the point of bus shelters then? If we can’t catch up to them, we can’t board them,” he notes.
He is a college student, and reliability of buses mean everything. “When we are in a rush to get to college during peak hours around 8 am, the buses are late. When they eventually come, since everyone is in a hurry, it gets completely jammed inside and we are left dangling near the door, compromising our safety.”
Rajan wonders why more buses are not available during peak hours when the demand is highest. “I see a lot more of them in the afternoon when the people are less. Again, from 5pm, it’s completely crowded,” he says.
Accessibility to the bus stops is another issue. “There is considerable walking involved. I have to travel about 3 km from my home to get to a bus stand, change three stops on the way to my destination. Proper connectivity and accessibility to bus stops would be helpful,” suggests Rajan.
These hardships, he says, force people to look for personal vehicles once they start earning. “The system does not encourage us to go for public transport.”
Darshan, another frequent user notes: “When the buses finally arrive, they either stop a few metres before the stop or after it, ensuring that we have to run after them. Besides, most of the bus shelters are damaged and have something or the other missing. There is no maintenance whatsoever.”
He feels if the place is clean, commuters could at least stand there. “Otherwise, you have to wait beside the bus shelter. There is no end to these woes,” he says.
Bus user Sai Lakshmi Samal says she tracks the buses through Google Maps. “I use that every now and then to look for buses, but it is not accurate. The BMTC app too is not accurate, and there are a lot of glitches. The bus which comes to you is a different number altogether, going to a different place,” she explains.
But she is happy that the lighting of bus stops in her area is good. “In terms of safety, overcrowding is a factor.
Many a time, while passing, people touch you and you can’t even complain since it is so overcrowded. Also, very few buses have CCTVs to monitor activity of people. This also becomes useless when there are too many people as the line of sight is lost creating blind spots,” she says.
Her suggestion to the government: “Let them increase the frequency of buses in areas where there are more colleges.”
But that would also mean cleaner, safer bus shelters with reliable timings that are prominently displayed.