The bus stop queues are getting longer...

Point blank_BMTC bus rush

Shivajinagar is one of the most crowded bus stands in the city. But the number of buses there during peak hours is too few. For instance, the frequency of buses towards Marathahalli and Whitefield from here, is very inadequate, say commuters. Finding buses to the Cantonment railway station is also a tough task.

At many points, commuters have to wait for half an hour for a single bus to get to their destination.
Jotiba Gondkar from Hebbal says, “During peak times, people wait endlessly at the bus stops. We just don't find buses to a particular destination. If there are buses, they are always crowded. People struggle to alight them.”

Beyond issues of frequency, lack of proper signages is a problem for many at the Shivajinagar bus stand. Many commuters cannot read Kannada and would also like signs to be in English. Pruthvi Venkatesh, a frequent commuter, says: “Commuters are always in a rush to go from one place to another. The display boards are either not visible or the schedule is often erratic.”

Owing to long gaps between services, these buses are always jam-packed. But commuters on the City Market route, where there are frequent buses, complain of overcrowding too.

Many also find the bus fares too expensive. Says Saikumar Devkar, a frequent commuter: “Bus tickets prices have gone up in recent days. Just to travel for two km from home to the nearest metro station, we pay around Rs 18.”

Frustrated commuters complain that the BMTC has not kept pace with the growing population. But it is not only the commuters who face problems. There are bus conductors who say, they find it difficult to issue tickets as sometimes the electronic ticketing machine goes out of order. During peak hours, the buses get too crowded, and they cannot issue tickets to those alighting at stops too close to the origin station.

Supriya Desai, a commuter says, “I used to travel across the city, from Whitefield to Jayanagar, taking public transport. It used to take me a mammoth two-and-half to three hours one way to commute. Frequent bus breakdowns and tiring traffic jams would make it worse.”

She feels if the signs had been read in advance, the city's transport system could have been better planned when the city was growing. “We would have then seen a very different situation today. The city lawmakers should look at improving public needs rather than approving tons of concrete buildings for corporate offices,” Desai notes.

Over time, the situation has only gotten worse. “It’s been six years in the city for me and I see the situation going from bad to worse with the exception of a couple of metro lines, which add to relief in some parts of the city.”

Shifting of bus stops near intersections due to construction of flyovers, signal-free corridors and underpasses, has also added to the commuter woes. Bus users are inconvenienced, discouraging them to opt for public transport.

Commuters want an increase in the number of available buses by creating more routes. The lack of safety in the existing buses, especially for women commuters, is also a factor.

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