Fix narrow roads first, say Bengalureans

Fix narrow roads first, say Bengalureans

The proposal for a Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) with dedicated bus lanes has invoked mixed reactions among Bengalureans. While some vouched for the project hoping for a better transport system for Bengaluru, others preferred more feasible solutions.

Prathima Gokhale, a technical writer, welcomed the project saying dedicated lanes should be implemented as quickly as possible. “While some talk of transforming Bengaluru into Singapore, we also need to think of making the transportation better for the public,” she said. Rash driving by both private as well as public vehicles should also be addressed, she added.

A 2nd PU student, Shreyas listed his daily commuting struggles in BMTC buses. Buses neither follow traffic rules nor stop at required stops, he said. Shreyas opined that unavoidable pollution and traffic would be reduced with a dedicated bus lane.

For Malathi, a journalism student, dedicated lanes will be very useful for students and working people as the buses would reach the desired destination at the right time with very less traffic to tackle.

“Dedicated bus lanes would reduce the stress that bus drivers face everyday,” said Chandru, a KSRTC bus driver. Bus drivers face a great challenge in trying to manoeuvre the big buses on congested roads, all the while listening to abuses from private vehicle owners, he pointed out. Chandru wished the BRTS is implemented soon with cooperation from everyone concerned.

Govind Singh, an autorickshaw driver for 30 years, was sceptical about effective implementation of the system. Having seen the immense growth in traffic in the past decade, he wished roads were wide enough. Echoing this view were two traffic policemen who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Recounting the failures earlier with dedicated auto and cycle lanes, they stressed the need to widen and repair the road corridors. They did not think dedicated lanes for buses would be a success.

Meenakshi, a developer at a cloud computing company, had this to say: “For BRTS, we need enough road space. The project sounds unrealistic looking at our roads that were originally made for a much lesser population. Though BRTS is a good idea, there is a lot of repair work to be done before implementing the project.”

Surabhi H R, a political consultant and director, the Political Quotient, said, “This is not the first time that we have tried to implement something like BRTS. It is not feasible to introduce this system just by looking at other cities such as Ahmedabad, where BRTS is a success story. Such solutions in Bengaluru, knowing that we do not have wide roads like in Delhi, might not be advisable.”

Purushottam Acharya, who works in the renewable energy sector, has been travelling in BMTC buses since 12 years. Lauding the customer-friendly services of BMTC, he suggested that instead of separate lanes on the already narrow roads, it would be advisable to use traffic controllers efficiently. “Traffic controllers need to communicate from one point to another for better traffic management. Vehicles leaving from one terminal must reach another terminal within the given time,” he said.

Acharya felt BRTS sounds good “theoretically but not practically.” Acharya. “Our City is not ready for this ambitious project.”

Looking at simpler solutions, Abhishekh Raju, India Representative, ACC-HSG talked about low cost projects. Cable cars, he said, will take only 18 months to construct and cost about a tenth of the Namma Metro cost. Surabhi suggested increasing the number of buses and controlling private vehicular traffic. 

Thus, commuters who are an inevitable part of the everyday struggle of commuting in the City, unanimously agree that the BRTS project could be implemented in Bengaluru only when other issues such as narrow roads, erratic driving and effective management of already plying BMTC buses are taken care of.

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