The State government, by benevolently conceding to demands of a cross-section of people to extend the City’s nightlife, has been caught in a cleft stick.
By allowing restaurants and bars to tend to customers till 1 am, the government seems to have virtually opened a Pandora’s box.
Coming in the wake of its decision is now a sudden clamour for extending services of BMTC buses in tandem with the new timings of the nightlife in the City. That Namma Metro is plying its last train till 11 pm has only added to the new demand.
An online petition, posted on Change.org to persuade the BMTC authorities and the State government to extend night bus service timings, has swelled, with as many as 11,000 signatories singularly pressing for it. The number could grow.
While the BMTC does ply about 70-80 buses after 10 pm, on specific routes, it is basically to cater to those employed in IT-ITeS sector. With the BMTC running very few buses and that too on specific routes after 10 pm, commuters are at the mercy of autorickshaw drivers who invariably extract more money from passengers and also at times drop them away from their intended destinations.
For instance, Rashmi (name changed) recently had a harrowing time at the hands of an auto driver when she was travelling with her mother. “We hired the auto near Jayanagar to travel a three-kilometre distance. The auto driver took a longer route despite us telling him to take the shorter one. He kept going in circles in the same area. Soon, an argument ensued and after reaching the spot, he demanded Rs 200.
As I was conversant in Kannada, I could argue with him and refused to pay him. He gathered other auto drivers and created a ruckus. Despite the commotion, I gave him Rs 50, which would have been the meter fare, and to my shock, he threw the money on my face. Later, with other people joining in, he apologised to me and my mother.
But imagine if this happens to an outsider who does not know Kannada.”
Though the BMTC did plan to ply buses till midnight three years ago, the economics and logistics of doing so, however, did not eventually see it being implemented.
Queried about the demand, a senior BMTC official said that while they were not against plying buses at night, they did not see any need for it currently. “We are gathering feedback on the demand for such a service and will decide to ply extra buses only after studying the same,” he added.