Bus commute time dips but issues remain, says survey

For trip times exceeding one hour, the average time saved was 11.3 minutes. But it was a higher 14.69 minutes for commuters who used to spend over two hours in bus commute along the ORR stretch. Representative Image/Pixabay

The number of people, who spent over two hours in bus commute, has reduced by 62% since the introduction of the Bus Priority Lane (BPL) on Outer Ring Road, a preliminary commuter experience survey by Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) has revealed.

But the survey also showed that overall, the BPL has had only a marginal impact in increasing bus speeds due to multiple factors. Among the main complaints were poor visual signages on the road, poor enforcement of lane discipline and parking of private vehicles on bus lanes. 

Bengaluru’s first such BPL was launched 10 days ago. Seventy-five percent of the bus commuters who responded to the CfB survey felt the visual signage needed a lot of improvement. A high 81.1% did not see anyone controlling buses at the stops while 83.8% did not spot any Sarathi vehicle meant to help buses move smoothly on the priority lanes.Based on the responses, CfB found that the average commute time had reduced from 58.6 minutes (before BPL) to 51.9 minutes (after BPL). The maximum commute time showed a marginal decline from 160 minutes to 150 minutes.

For trip times exceeding one hour, the average time saved was 11.3 minutes. But it was a higher 14.69 minutes for commuters who used to spend over two hours in bus commute along the ORR stretch. Over half, 55% to be precise, of all respondents had benefited from reduced trip times. However, 53% of evening time commuters found no difference after BPL was introduced.

Based on the survey findings, CfB has urged the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to take note of these observations: Many drivers are not driving in BPL, Sarathi buses are not to be seen, and buses that stop to load more passengers are causing more issues, particularly in the evening.

In the feedback to the BBMP, the CfB has drawn attention to missing signs in Kannada, more ‘BUS ONLY’ signs, fibre bollards at junctions, and a lot of improvement required in bus stops. Commuters wanted information displays, audio systems and enough space for at least two buses to stop. Foot overbridges at bus stops were another demand. The traffic police were told that enforcement of lane discipline was missing on the entire BPL stretch. Private vehicles occupying BPL were not fined. Illegal parking at bus stops was also not being taken note of. Private Volvo buses and cabs parked overnight on service lanes were also ignored, the CfB said.

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