Bengalureans shun chaos for comfort

Bengalureans shun chaos for comfort

Bengalureans shun chaos  for comfort
In a burgeoning metropolis like Bengaluru, bursting at its seams with a steady influx of people and their wheels, time is money. And, it appears that people can never have enough of both. For an average Bengalurean, comfort and convenience are prime. So when he/she decides to shun public transport, it is certainly not due to a lack of awareness about other sustainable modes of transport.

Sujith Shivashimpar, who works at ANZ Bank in Hebbal, says, “For me, it is a matter of speed and comfort. I can ride from Vijayanagar and reach office in 30-45 minutes whereas a bus journey would take me around an hour and a half.”

Dr R Shobha, Associate Professor of Sanskrit, Maharani’s College of Arts, Commerce and Management, prefers driving her car to college “because I can optimise my time. If I take a bus, a lot of planning is necessary.”

For some citizens, however, choosing public transportation means having to sacrifice precious work time which they may otherwise utilise on the go. “I work for an MNC and I would like a peaceful environment while travelling, so I can conduct business meetings over the phone,” says B A Cariappa, an Engineering Director in Applied Materials in TCS. He traverses a distance of 24 km every day from Jayanagar 9th block to his Whitefield office.

Apart from having to stand in crowded buses while stuck in traffic, erratic timings, low bus frequencies and lack of last-mile connectivity dissuade people from public transportation. “I would have to change multiple buses, and to top it all, the bus fare is too high. While I spend over Rs 1,000 for a bus pass, the fuel expenditure for my two-wheeler comes up to Rs 500 per month. For me, it is cost effective,” says Divya Hari Rao, an English lecturer at Jain College, Jayanagar who commutes from Bannerghatta Road.

Likewise, the eagerly awaited Namma Metro has now been rendered a damp squib and relegated to a distant dream. Not only has the construction work torn major roads apart, but those that have been completed are still not open to the public.

“The Metro has progressed very slowly… Even the Nayandahalli-Yeshwantpur route, which was envisaged, is yet to see light of the day,” says Latha Srinivas, an IBM employee who travels by car from Chikkalsandra to Embassy GolfLinks. “But it may still work,” notes Shalini Lodha, an engineering student at Bangalore Institute of Technology, “provided they increase connectivity across the City like the Delhi Metro.”

The City doesn’t lack awareness, as most may presume. People know of the advantages of car-pooling and have also partaken in government initiatives such as the Bus Day, observed on the 4th of every month. Some are even ready to embrace it, but conditionally. “I’m not a conventional car-pooler, but I do give people a lift if they are headed in the same direction,” says Arun Kumar, who drives to Bommasandra from JP Nagar.

With cars and two-wheelers becoming more affordable and easy loan options, vehicular population has exploded. What, then, is the solution to all this? “Regulate lawlessness on roads and make public transport more time-bound,” says Sujith. “Deploy more direct buses on longer routes, say from Bannerghatta to Malleswaram. That would be a winner,” says Divya.

“Discourage people from buying more cars, like they did in Chennai by providing only one parking space per house in an apartment. For some, it is an issue of prestige to buy more cars, when Indian roads, clearly, have not been built for it,” Latha says.

But more importantly, she says, regulation is the only solution to our transport muddle. “Expansion of the City was not in sync with or in proportion to its needs. Now, we need to break down our woes and address each of it, while not missing the larger picture of Bengaluru itself.”

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