Bus shelters are shelterless here

Bus shelters are shelterless here

Public transport has its own history in Mysore city. Starting from the days of tongas, CPC (C Perumal Chettiar) bus service, etc, commuting in Mysore has never been difficult compared to cities like Bangalore.

However, with increasing population and inadequate frequency of city buses, people buy more than two vehicles per family. People think it is better to invest money on vehicles rather than take long walks to bus stops and wait indefinitely for buses or negotiate with auto drivers.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which operates city services, is taking all possible steps to cater to the needs of commuters, within its own limitations.

The KSRTC has introduced Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in five bus shelters on a pilot basis. ITS helps people waiting at bus shelters know which bus is arriving at what time. ITS would be extended to 100 more bus shelters.

KSRTC has introduced hi-tech buses with low platform, air-conditioned Volvo buses and is also observing bus day to popularise bus travel. However, not much progress is seen on the bus shelter front.

M N Srinivas, divisional controller of KSRTC, Mysore urban, said 45 new bus shelters, at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh each, are being constructed by the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) across the city. The MCC is also constructing five shelters in line with the heritage structures in the city around the Amba Vilas Palace at a cost of Rs 3 lakh each under public private partnership. They will have domes that resemble the domes of the palace. MCC hopes to build similar shelters in other parts of the city — based on the response.

At present, out of 880 designated stops for city buses, only 300 have shelters. All stops getting shelters at one go is impossible. But, with proper planning, at least 300 more stops would have got shelters.

In the 1960s, 70s and 80s concrete structures were constructed, some of them still exist intact. Some are in need of some maintenance. But the MCC authorities have demolished a majority of them. With proper, annual maintenance, the MCC could have preserved them and built shelters wherever there was a need.

Bus shelters are no more built. They are only put up temporarily for displaying advertisements. Shelter for commuting public is only an additional service. The shelters built in the 1960s like the ones at Pilot Circle, Agrahara Circle and opposite Maharanis College, etc are foolproof structures that protects one from sun, raina and wind. The ones constructed later were mere roofs above some seats. Now, the temporary structures provide partial protection.

There are no bus shelters on old congested main roads like Ashoka road. Passengers are at risk from moving traffic. Parked vehicles are another hazard. Auto drivers parking their vehicles in front of bus shelters is another nuisance.

There are bus bays for some shelters like the one on Jhansi Lakshmi Bai road in front of Maharaja’s college, but at most of the places buses have to stop in the middle of the road, which is dangerous.

The MCC is famous for breaking and making things, because it means spending money, which in turn means a lot of ‘revenue’ for the authorities concerned. We have been witness to laying and relaying of the same roads numerous times in a year, demolition, construction, and demolition of drainages, etc are all common. But in view of preserving our heritage and putting public money into good use, MCC authorities should compromise with their ‘needs’.

Some shelters that have been constructed in 1966 that exist now are already 45 years old, if they are protected with proper maintenance for 55 more years they become heritage structures. This is the heritage we leave behind for future generations.