CM gets on Bus Day bandwagon

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa buys a ticket to travel from Race Course to Attibele Circle on the ‘Bus Day’ on Friday. Transport Minister R Ashoka is with him. There were no special cars and convoys for Yeddyurappa as he boarded a BMTC bus from his official residence on Race Course Road, on his way to campaigning for the BJP candidates in Tamil Nadu (Thalli, Hosur and Krishnagiri) Assembly elections.

Travelling along with R Ashoka, Minister for Home and Transport, and Syed Zameer Pasha, MD, BMTC, Yeddyurappa and Ashoka bought tickets to Attibele. “It is good to travel in a bus. If more people chose to travel in buses, traffic and pollution problems will be reduced,” he said.

He said the City’s population, which was projected to grow to a crore by 2020, needed a better mass transport system.

“We hope that the metro rail, mono rail and circular rail address the problem. But we also need to have satellite towns, so that the population problem could be addressed to some extent,” he said.

Nostalgia

During his hour-long journey, Yeddyurappa said he had boarded a bus after 11 years. “It is nice to travel in company.”

Getting nostalgic about the days he travelled by bus, he said he used to look out of the bus window to find people riding bicycles, and villagers walking . “I travelled by bus till I became a leader of the Opposition,” he said.

Thrilled by his presence, the co-passengers (all employees of Infosys) said: “We were aware today was Bus Day, but we did not expect the chief minister would travel with us.”

Manjunath, an Infosys employee, said his team of eight persons had been travelling in bus for two years and were happy about the government’s decision to organise Bus Day.

“We had even suggested to Minister Ashoka to organise a Bus Day once a week. Earlier, the buses were not on schedule, but now they arrive on time and travelling has been a great experience,” he said.

When the team was introduced to the chief minister, they suggested to him that the government employees should be also told to take buses at least once a month.

Yeddyurappa replied: “It is a good suggestion... this will save thousands of vehicles choking the streets, and ultimately will save fuel.”

Yeddyurappa also expressed support for the movement begun by social activist Anna Hazare, seeking the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill to prevent corruption.
“Corruption being rampant in the country, we need people like Anna Hazare,” he said.

Increase in revenue

Minister Ashoka said the Bus Day awareness programme had increased the revenue of the BMTC. The number of passengers had increased from 40 lakh to 48 lakh.

“Our annual revenue has shot up from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,250 crore,” he said. He said the BMTC’s programme was drawing the attention of various states and Union ministers.
“Kerala has introduced the same concept in Kochi since last month, while a Union minister has appreciated our effort and called upon other states to emulate the concept of Bus Day,” he said.

Galaxy of stars

Several film stars and cricketers came out in support of Bus Day. Cricketers Gundappa Vishwanath and Sunil Joshi were among the participants. They travelled in the bus from Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Kannada film actors Yash, Tara, Yogish, Chiranjeevi and Diganth were among the travellers. Yash said he wanted more of his colleagues to participate in Bus Day. “I had requested many of them to participate in this event, but due to shooting schedules, not many could participate. I hope I can bring many more during the next event,” he said.

Recollecting his last bus ride, Yogish said: “I last travelled in bus five years ago. It was an open-air condition (foot board). Now, it is air-conditioned travel,” he said.

Actor Tara congratulated the BMTC on taking such an initiative. “It is necessary to address issues like environment pollution and traffic stress,” she said. The event should be organised every week, she added.

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