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Plans for BMTC's Rome need redrawing

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BusPublic Transport

BMTC has made a start on one front for building their Rome: by increasing bus inventories & increasing the number & types of services. Most other areas are still struggling to even get blueprints ready. Thus, we seem to have many attractive buildings put up haphazardly & with poor lighting in BMTC's Rome.

I think the effort must start first with the underlying principle that during peak hours (ie. 7.30-10.00AM & 4.30-7.00PM), at least one bus must pass through every bus stop in the city at least once in 10 mins. The frequency must be much higher (say, a bus every 2 or 3 mins) on arterial roads.

Secondly, a commuter should not have to worry about the no. of transfers & increased cost. He will only have to pay a pre-determined, fixed ticket price based on the distance between his point of origin & his destination, irrespective of how many bus changes he makes or where he makes them.

This will result in people becoming less-hesitant of changing buses & will embolden them to board any bus that arrives & to change buses at convenient node/s toward their destinations. Bus stops would thus keep getting cleared faster & this will help in reducing over-crowding on many buses.

During off-peak times, service frequencies of a bus (any bus) every 20 mins (in interior area stops) & 5 mins (on arterial roads) must be adhered to between 6.00AM & 10.00PM. Night services can be less frequent & operated based on neccessities.

This is also in keeping with plans to change the system to direction-based services eventually. With bus services becoming more dependable, this might also help boost patronage. The increase in bus inventory necessary for this might be marginal & not excessive.


I think we need to recognize that a well connected bus system in the city with route planning to meet each one's needs with frequent buses & limiting transfer to just one would require an enormous increase in the number of bus schedules, & there is the risk of many buses running empty for most part of the day. Thus, such a step might be unviable, economically.


The next to tackle would of course be dissemination & spread of information, improving punctuality & making bus transfers easier by planning bus-stop locations.

Comments

swaroopch's picture

I think we have good bus

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I think we have good bus facilities currently, but it sorely needs a good information system, for example, timings of buses, and equally important, which buses to go where (and what connections to take), that would be brilliant. I know btis.in is doing things of this nature, but a system that is available on-the-go when I'm at the bus stop is what is needed.

That, and all that you have listd would make it a paradise.

 

Naveen's picture

Good no. of buses, but dependable ?

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Swaroopch,

The feedback so far by many has been that wait times are long, even during peak hours & buses are quite unpredictable, with poor connectivity to certain pockets.

Possible reasons for this might be that passengers look for direct connections (to limit daily commute expenditure, to a certain extent) &/or that buses do not ply at pre-determined schedules, if such schedules have been made, & even if they were made, there might be lack of sufficient monitoring to ensure that they stick to their routines.

At the same time, we know that BMTC has added a very large no. of buses, so buses & schedules need not be insufficient & are there to be utilized by one & all. Despite this, why is it that many find them erratic & inconvenient ? Information about buses & routes is certainly poor, no doubt, but it is much more important for buses to operate exactly according to pre-set schedules - & this needs close monitoring for compliance.

How do we bridge all this in a city that has CBDs & businesses thrown in nearly everywhere & where there is a huge maze of travel directions that one can't even possibly imagine ?

To do away with wait times & make it affordable for commuters, I think the strategy should be to stagger bus times to ensure higher frequency of buses passing at all bus stops as opposed to concentration of frequency on individual routes.

ss87's picture

Pass scheme

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One time users only must have the probloem of non-direc buses and cost factors. Regular users anyway have the pass option. Irrespective of distance travelled and number of buses changed there is hardly an increase in the cost. A Rs.600/- pass is normal for a regular user who can use all the non-ac buses with it. Then there is no need for waiting for a direct bus. Even non-regular people have the Rs.32/- pass to travel the whole day. These things definitely minimze the cost and there is no need to wait for a direct bus anywhere;a non-crowded bus can be used to cover 50-70% distance and remaining distance can be a crowded bus will not be a problem.

Naveen's picture

Pass holders are a minority

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Ss87,

Individual trip ticket users form the majority of users & pass holders are a small minority (abt 2 lakhs out of some 35 lakhs ?). 600rs pass holders can of course change buses at will, but there still seem to be many who seek the available direct routes within their scope for travel & dislike the idea of changing buses. Why ?

If they (ie. non-regular users without passes, who are in huge numbers) are free to change buses with individual trip tickets, it might improve services for them, though this will have to be tested to be proven as efficient - thus, it may be worth a shot.

idontspam's picture

Pass & point trips

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Agree with ss87, If you paid less on a, lets say, daily pass and it was available for longer than a few point trips then you tend to use buses more. The longer you are committed to buses in the form of longer duration passes the better it is for the city. So a day pass is priced attractively so you tend to stick around and take the bus to maximize the pass and not jump into an auto if you lose patience.

Typical users of day and weekly passes are tourists and people who want to take a break from their personal vehicles. Tourists will use it to the max but the person who takes a break from his vehicle would use if for a round trip to work (with 1 change it would be 4 buses) at the minimum. While the Rs. 32 day pass has restrictions, is the gold day pass at Rs.75. equal to 4 bus trips across the city? If it is then he will want to travel a little more on the bus or use more bus on the day /week since he sees value. 

Its a different matter that a tourist wont have a clue which bus will take him where as even newbie city residents cant seem to figure it out. I dont know but I think Rs. 75 is a good price for the 2 wheeler/car crowd to switch, what say? 

Once we have more modes of transport we have to look at universal pass which can be used on all modes of transport.

Naveen's picture

Pass holders are still too few

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Whilst the 450rs & 600rs passes are real value & a bargain for unlimited travel on any bus (except AC buses), the numbers in use are not impressive. I suppose these are mostly used by non-professionals such as office staff, employees, etc - & they would be the largest groups of regular bus users, but dependence on passes, even by them is extremely poor.

There is also the Vajra gold pass at 1250rs & the numbers issued will be even lower - something like maybe a few thousand, I guess.

I think people tend to opt for different modes based on their varying work routines. Thus, they prefer not to block large amounts for bus passes since they might not use it entirely through the month, after all, since they might sometimes use their own vehicles or use their office transport when available, etc.

All in all, use of passes is extremely low. One of the many possible explanations could be that the bus system does not guarantee reliability on a daily basis, especially when work times might be subject to some variation. For example, if one normally uses a convenient bus that departs at a fixed time, & for some reason, he is delayed, there is no guarantee when he can expect the following bus that suits him. Thus, there would be uncertainties which most would not want to risk.

ss87's picture

I dont believe that pass

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I dont believe that pass holders are very few!. Around 50% of the people travelling in bus generally possess some pass daily or monthly. And sales in the daily passes are excellent with every non-ac bus conductor having atleast 2-3 books (Around 60 passes on average) sold off by mid day.

BMTC has actually provided very good connectivty from the main bus stand of the city i.e the majestic to all the major roads. Apart from that there are many points where people can actually change buses.

People travelling have to just understand the geography of the city and frequency of the routes. when these 2 things are planned travelling becomes easier.

Buses which travel to the end point of the city on  arterial roads have a real good frequency. Eg: 360 series to attibelle,258 series to Nelamangla,226 series to Bidadi etc. They have the freuqncy of a bus every 5-10 minutes once .

With depots coming at every nook and corner even night time coverage is good.Eg: Depot 19 at electronic city,33 at uttarahalli etc have a good freuqncy of buses towards those areas even as late as 10PM.

Naveen's picture

Some Data about bus passes

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On this analysis from a study report for increasing prices for bus passes, the numbers used were as follows :

1) City buses (Blackboards) - 40,350 per month

2) Suburban buses (Redboards) - 1,27,517 per month

3) Pushpak buses - 43,567 per month

4) Daily passes - 50,000 per day (average)

Thus, the assumption was just over 2.1 lakh monthly bus pass users & 0.5 lakh daily pass users out of an estimated 35 lakh users. These numbers may have changed with some increase in users, but the point has not.

idontspam's picture

Increase pass penetration

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I guess this study only proves Single trip tickets must be made more expensive so people move to passes which means more commitment to public transport. The monthly pass should be quite cheaper than 30 daily passes and the daily pass must be cheaper than 4 bus trips of shortest lengths. Which means the cost of taking single tickets 4 AC volvo buses in a day must exceed Rs. 75 or 4 ordinary buses must exceed Rs. 32. Anytime a pass rate is increased single trip tickets must be correspondingly increased.

Of course BMTC would do well to focus on more pressing issues like increasing reach and reliability before getting into such activities. It would be good if they threw open the operations to a concessanaire and instead focus on strategic issues like routing etc. It is going to take them a while to get their information systems in place and they havent even started.

Naveen's picture

Ticket Prices - Already High

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I guess this study only proves Single trip tickets must be made more expensive

Single trip tickets are already quite expensive in comparison with other cities. Daily & Monthly passes have been made very flexible by permitting unlimited travel on non-AC buses, & sounds like a good bargain at 600rs a month, but the reality is that takers have been few. It appears that most are unwilling to invest in these 'over-flexible' passes at higher prices (Rs.25 /day based on 24 travel days a month) since they might not have much use of it, other than for their daily /routine commutes between office /home. Perhaps BMTC needs to consider & address this issue to attract more pass sales.

Similar to rigid trip /route passes for students, it might be worth introducing such passes at lower prices - & this might pay off, with many more that commit themselves to passes & daily travel by buses.

idontspam's picture

Bus pass adoption

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 Single trip tickets are already quite expensive in comparison with other cities

I tend to agree,the last thing you want is hike up PT rates when you are up against private vehicles, but what is the reason for such low adoption of bus passes. It is probably not the rates that is the issue.

ss87's picture

Not only the rates but there

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Not only the rates but there is also a confusion with respect to bus numbers that is prevailing. With over 500 routes running people are not able to make an understanding of which bus goes where. Also not understanding the route of a bus is another concern for not taking a bus. Also in some points same 2 places are connected by 2 different routes because of clash between the old Bangalore and New Bangalore routes. Eg: BTM to Vijayanagar where 60E,60N etc pass via Jayanagar and Gandhi Bazaar whereas 410,410C,500K etc pass via the ring road. This confusion also occurs between Jayanagar and Hosakerahalli where 3E passes via Gandhi Bazaar and 13E goes via Banashankari.

Even the rates are not very uniform in BMTC. A distance of 10 kms by a blak board is around Rs. 10/- whereas by a red board it is around Rs.7-8. I have experienced it having travelled by 365 as well as 25 between Mico Check post/Mico Layout to Corporation where I just pay .8/- by catching 365 from checkpost instead of 25A from ring road.

 

Naveen's picture

Bus passes - Cost may be the reason

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what is the reason for such low adoption of bus passes

ss87 mentioned about confusion with so many new bus routes & options, & also variations in fares, but I doubt if commuters see this as reason not to use buses. If at all, they would welcome it since their chances to get moving in a bus early would have improved.

I think cost is a major factor for bus users, especially the non-AC bus users. As I had mentioned above, it is worth a shot introducing passes at lower prices between a fixed origin & a fixed destination stop, similar to student passes.

For example, if someone were to spend 12rs each way for his daily commute, then he would be spending appx'ly 576rs in a month (24 days) - lower than the 600rs that is being charged for an unlimited use pass. Thus, he will hesitate to buy a pass since he would be unsure if it will be of use for any other journeys (such as weekend outings) during the month.

If a pass were available to him at say, Rs.460 (with a 20% discount), he would be more inclined to buy it since he saves some money.

By keeping only two pass options open (ie. 450rs unlimited for blackboards buses & 600rs for redboards), I think they have strangled the sale of passes, & commitment by a large number of potential daily users.

ss87's picture

A person spending around

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A person spending around Rs.12/- a day will definitely be using the direct bus everyday. Here we are talking about re-routing the bus and people who dont get the direct bus everyday as it is non-existent or low frequecy.

When I was talking about varying fares,it would amount to lesser passes because a person saving Rs.4/- a day will obviously rsult in saving about Rs.96/- a month and he will definitely be reluctant in using the pass because of this.

Confusing routes actually results in a person to avoid buses. He may just read the destination and board it and the bus takes a different route he can become reluctant in doing it everyday and remembering the same.

Well considering that pass holders are few we must educate people;probably some might not know there is a daily pass available or some people might have mis conceptions about renewing the same every month unaware that same is available with the conductor.

And there is a reaon as Naveen pointed out that the removal of the Rs.540/- pass and mergin the same with Pushpak pass. Probably people might have purchased the Rs.540/- pass for using in red board buses as it meant them saving Rs.60/-.

 

idontspam's picture

One India Card

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You can soon buy a smart card for travel across cities

The concept of single ticket over all systems of public transport has also been envisaged in the National Urban Transport Policy.

Sanjeev's picture

INDIA ONE CARD

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INDIA ONE CARD  concept was formulated by Ministry of Urban developement  under National Urban Transport Policy to make seamless connectivity to promote public Transport.

They plan to launch INDIA ONE CARD before the Commonwealth Games 2010 in select cities : NCR Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore & Chennai  

http://www.urbanindia.nic.in/programme/ut/Metro.pdf

This circular was issued during Oct'2009,  in view of Commonwealth Games 2010, we may see the  INDIA ONE CARD soon  available to public in a short time.

This will really push the Public Transport system. Specifically for Bangalore, METRO, BMTC, CRS and  HSRL  will have single smart  card. 

Vasanth's picture

Fares different in buses in same category for same distance

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I can travel from Kattriguppe to Silkboard either using V600K, V500K or V201R.

V600K fare is 20 rupees, V500K fare is 18 rupees and V201R fare is only 15 rupees. All the 3 routes are using Volvos. I had argument with 600K conductor too. If I go with ticket, I should hope for 201R to come to save 5 rupees!.

Naveen's picture

One India Card - How useful to us ?

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I'm not sure how a one-india card will help daily commuters in one city. The card seems similar to euro-rail cards for tourists that are valid for short durations such as 7 days, 14 days, etc.

I think this is being promoted in the backdrop of the commonwealth games in delhi, when a lot of forigners are expected & need such cards as they may use the occasion to tour the country.

Naveen's picture

More on Passes & Fares

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Vasanth mentioned the following on the other thread about shuttle routes :

I found that people are very reluctant to change buses. They expect direct connectivity. Those only who regularly travel only are ready to keep moving by changing over buses especially those who have monthly or daily passes.

This is the point that I was trying to get at too. Unless use of passes is encouraged by offering incentives, people will tend to remain lethargic & will keep expecting direct buses. We know that this is quite impossible even after the recent addition of a huge number of route combinations.

Thus, planning trunk-feeder or direction-based services must go in tandem with efforts to get commuters to commit themselves to buses with passes, & this can only be done by offering incentives for using buses - cost is the only incentive BMTC can dish out, since all other aspects (viz. savings in time, comfort, convenience, etc.) are very hard to match up against private transport.

ss87's picture

@ Vasanth The same also

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@ Vasanth

The same also occurs between BTM and Electronic city. Volvo 600K charges Rs.25 whereas Volvo 356Q charges Rs.20

Talking about fares and passes yes the only way is to publisize the use of passes. Also one thing BMTC must do is reduce the fares in the stages where it jumps by Rs.2/- a stage(3-5-7-9) due to which it works out to about Rs.2/- a kilometer. A proper work out on the same must also be done so that it comes down to atleast Re1 a km. For a group of 3 over a short distance Auto works out to Rs.7/- a km and bus Rs.6/-. Also to pay so much and also wait,people will use their pvt transport or auto rather than a bus.

Naveen's picture

Bus passes - more types requested

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Thanks ss87, IDS, Vasanth :

Since "unlimited use" passes are the only options available as of now, I have posted suggestions to BMTC based on this discussion, requesting passes that are more appropriate & cost-efficient for daily users such as office-goers.

pathykv's picture

Bus Passes for Senior Citizens

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The Minister keeps declaring that Sr. Citizens are eligible for 25% concession. But in spite of repeated requests this concession is not being given to Daily passes (Rs. 32/day).

A new pass is needed for Sr. Citizens at concessional rates.
K.V.Pathy

ss87's picture

Concession of 25% is valid on

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Concession of 25% is valid on monthly passes and bus tickets. Issuing the same for Daily pass will lead to confusion as the conductor then will have to keep 2 sets of passes and keep changing them according to the person who boards the bus. If passes can also be issued through ETM's then only can the same be done properly.

pathykv's picture

Sr. Citizen concession

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When the conductors are issuing tickets of dozens of denominations, what difficulty will be there to keep one more pass of Rs. 24?

K.V.Pathy

Naveen's picture

Sr Citizens Daily Passes

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Mr Pathy - Noted yr post. The following is on BMTC webpage :

"BMTC has extended concession upto 25% of ticket value in all type of services including Black Board, Red Board, Pushpak, Suvarna, BIG-10 and Vajra buses for all the senior citizens who have completed 65 years. This has been given effect from 9.9.2009".

Thus, Sr Citizen fares for single tickets are discounted (if one has an Id card). They have also extended this concession to monthly "unlimited" passes, but it appears that they haven't included daily passes - perhaps, we can ask about this in our next interaction with them.

ss87's picture

All tickets of every

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All tickets of every denomination will be issued to all passengers. But this pass will have to be issued to certain passengers only. So it will be a problem. But one thing can be done-BMTC can start of with a half-day pass and give the same to Senior citizens for full day. Those who dont  havesenior citizen ID card use it half-day and those who  have use it full day.

pathykv's picture

Half-day pass

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Dear Naveen,

Such half-day passes also to be issued to sr. citizens for full day. What happens to those who commute only for later half? Also how to distinguish between fore-noon ticket and after noon ticket?

The solution is worse than the problem.

Any denomination ticket is issued only to the certain persons according to their travel distance and if they are sr. citizens lower rate tickets are isuued. Same way, Rs. 24 pass can be issued to Sr. citizens instead of Rs. 32 pass. No confusion at all.

K.V.Pathy

ss87's picture

 There is no specific ticket

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 There is no specific ticket for senor citizens. Conductor have to give a denomination of ticket that is acceptable in the bus. Eg: In case of ordinaries for a senior citizen if after  the concession fare  comes to Rs.6/- and  there is no denomination of Rs.6/- conductor has to give Rs7/- ticket only. That Rs.7/- ticket will also be issued to any other person also and hence conductor will keep in the hand.

In case of bus passes it is bigger than a normal ticket and conductor has to keep looking at both of them to ensure he issues the right one to the right person. Here we have to look at the problem faced by the conductor. And it is not only one book for each but upto 3-4 books of each.This will only increase the work of the conductors who will take longer time to issue the pass. Verify the identity card,take out the correct pass collect the money and issue the pass. Any mistake will make him hugely accountable. 

 

 

pathykv's picture

Sr. Citizen pass

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Mr. Naveen, Mr. Naveen, Yes. This is what is required. Thanks, K.V.Pathy ss87, The problem is not insurmountable as imagined by you. K.V.Pathy

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