BMTC prints no timetables

Lack of schedules makes travelling by bus a random, hit-and-miss experience for most commuters
Last Updated : 18 October 2019, 06:13 IST
Last Updated : 18 October 2019, 06:13 IST
Last Updated : 18 October 2019, 06:13 IST
Last Updated : 18 October 2019, 06:13 IST

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Bengalureans are frequently urged to use public transport, but would you believe it, the BMTC has no printed timetable?

With 6,750 buses, the BMTC offers the cheapest mode of public transport, and almost all parts of the city and its suburbs. But finding out when a bus is arriving is not easy.

According to Deepak N, public relations officer, BMTC, about 35 lakh to 45 lakh of 84.3 lakh commuters use its buses.

“There should be a timetable, ideally. There are plans to put Public Information System boards that will provide real-time information at bus stations. For now, passengers can rely on our website or app,” says Deepak.

He, however, insists many bus stops have the necessary information⁠—timings and routes⁠—painted on them.

App reality test

The BMTC website offers a ‘trip planner’ option.

Once you enter your start point and destination, the website is designed to provide a list of buses you can take.

However, a few test searches did not yield any useful results. For example, when we entered ‘Shantinagar’ as the starting point and ‘Water Tank Koramangala’ as the destination, the results were ‘0 Direct Routes Found’.

The BMTC app, called ‘BMTC- Easy Travel Information Planner’, helps only if you know which route numbers to look for. The trip planner and route finder options are potentially useful, but they only show buses for the next hour.

GPS solution

“It is useless to have schedules put up at bus shelters. These cannot predict delays,” says M N Sreehari, traffic advisor and consultant for road safety.

The Metro is predictable and that makes it easier for people to rely on them, he explains.

“Abroad you find LED boards connected to GPS, which is reliable. This may be an expensive project for our city, but what the BMTC can do is create a mobile application that informs users about bus timings using GPS,” he adds.

Commuter take

“If you travel regularly enough, you would have a rough idea of bus timings. But it is always unpredictable. The Volvo buses are more regular, with one arriving every hour, so I rely on them,” says Sancia Mariam Catherine, resident of BTM layout.

For those new to the city, the lack of timetables makes taking a bus difficult. Those looking to be punctual might simply take cabs using aggregator apps such as Ola and Uber.

Easy on pocket

The minimum fare on BMTC is Rs 5, while on the Metro it is Rs 10 (up to 2 km). The minimum fare for autos is Rs 25.

Best bet

The BMTC’s helpline 1800 425 1663 is at the moment the most effective source of information.

You could also try Google Maps. It shows bus numbers, routes, and timings.

Inputting your choice of arrival or departure time will also allow you to view buses scheduled around it, allowing you to plan your trip. However, it cannot predict delays caused by jams.

Published 17 October 2019, 14:16 IST

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