Limited transport for extended nightlife

COMMUTING ISSUES

Limited transport for extended nightlife

Bangalore has got an extended deadline every weekend, which is understandably the talk of the town! But with this extended nightlife comes the issue of returning home. While some citizens are demanding that public transport be made available till late, others say that they would prefer using private vehicles.

Anjum Parwez, managing director, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), says that they will not increase the number of buses at night. “We currently have around 90 scheduled buses plying across the City from 9 pm to 4 am. We won’t add to the fleet unless the demand for certain routes goes up,” he says.

M Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union, says that despite the new deadline, auto rates will continue to be one-and-a-half times the meter rate. “We can’t change the rate because it’s a government rule. Till the deadline is confirmed three months later, no permanent rate change should be enforced. If auto drivers overcharge, customers can complain to the police. But since a lot of drivers at night are known to illegally drive without a driver’s licence, they don’t come under our union,” he informs.

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, a concerned Bangalorean, feels that the affordability factor should be considered. “People who have just spent an evening paying way too much at a pub aren’t the only ones who need public transport. What about the staff at the same pub or people who have been stuck at work till late and whose only other option is to go to an auto driver who wants to extort money?” questions Jayaprakash.

“I think both Metro Rail and bus services should be available till midnight, possibly longer. Having the public transport plying longer hours will give more people the reason to use it, reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Just the presence of buses on the road after dark will make the City less deserted and dangerous, especially for women,” he adds.

Aswin Sahadevan, who frequents gigs, resonates this opinion. “I’d definitely opt for public transport at night. It would be really helpful if the Metro Rail ran till 2 am. It seems like a trap to extend the deadline but not keep any public transport running. This means that we are forced to rely on expensive taxis and autos. I wish there were more alternatives to choose from,” says Aswin.

With night shifts through the week and only weekends to unwind, IT professionals welcome the new deadline. But does the extension guarantee public safety, ponders Inder Mehra, an IT engineer. “The main issue with offering public transport so late in the night is security. Can the government promise us that it’s absolutely safe to be out at night? Can we board a cab, auto or bus without thinking twice?” he asks.

Many women aren’t comfortable with the idea either. “I prefer booking a cab from a trustworthy service and not drinking and driving back myself. You can’t think about saving money when your safety is in question. My parents would never approve of me taking a bus back home at 1 am. They aren’t even okay with autos after 10 pm,” admits Rukmini, a young professional. 

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