Some bold steps, sharp curves and fast lanes

Some bold steps, sharp curves and fast lanes

KSRTC and BMTC were able to rake in the moolah in 2011

infrastructure:  A view of the Traffic Transit Management Centre at Banashankari.  dh PhotoThe Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) continued to remain among the top State Road Transport Corporations which posted profits in March 2011. While KSRTC posted Rs 62.05 crore, BMTC was not far behind with Rs 50.35 crore.

The Corporations’ profits would not have been achieved without the introduction of new initiatives and innovations in public transportation. With the implementation of ethanol-blended bio-diesel buses, the State Corporations moved a step further than their counterparts in other states, towards providing cleaner and greener mass transport.

The KSRTC also started its on-line booking service, highly popular with its travellers. Not incurring major losses from ticketing revenue has been rather easy for KSRTC, with ticket rates jumping by seven per cent in June, after the hike in the price of diesel. Similarly, BMTC hiked ticket fares by one or two rupees, depending on the stages and Rs 100 on bus passes.

The KSRTC has begun shifting intra and inter-state bus services from Majestic to Mysore Satellite Station and Shantinagar Bus Station. With Metro works set to start in full swing near Majestic station, platforms one to five will soon be moved to other satellite stations or the BMTC bus stands.

While the arrival of Metro into Bangalore is the biggest change in the transport scenario, BMTC’s Metro feeder service also played a key role in forming a multi-modal transport system. The concept is yet to make an impact on the roads and the masses, till the crucial need to have multi-modal public transport is promoted in the City.

Feeding losses

However, immediately after its introduction, the Metro Feeder bus services burnt holes in BMTC’s pocket, as there were no takers. The Corporation incurred losses to the tune of Rs five lakh per day in October.

Since profit-making is crucial to the Corporation, the concept of “last mile connectivity” was instantly killed to pave way for more moolah-based feeder route services connecting the major bus stations at Majestic, Shantinagar and Shivajinagar.

Even as BMTC introduced the Big Connect bus feeder service, bringing in crowds from the outlying areas of Bangalore into the heart of the City, it failed to meet its goal of procuring 1,000 buses by the year-end, with only half of them in BMTC’s hands. The Corporation also successfully completed work on all of its Traffic Transit Management Centres under JnNURM-funding with the Banashankari TTMC being inaugurated by November-end.

Technology and transport continued their duet this year, with KSRTC introducing live television entertainment on board the Multi-Axle Volvo buses on a trial basis from November, on the Bangalore-Mumbai route. This being the first of its kind by a Transport Corporation, passengers can only hope that in the coming year, the facility will be extended to all major routes.

2011 has set the base for further advancement in facilities and technology, with the introduction of e-ticketing machines and more GPS-fitted buses on their way.
Even as Bangalore was pipped by Jaipur’s Transport Corporation, in being the first to get the Common Mobility Card, KSRTC is sure it will bring in the technology and release it in a larger way before 2013.

In stage of talks

Focus has also been laid on making the middle and upper middle class vehicle-owners opt for public transport. Bus Priority Lanes and BRTs are still in the stage of talks and are yet to be implemented. With extra publicity for Bus Day and commuter-friendly public transport, BMTC and KSRTC will work towards proving that government services need not be all that bad.

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