Curbs on pvt buses cheer motorists, irk travellers

Commuters in City relieved at reduced traffic; passengers offloaded on outskirts face hardships

Curbs on pvt buses cheer motorists, irk travellers
The smooth flow of traffic for the past four days on the otherwise gridlocked City roads may have received praises from the motorists. But the new experiment to keep private buses and goods vehicles out of Bengaluru during the day for ‘Invest Karnataka 2016’, has left passengers and stakeholders of goods vehicles moaning.

Most passengers travelling to Bengaluru from afar on Thursday morning woke up to a shock as their buses were halted at the entrance to the City. They were made to alight at the makeshift bus stands set up by the Transport Department and board the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses waiting to ferry them to the Kempegowda Bus Station. A number of autorickshaws and taxis had been waiting since early morning.

Among the worst hit were the elderly, children and those who had heavy luggage. An 82-year-old Agani Sharazi from Mumbai, who had booked a ticket to Gandhinagar, was dropped off at Madavara on Tumakuru Road on the outskirts of the City at 7.30 am. “I am an old man with luggage,” he said and chose to travel by autorickshaw instead of the crowded BMTC bus. The senior citizen later told DH over phone that he had to shell out Rs 500 extra for the autorickshaw ride.

Similarly, City-based Mohammed Altaf took the staff of the Transport Department to task after finding these changes. Girish Subramani, a student of St Joseph’s College, who returned from Goa, said he was not aware of these changes.

There were some who were. Suraj Gambhira, a resident of Yeshwantpur was in Nelamangala with his personal car to pick his relatives. Niveditha Pradhan, who works in Arakere on Bannerghatta Road was among those who took the BMTC bus to reach Majestic. Shivkumar H, from Davangere who lives in Wilson Garden, was also happy about the availability of BMTC buses.  Ravi Kumar, a taxi driver said only those who wanted to check into hotels nearby chose autorickshaws and taxis. Representatives of private travel firms said they had arranged vehicles to pick up passengers from different parts of the City. However, these private tourist buses did not arrange such vehicles to ferry passengers to the designated destinations from outside the City. BMTC buses, which were arranged from makeshift bus stations, charged normal fares.

Goods vehicles which could not make it to the City before 7 am, were stationed on the Tumakuru NICE road near Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre.

A senior traffic policeman said the number of private vehicles reduced from 400 a day to 40 a day from February 1. People either switched over to KSRTC buses or private buses which rescheduled the timings to reach the City before 7am, he said.Terming it an essential experiment to plan better for the future, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) MA Saleem, said the department would consider the pros and cons in the interest of decongesting the City and reducing pollution. Meanwhile, N Ramesh, secretary of the Private Bus Owners’ Association said there was no logic in stopping buses on the outskirts as each bus would carry about 45 passengers, who would otherwise have to be accommodated in many taxis or autorickshaws.

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