A blow for commuters

Bus Strike

A blow for commuters

The indefinite strike launched by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was total on day one, leaving commuters stranded.

   With the news of the strike floating around for some time, people however seemed prepared for it. Some made their own arrangements to reach their destinations, while others put their foot down and refused to be blackmailed by autorickshaw drivers, demanding extra fare.   

   Colleges recorded poor attendance, with most students choosing to stay at home.  Although the buses were missing from the City roads, traffic didn’t seem to be any lesser, with most people travelling by their own vehicle. The strike only made commuting on City roads more dreadful.

Additional Commissioner of Police M A Saleem points out that the police have registered about 15 to 20 per cent increase in vehicular traffic at all busy junctions across the City. The traffic police has asked factories to spare their buses and tempo travellers (contract carriages) to ply on the roads to ferry people to their destinations. “There are about 400 to 450 factory buses and about 1,000 tempo travellers that have been pressed into service,” says Saleem and adds, “Even the autorickshaws that ply at night are running during the day, adding to the chaos on the roads.”  

BMTC managing director K R Srinivasa says, “We managed to persuade about 500 BMTC buses to ply despite the strike. We didn’t give them specific routes but asked them to ply wherever people wanted to be taken. We hope to solve this issue at the earliest.” The students are worst affected by the strike. The government hasn’t declared a holiday and most college managements say that they are not authorised to declare a holiday. With exams round the corner, college managements say that they are struggling to complete the syllabus on time.

Dr M Prakash, principal, Sheshadripuram College and secretary of Bangalore University College Principals’ Association, says, “We had less than 10 per cent of students turn up today and most of the faculty members stayed back. We suspended classes for the day, due to lack of students and teaching staff. The students are overburdened with exams fast approaching and the syllabus is yet to be completed.”

Sr Louisa Sebastian, principal, Jyoti Nivas College in Koramangala, says, “The second-year PUC students had their exams scheduled for today. It had to be put off for tomorrow. We had less than half the students and faculty come in today but we decided to hold classes as usual.”
The scene is no different in colleges that are located away from the City.

“We had only ten students per class. Since it is a semester system, the final-year degree exams are in the second week of October and we are yet to complete the portions. The strike has inconvenienced the students and put the college management in a fix,” reasons Gnanesh C, principal, Silicon City Pre-University College in K R Puram.

 The autorickshaw drivers made most of the strike and charged almost double the meter but regular BMTC commuters refused to listen to them. Sindhu, a student says, “The buses didn’t turn up and since the autos were charging an exorbitant amount, I walked to college.”

Shruti Mukherjee, another student, who lives in Hosakote, ventured out only to find the autos charging Rs 400 or more. “I waited for buses but none came and I thought I would rather stay at home than pay such a huge amount,” she sums up.

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