From running buses to connecting endpoints: BMTC’s big makeover plan

DH graphic: Ramu M

In its effort towards offering a cohesive connectivity solution for commuters, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has put forth a proposal to the government to tie-up with private players.

The corporation aims to remove obstacles for the commuters to reach the boarding point and get to their eventual destination, while also ensuring the whole trip is affordable.

This would be one more approach, besides digitisation and improved quality of service to ensure commuters have a seamless ride on its buses, besides also reversing the loss it suffered at the hands of cab aggregators when they began offering route-based services.

Ride for all

BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj expects the value-added first- and last-mile connectivity to improve the experiences of all riders. "There are women and elderly commuters going alone to unfamiliar neighbourhoods. Also, there are many who would like a seamless ride to a new neighbourhood. Our idea is to serve such people," he said.

How it works?

In the upcoming BMTC app, commuters can locate a bus at the nearest stop and pay for the tickets, besides booking cabs and autorickshaws that would take them to the stop and get them to their destination from where they alight.

Having made the bookings through a few swipes of their smartphones, they can expect a vehicle waiting at the other end of their commute to ride them to the eventual destination. The corporation believes aggregators get business before and after the commute.

"The model would help us switch our focus from merely running buses to connecting homes and workplaces. We'd pilot the plan and see where it goes," said an official.

Business model

While the commuter would make a one-time payment for all the rides, the BMTC and the aggregators would split the revenue later. "While this is something we're working to achieve, commuters may have to pay us and the aggregators separately at the trial stage," an official revealed.

The corporation hopes dearly for the plan to succeed as it would help arrest a steady decline in ridership from the peak of 52 lakh in 2014.

Luring techies

The corporation knows that the comprehensive commute solution is something that would have an instant appeal among the three lakh potential riders in the tech parks. Officials are in talks with RMZ, which has 70,000 workers. "We're looking at ferrying 5,000 riders with 135 buses," said an official.

With 400 charter services already serving IT workers, schools and colleges, turning rides into a comprehensive commute solution would make rides on BMTC more appealing, believes the corporation.

"Our belief is that other tech companies would follow RMZ if we manage to hammer a deal with them. Several software companies are willing to try us and we've already asked the employees interested to give their log-in timings to organise a smooth ride for them," said the BMTC official.

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From running buses to connecting endpoints: BMTC’s big makeover plan

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