'Govt should fund BMTC to ease traffic'

The government should fund a mass public transport system while making policies that discourage people from buying and using private vehicles, said Ashish Verma, professor, Transport Engineering, Indian Institute of Science.

Speaking at the ‘Bus Bhagya Beku - Janara Budget’ jointly organised by Citizens for Bengaluru and Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike on Sunday, the IISc professor said the government should stop expecting public transport systems to make profits. “It is unreasonable to expect such systems to be self sustainable. The government should fund BMTC to reduce traffic congestion and fight pollution in the city. Good quality buses, not the costly Volvo ones, that serve all at optimum fares will attract more people.”

He also said the BMTC needs to increase its efficiency by rationalising its routes scientifically. “The corporation should map the areas with high density of people with low income before deploying buses to get maximum revenue,” he said.

People from lower rungs of the society shared their views on accessibility and urged the BMTC to monitor the work of its employees.

Madeena Taj, a garment factory worker said that in its desperation to capitalise on space inside and outside buses, the BMTC has forgotten passenger convenience. “Most of the times, passengers have to stand in buses. Since the glass panes above the windows are covered by advertisements, we can’t see anything outside and have no idea which stop the bus has reached,” she said.

Umesh of the Gender Equality and Minority Access said transgenders find it hard to access buses. “We can’t sit on seats reserved for women. We don’t feel comfortable sitting in other places,” he said.

Srinivas Alavilli of the CfB said the government should provide more buses and bring down fares to provide a reliable city public transport service. “We want to see the government making a positive gesture in this regard in the upcoming budget,” he added.

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