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Bicycles on BMTC

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One of the biggest hits of the first cycle day amongst people was BMTC allowing people to carry cycles to cycle day in their buses. Lots of people liked it. We even communicated the same to BMTC. We had hopes of getting them to repeat it and also extend it to non cycle day days. Instead they pulled out of this committment. While they had legitimate concerns that allowing bikes in buses during peak hours might inconvinience passengers, it wasnt the case on cycle day atleast, which was on a sunday early morning during non peak non office hours. To be fair, they are still open to the idea of putting bike racks in front of buses but that has 2 problems. 

1. The rack must be designed so there is no damage to buses & the cycles. The vendors for the same are few & far between and none in India. 

2. More importantly, any attachment like racks to the buses violates MV act which makes it exceed the max length of buses as defined in the act.

Both of these are surmountable. One of the options is to push this idea further & take it to closure, which will mean BMTC makes representation to the center thru GoK to get MV act amended or an exception given to enable this. 

 

Enter Cyclist-Bus

Another approach (which might be faster) will be to leave all the passenger buses alone and make a bus with standard MV dimensions but specifically for cyclists. How will that look? It will probably be a low floor full bus/minibus chassis to begin with but the body will be customized to have wide doors for entry & exit with cycles (as big as the volvo center exit). On the inside foldable seats to one side & angled bike racks to the other. 

There are always questions of viability etc with any new service but as we have seen a clever choice of routes along with a piloting mode of operating this will be attractive. We are convinced that in the cycle capital of India, Bangalore, this will never be an issue. To start with 3 services can run one on ORR from Hebbal to Silkboard another from MGroad station to Whitefield  along OMR (KRpuram interchange to ORR route), third from MG road station to Electronic city(SB interchange to ORR route). This way we will get around the MV act hurdles & still get BMTC to do something within their control. These routes will cover the IT belt and once traction is built we can extend it to other zones.

This pilot can be run with anybody interested in funding 3 buses which run on these 3 routes for 1 year. There will be a charge for both the passenger & the cycle and passes can be issued.  It will not carry noncyclist passengers. Advantage of having dedicated cycle bus is that we dont have to limited by either the number of cycles that can be loaded nor the complaints from passengers that cyclists are delaying the schedule.

On a longer term basis private operators can be allowed to run this bike bus services depending on the uptake of these services. If it doesnt take off remove the stands, put more seats & run these buses as normal buses.

Any ideas on how we can help bicycles to be carried across town so it can be used as a last mile?  

 

Comments

idontspam's picture

*bump*

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*bump*

srinidhi's picture

DOes BMTC meet the exisiting

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DOes BMTC meet the exisiting passenger demand for adequate frequency with their regular busses?

The answer is most probably no..so in that case it is possible that they will make statements like 'first let us address invidiual passenger needs first before we get to cycles on bus' 

Also if they do introduce these kind of bus..will they prevent regular passengers boarding them..guess that wont happen either

Hence, though the idea to get cycles only bus is good, I feel we are too over populated a country to accomodate it. Instead I believe if we have a good rental facilities at most major bus stops..we can get the last mile covered well..

murali772's picture

good suggestion, but - -

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@ ids - I would suggest your "cyclist-exclusive buses" along the Big-10 routes. The supposed advantage of the destination-oriented routing system, that the BMTC had been operating on for so many years, was that it provided you near door-to-door connectivity. But, the much bigger problems it resulted in were the extremely poor frequency of services, and multiplicity of routes (totally to over 3500), leading in addition to the route-numbering confusion thereof - 201, for instance, has suffixes from AA to ZZ, and beyond even.

The direction-oriented Big-10 service evolved as a solution to these problems. But, the new problem here was the last-mile connectivity. Cycling provides a viable answer to that, at least for the commuting (to work and educational purposes) sections of bus users, who form the biggest chunk.

In fact, that was the mode I adopted when I went for the CycleDay event on Oct 27th - cycled from the Koramangala to Domlur - 335E (Volvo) from Domlur to Baldwin's Girls High School on Richmond road - cycled again to Cubbon park. The picture below shows me in the Volvo bus, alongwith the conductor (Ravi), and my bicycle.



But, very much as Srinidhi has pointed out, the BMTC is not in a position to meet the existing demand, and consequently to expect them to take up these suggestions is like asking for the moon. But, city has to have solutions for its traffic problems, and if the BMTC monopoly is in the way, it has simply to go. And, that's where this comes in.

Muralidhar Rao
Sagi Krishna Prasad's picture

Bicycles on Bus ..

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01.  First  .. get some Idea on .. How many r looking for this .. from which Areas  ..  poll thru Praja / Facebook / whats the Best way to reachout and get feedback from interested public .. ?  Some Figs n Info may help planning / optimizing.

02. For Cycle Day .. whether a few special buses may be arranged / designated - through arterial  Roads .. within 2-3km reach to most  >  7-8am - Onwards, 10-11am - Return.  Cyclists and BMTC meet Halfway.

Cyclist-Bus: 

03. Whether say  .. a dozen / two dozen Buses - Standard Length and Low Floor - can be designed / implemented to start with ? .. Should be suitable for Carrying Cycles, - as well as passengers - a la Mumbai locals.  Foldback (rather Fold-Up) seats can be arranged along both sides of the length / 4-sides. Bottom  of the Seats can have lihgt-weight -  study enough - hoops? fixed (semi/quarter Circle? better still - rectangular !) - evenly spaced out - so that when seat is folded-up - Cycle wheel can fit into these hoops upto 6-9 inches depth - thus securing them  - also defining  how many Cycles can get in - and Where  they go - that avoids Mess and altercations!  And the Bus will not go waste .. can be used for Cycle Day / Only Passengers / Passangers and Cyclists - Simple Flexi Design. 

If BMTC has to surmount a lot of Tape .. float the Idea for some Private Orgs to Sponosor and Implement a Rapid / Viable Prototype(s) with Simple,  Flexible  Designs / materials - that can Deliver Cycles and Passangers, or Passangers alone - at optimal and maximum capacity (both cycles, passangers - flexi as per need) and 24/7.  I feel it is quite feasible.

04. Some  1-1/2 Height Double Deckers ! -  Cycles n Passangers Down,  Passangers Up!

05. Well .. Ideas can be Stormed, pooled / above outlines improved .. to come out with a few most Viable and Optimal Designs / Solutions.

Regards.

 

 

 

-Sagi KP

idontspam's picture

Like the double decker idea

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@sagi KP

01 must be possible let me see if I can create a poll for this

02 they are against this as they are afraid passengers will object

03 this is my broadly what I am proposing, the finer details can be worked out

04 is also an exciting possibility which is better than just a cycle bus but need to check with BMTC why double deckers were abandoned if they are okay this is the best way to go

@murali

pvt operators doing this is a very attractive alternative rather than running behind BMTC who dont want to try anything new. As long as they dont throw the rule book and prevent this we can try all this with pvt operators

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