With most of the government buses staying off the roads, private bus operators and maxi cabs made the best of the situation.
Earlier in the day, the KSRTC and BMTC managements allowed private buses to ferry stranded passengers from government bus stations and other major hubs.
But the facility was stopped by evening and private operators picked up passengers from outside government bus stations.
But commutting for most people came at a price. “I just got down from a private bus which charges Rs 100 per passengers for trip from the City to Nelamangala,” said Dhanush R, a student. And many like him had no choice.
Private cab services were busy through the day as they were getting calls from companies and commercial establishments to pick up and drop off their employees.
Many companies having a tie-up with BMTC to ferry their employees declared a holiday on Thursday. D K Kumaraswamy, an employee of HAL, said that although private buses, including Tempo Travellers were plying, commuters had a hard time without the BMTC services.
“Now, with a forced holiday today, I’m compelled to work on Sunday,” he said.
Rashmi, a government schoolteacher, was visibly agitated waiting for a bus to Hoskote on Old Madras Road. “I have to attend a teachers’ training session, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to reach there on time. With the kind of traffic jams on the road, it will be be afternoon,” she said. Vehicles were bumper to bumper in the KR Puram hanging bridge area.
Although most companies had arranged for cabs, some firms had made their own arrangements. Divya J, who was waiting for her company car at the Hebbal bus stop, said the pharma firm was too small to afford to hire cabs for a day. “We are 40 employees and our boss has allowed us to use his car to pick up all the workers.
The car is still on its way and I’m already late for work,” she said. Many workers travelled by private buses and Tempo Travellers to reach their offices. Although automen had a field day, charging passengers exorbitant fares, not many preferred autorickshaws.
People who thought that the roads would be empty due to bus strike were all proved wrong.
An unusual number of private vehicles were seen plying on Bangalore roads on Thursday creating massive traffic jams and gridlocks across the City, especially during peak hours.
Thanks to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) services strike, which did not make much difference to the daily commuters but only increased traffic movement on the roads. In fact, the BMTC strike added more vehicles on the road.
With the strike being called in advance and citizens warned about the strike, it looked like people were prepared to face the situation.
Tarun K, a software employee from Koramangala, said Thursday showed the increasing domination of private vehicle operators in the City. “Even though mass transport was almost shut down, many people had no worries as they had private vehicles to manage. I was disappointed to see traffic jams on many roads as I initially thought a day of strike will be smooth for my bike ride,” he said.