The ply-by-night travails of BMTC commuters

The ply-by-night travails of BMTC commuters

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) frequently boasts of the various services it offers, but the average citizen finds much to fault in the way the Corporation operates its buses at night. 

Hundreds of commuters who work late into the evening often find that they have to wait for anywhere between 30 to 40 minutes to catch a bus, especially after 9 pm. In addition, the withdrawal of several routes in the last two to six months have left citizens seething and with no choice, but to hire taxis and autorickshaws to make their way home.

Citizens also complain of bus drivers claiming to be late for their next trip, and forcing passengers to alight one or two stops from the last destination at night, leaving many to continue on foot or hire a rickshaw. This situation is especially acute when it involves female passengers, several people claimed. 

Seema, a daily commuter between Brigade Road Junction and Electronics City, is solely dependent on BMTC buses. She complained that the frequency of buses tapers off drastically after 9 pm. 

“The Big10 series that runs from Brigade Road Junction to Electronics City is much sought after as far public transport goes, but the BMTC has failed to address the requirement by restricting the number of buses after 9 pm,” she said and added that there are so many buses of that type operating during the day that many ply empty. 

“At night, it is a different story where there are too many passengers and not enough buses,” she said and explained that she is often forced to wait for upto an hour before the bus arrives. She added, however, that sometimes the wait can be indefinite as the last bus is cancelled without notice. 

 G Prakash, General Manager (Traffic), BMTC, however, took exception to these complaints. 

“We have not discontinued any service in the last two months at least,” he said. “We advise the commuters to refer to the timetables on our website for specific routes and the timings. After 9 pm, the waiting period does get longer. But we are making an effort to increase the number of buses along popular routes.”

Commuters, however, flay the BMTC for its practice of cutting short trips before the last stop is reached, leaving many passengers stranded. In a typical example, bus route number 335 E which plies between the Majestic bus station and Kadugodi, only takes commuters upto the ITPL and not Kadugodi. 

Prakash, however, claimed that BMTC’s efforts to add more buses will fix these problems.  

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