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The 'Last Mile' myth

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BusPublic Transport

I think the many repeated questions raised about 'Last Mile Connectivity' is more of a creation by the very large affluent private vehicle loving public in this city that loathes walking even short distances to & from bus stops, rather than reality.

For example, in places like Mumbai, Mangalore & Chennai, there are people that easily walk upto 1.5km for PTs & sometimes even 2km, wheras in Bangalore, even distances of less than 1.0km is viewed as a serious "last mile" problem since it compares poorly with private vehicles for mobility that everyone has gotten used to.

In Mumbai, ascending & descending stairs at train stations & walking to bus stops can be more strainous than the exertion of walking over a km, but most people do it as a matter of course & without any fuss everyday amidst crowded & very uncomfortable conditions - & these include many well-off office executives, too, who prefer trains to avoid the time delay & strain of driving long distances through crowded roads. For many residents in suburbs such as Chandivli, Powai & Marol, bus access is well over a km but they walk anyway to take a bus to get to the train station, stand & travel within packed trains & walk more at the stations (both ends).

In Mangalore, buses ply only on well patronised main thorougfares. On NH-17, between Kadri & Pumpwell (2km), there are no buses decades on due to lack of sufficient number of patrons. The story is the same at Ullal, Hoige bazaar, Marnamikatte, etc. Thus, people living in or around these areas are forced to walk well over a km to the nearest bus stop.

Even abroad, the walk component on a trip can be considerable, even in cities that have good PT systems. In fact, real estate prices are dependent on how close or far the home is from the nearest train station or bus stop. There are residential buildings in New York that are far removed from the subway in Queens & Brooklyn, but people walk anyways, but pay lower rentals due to the inconvenience of the location. This does not necessarily mean that buses must be run there, despite the poor patronage.

I don't believe that it's possible to run buses in narrow roads within residential or interior areas with insufficient loads  to address the so-called 'last mile' problem for all - any form of PT has this deficiency & this must be accepted as a reality with PT.

Given these examples, why do we find it so hard to accept the fact that buses can only be run where roads are wide enough & where there are sufficient number of users ?

This aside, no large city can manage with only buses for PT - Bangalore is perhaps the only large city of 8 million people that is still trying to do it. All large cities have train systems or Metros on exclusive tracks to move people faster. Buses in mixed traffic can never match the efficiencies of such train systems over long distances.

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idontspam's picture

Incentive to use pvt

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Incentive to use pvt transport is continually being created in parallel, so the comparision is against point to point service they are getting now.

R V Raja Rao's picture

Last mile connectivity is

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Last mile connectivity is certainly not a creation by large affluent private vehicle loving public.   The cleanness of the area, age factor, availability of time at their disposal, timing and safety of the area, convenience, weight of the luggage one need to carry, all these factor will determine the walking even short distances.

In Chennai people may walk up to 1.5 km to 2.00 km to reach some system of public transport because people chose to live on the outskirts.  Once they reach any system of transport, no one needs to walk much because the Public Transport System is well connected. They do not depend on prepaid Auto Counters like we do in Bangalore.     

If the Public transport system is convenient no one wants to drive their private vehicles on busy and congested roads.  Even in Bangalore many office goers engage and share a private vehicle to commute to their office. 

Walking conditions in Bangalore are not comparable to walking conditions prevailing in other countries.  With the amount of pollution one cannot walk with clean dress and come back home clean let alone wearing suits and formal dresses.  

Our public transport system is covering even the interior areas also. Most of commuters who travel in those routes co operate with the conductor and do not buy tickets. Number of passenger actually travels will be more than the no: of passengers shown in the trip sheet, hence the route becomes uneconomical. Here the problem is the timings, frequency, efficiency, honesty and integrity of the drivers and the conductors.    

Last mile connectivity is not about connectivity from the residence to the public transport system but it is about the connectivity within the system.

Naveen's picture

  Mr Raja Rao, What you state

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Mr Raja Rao,

What you state are factors that are common to all Indian cities, not just Bangalore alone. The street conditions are bad in every Indian city, & in addition to dust & pollution, one sweats easily when travelling by any mode of PT - be it a Mumbai local train or bus or a Chennai bus or an ordinary bus in Bangalore. In fact, Bangalore is somewhat cleaner than other large Indian cities & has good A/C buses, but people seem to want to complain more because of the strong preference to travel by private vehicles in the absence of restraints such as road & bridge tolls & easy availability of free parking.

If, as you say, the integrity of drivers & conductors is questionable, what about the travelling public that is underpaying the fares ? Are they free from blame ? In fact, if such is happening, it's because we have a public that encourages it - this is why we face all these problems. No point blaming only the conductors that cheat. As far as timing /frequency /efficiency are concerned, I think this would depend on the number of commuters. If there are large number of commuters, the frequency will be increased automatically, as it has in several areas - Jeevanbhimnagar & CVRaman nagar are examples.

I don't think connectivity within the system is any better in Chennai, or in Mumbai or anywhere in India - people willingly walk from Paris to Beach station in Chennai (700m), but, in Bangalore, one hears complaints about the long distance from city railway station to SBS bus station (450m). This is just another example of the last mile complaint that is probably unique to Bangalore.

akauppi's picture

Filling the gap

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Coming from Helsinki, Finland I try to put these figures in perspective. What is an acceptable distance to walk? 

Our closest bus stop is 150m from the door - that's pretty much "just there" and I thought it was actually closer. It's runnable in 1 min, I guess. But often I end up walking to a nearby junction (800m away) to get more connections and more frequent service. That's pretty much the farthest I'd be willing to walk, in this city. I think, the goal for Helsinki city transport was to have stops every 300 m or so. At least our street seems to have that.

Now, it's not only the distance. As Mr. Raja Rao points out:

Walking conditions in Bangalore are not comparable to walking conditions prevailing in other countries.  With the amount of pollution one cannot walk with clean dress and come back home clean let alone wearing suits and formal dresses.  

Exactly. I've walked in Bangalore, Mangalore and Delhi. So what can we do?

I'd like to bring up two ways further, here. 

One is a startup I discussed with last week, here in Helsinki. They're planning a "route finder" application for developing economies, and are currently focusing on Latin America as a service. Now, what we have going on here is "mobile phone assisted public transport". Meaning when I want to go places, I let my phone figure out the timings, exchanges etc. Most of the time, it does it fine.

http://sites.google.com/site/reittigps/

That is the (free) application I use but there are others. Now, the challenge for the startup is, how to replicate this experience in areas s.a. Bangalore. I think it can be done, but there are challenges.

The routes themselves might not be optimal (if they are that even here?). Buses most likely don't run on schedule (well, same here). There's no reliable and cheap 3G Internet coverage. There's probably no real-time tracking of the bus fleet. The capabilities of the average Indian phone are less than what we have.

But what if? I've got this startup *wanting* to bring a solution and natively aware of the Latin American market. Can you give advice and support for bringing them to serve Bangalore as well, in a few years time?

As an individual using public transport, the Reittiopas app has become my #1 helper in being able to navigate the public transport interconnects (not only buses). I do think the model is usable in India as well - in some (slightly different) form.

Actually, this also answers Mr Rao's second concern:

Last mile connectivity is not about connectivity from the residence to the public transport system but it is about the connectivity within the system.

Then, as a step a few more years into the future is my own "bubblemotion" startup. We're into automated electrical transport, essentially filling the exact gap that is being discussed here.

I am coming to India for August, both Mangalore and Bangalore. Most likely arranging a short visit to CiSTUP in BLR. If any of you wants to have a meet-up, I'd be glad.

Asko Kauppi

BM Design Ltd.

we want to move you
 
p.s. Unlike what the editor says, HTML tags are not usable and web addresses don't turn into links, automatically. Tried.

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

Naveen's picture

PRT - The future ?

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Mr Asko Kauppi,

Many thanks for your post here & I had read newsreports about the PRT presentation at transtec in Delhi, following which I went through the presentation & had had a few questions. I know you probably are sorting them all out, but anyway, here they are :

1) How will the problem of so many individual cabs running on tracks without conflict with one another be solved ?

2) What about the problem of cabs stopping midway to drop off passengers ? How will the problem of halting all the others behind & upseting schedules be addressed ?

3) How would cabs switch tracks to synchronize with destinations desired by each cab user ?

4) What about maintenance of all the steel bar tracks in tropical conditions, which can be quite a challenge by itself ?

5) At less than 6000 persons per hour capacity maximum, would the investments justify the utility ? How does it compare with costs with Metro or Monorail ?

Thanks for the information, in advance.

akauppi's picture

Short detour to PRT

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I'd like to keep this thread to the current technology, meaning buses, rickshaws and taxis, but here are short responses to the 1..5 you raise.

1) How will the problem of so many individual cabs running on tracks without conflict with one another be solved ?

There isn't actually a problem with this. The system is deterministic and the location of all the vehicles is known pretty accurately. With today's computer power (of even just a usual PC) we can manage seeming complexities like this. It's where computers are good at.

Think of video games. World of Warcraft has thousands of players doing things in a virtual world. Managing some hundreds or thousands of vehicles on a deterministic track (this is what keeps us apart from road level - that is not deterministic) is a piece of cake.

Naturally, all the details must be done right. The communications mechanism between the track and the vehicles in particular must be robust. We're not relying on any common infrastructure s.a. GPS, WLAN or other because those can malfunction and be pretty easily disturbed.

2) What about the problem of cabs stopping midway to drop off passengers ? How will the problem of halting all the others behind & upseting schedules be addressed ?

A central feature of any PRT system (including ours) is that all stations are off-line. It means each stop has a bypass route which traffic usually takes. Therefore no effects on schedules. A certain trip is equally long every day of the year, any time of day.

Certainly, there are some situations when special care needs to be taken (i.e. people arriving on a small station may need existing vehicles on the station to be cleared out first). Such cases are easy to handle.

3) How would cabs switch tracks to synchronize with destinations desired by each cab user ?

Automatically. I'm not exactly sure what you mean. My personal background is (among others) in electronics production where this kind of automation happens all the time.

In our track mechanism, the grabber arms grab onto the "new" track at switches and if that was succesful, the old grabbing is released. It's really quite simple but must be made utterly reliable in practice as well. If there is a bad grab, we'll do an emergency stop (the switch area is long enough for such).

Please ask for more details if this was not a satisfactory answer. 

4) What about maintenance of all the steel bar tracks in tropical conditions, which can be quite a challenge by itself ?

Yes, this is interesting. Especially since we plan to employ the same track as well in desert conditions, in monsoon time weather as well as arctic winter.

I am not that well aware of what kind of conditions you mean, but corrosion and condensation come to mind. One of the answers (also to icing) is simplicity. Our track has no power rail and carries all necessary cabling inside it, well protected. I'm rather confident we'll be able to have it reliably work in all the aforementioned environments.

We might need to use some high-technology steel. Rusting should not be an issue. Hopefully, we'll even be able to paint the track, like in our concept pictures.

5) At less than 6000 persons per hour capacity maximum, would the investments justify the utility ? How does it compare with costs with Metro or Monorail ?

I've only said 3600pphpd. The track capacity is maybe 6000-7000 but we don't want to stress it to the maximum.

The way I see PRT being used in middle sized Indian cities is taking the extra growth of transportation and thus being an alternative to widening streets. We won't replace the street traffic, but introducing PRT may well play the difference between congestion and working street level. In other words, we are making growing 3D cities a practical possibility and hopefully doing it in a very beautiful way.

Investment? Well, there's many markets. We can get more margins elsewhere (s.a. hotel areas) but helping to solve problems in urbanising traffic around the world is a goal in itself. We'll be as cheap as we can be, and that must be enough.

 

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

ashok_n's picture

Last mile problem is not figment of imagination

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Sorry, Naveen, I disagree.

Last-mile connectivity is certainly a big problem especially in the outskirts (you can call it outside the ORR circle). I live in Bannerghatta road and this is what I have observed:

1. Opposite to Meenakshi Temple, 200 meters after Meenakshi mall, there is a road called the Kammanahalli road. Whenever I turn into this road, there will be a lot of people/school students who ask me for a lift. The maximum distance is 2 kms that they would travel. They are not the elite, rather generally they will be the working class. There is definitely a BMTC bus service on this road, but since with the infinite wisdom of BMTC that all buses have to start from Majestic or Market, the frequencey is say once in 45 mins- 1hr.

2. Same is the case with any of the left or right turns on Bannerghatta road or Hosur road or Kanakapura road. Vijaya Bank colony, Arakere, JP Nagar 7,8,9 th phases, Hulimavu, Begur everywhere you go in the outskirts, the issue is the same -  Big buses negotiating small lanes (hats off to the patience of BMTC drivers), less frequency because the buses have to go all the way to Majestic, and therefore non-optimal usage.

Start mini-buses/vans which do not have to travel more than 5 kms. There is no other way.

dvsquare's picture

Big buses are not suggested for last-mile connectivity

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Big buses are not suggested for last mile connectivity, even one suggest, its practically not at all feasible, but we need something which we can rely on.

Can't we rely on our auto-wallahs?

The question is -
You want to walk over a few mts, then ask a couple of auto-wallahs, noone wants to come, and then a few of them are asking for 30-40 Rs for less than 2 kms, get harrassed again, finally get one for Rs. 25-30 and get harrassed again (he will ask for another 10 Rs most of the times, while you get down), and then finally get the bus. Are you ready for all that? "You" means "most fo the people" here.

As you have given the example of mumbai right, I know many friends of mine who uses PT for their everyday commute, and even I have gone their a couple of times. There, auto-wallahs are far better than bangalore ones, they mostly say YES to where you want to go, never ask for more than meter (I mean, I have had visited mumbai 4-5 times in last 1.5 yrs, and never I had an experience where they are not ready to go by meter or asking for more than meter reading. Never. Try doing that in Bangalore, you will get the reality.

I am not yet talking about the road conditions yet, people are still OK with that, they are not happy but still they are managing, but then how do they manage these autos, sometimes they feel its better to take  the private vehicles, get stuck in traffic instead of paying double the meter, and getting harrased by autos, isn't it?

In mumbai, many a times, people take an auto, reach the nearer railway station, take the train to their office stations, get down there, take another auto (sometimes its a shared auto or taxi, because many people going to same area for work), and all convenient and comfortable.

So, by last mile connectivity, we don't need buses, we need auto kind of vehicles, but we just want that govt should have a real check on auto, auto-wallahs and their meter and there behaviour. If we and govt also feel that their current fare is really low compared to standards or fuel price, please increase it to the standard and then make sure that citizens are not harrased by these people for more money than set by govt authorities.

Also, this is not exactly a last mile problem, but BMTC or govt authority should also try to see where the most of the techies (taking example of s/w engg for instance), and where most of them are heading for their work? So there has to be a proper connectivity from that area to work places, you see a good response from public, I bet. For instance, from Koramangala, we don't have a direct service to ITPL or E-city like that? Why? This is just an example I wrote, there can be many.

Deepak

akauppi's picture

Better bus routing

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It seems to me, the BMTC needs to revise its habits and methodologies, maybe mindset and toolset as well.

Do you think this will happen. Are they doing as well they can or can they do better?

What I have in mind is utilizing IT and simulations to optimize bus routing. I presume they should be doing this already. If not, they must start.

I know people and companies who'd be willing to help. Most likely, so do they. Anyone here familiar with their daily realities?

To me, minibuses/vans sounds like a very good way to ease the current needs.

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

R V Raja Rao's picture

Mr. Naveen, Yes, for

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Mr. Naveen,

Yes, for Bangalore is somewhat cleaner in comparison to other cities in India.

No, for people seems to complain more because of the strong preference to travel by private vehicles in the absence of restraints such as road & bridge tolls & easy availability of free parking.

Last mile connectivity is so well taken care of around Vidhana Soudha / GPO areas by providing buses to and from that place to different parts of Bangalore during peak/office hours.  Why would anyone prefer to travel by private vehicle if public transport system works out their way?   Less fortunate are those who has business around BVK Iyengar Road, Avenue Road, etc. they are made to walk extra mile to reach any public transport.   

People are forced to use private vehicle because of absence of GOOD public transport system. Even the autos are no better.  In Bangalore Autos are given more preference over BMTC buses, that is why we have prepaid auto counters at railway station instead of Bus Shelters.  You might have observed in Chennai bus shelters are given preference over the auto stand at the Railway stations.

Conductors are to be blamed more than the commuters in case of underpaying/ accepting the fare because conductors only know to accept underpaying fare and do not tolerate non payment of fare by the commuters.  They are the cause for providing wrong statistics to Government on coverage of route.    

The complaint about the long distance from City Railway Station to SBS Bus Station appears to be genuine.  Here the commuters combine long distance travel with local travel, invariable carry baggage, arrived or depart at odd hours of the day.  Our roads are not clean and the route to the bus stop is not flat to move the luggage on wheels. A bus shelter at the Railway station would resolve the complaint. Satellite Bus Stop at Byappanahalli (NGEF) is located in between two BMTC Bus Shelters.   Connectivity may be provided to this Satellite bus stop by providing a bus shelter close to the Satellite Bus Stop.  

silkboard's picture

distance vs comfort

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As stated already by learned folks in comments above, the distance you can do to reach the public transport station in your neighborhood depends on the 'comfort' and 'convenience' you see in your last-mile mode.

Before that Naveen, I would agree with your aggressive opening paragraph (" ... affluent ... that loathes ...") if walking is not being considered to be the most important mode for last-mile.

A week after the "continuously walkable" pavements were inaugurated in Whitefield area, instead of waiting to get a Bus from Kundalahalli to Varthur Kodi (2.5 kilometers), I actually walked the walk in about 20 minutes. Did so only because the pavements were clean and inviting (despite the fact that this route has a bus every 8-10 minutes). I see many more walking longer distances in my area today purely because of the pavements.

Javascript is required to view this map.

But, take the example of Nellurhalli. Its about 1.5 KM away from the Varthur Road corridor. This is the stretch that needs better walking amenities. Absence of which makes poorer folks walk on the road itself, mid-tier folks wait for once-in-30 minutes bus, and the richer folks use the car.

Javascript is required to view this map.

A tangential point is this. Consider why the pavements were done on the Varthur Road stretch first, and not at this connector road (which would draw public users out to G1 etc).

  • I am betting the investment priorities have private transport yet again as focus - keep the corridor free by moving pedestrians to the nicer pavements.
  • Goal of truly pedestrian focussed last-mile effort would be to draw out routes from a bus stop to all neighborhoods in 1-2 KM radius.

Not to say that pavements in Whitefields are not nice. But wanted to point out the 'different approach' required to invest money on pavements.

[Posted this thinking it fits in with the talk of last mile. Apologies if it doesn't.]

afalak's picture

Last mile connectivity auto

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Wanted to add, there are a lot of autos which benefit from this last mile issue. The HAL Bus Stop from my house is 1.8 Kms away and the road is really dark at night with both sides being HAL property lying vacant. No footpaths at all. Really dont expect anyone to walk on those roads in dark due to dogs and thugs or simply might get hit by a vehicle.

I have seen is there are lot of auto who ply from HAL Bus stop to LBS for Rs 25. They never go beyond HAL Bus Stop. They keep doing up/down throughout the day. Ask them to go outside HAL they will not.They just dont refuse it but ask for a exhorbitant price hearing which you would just move on and then they would say I can drop you to HAL bus stop for 25. For people who have lived here for long, its a daily affair and we have learnt to live with it.

The same kind of 'service' runs from Isro-mrugeshpalya junction to EGL Campus (Challagatta). These autos never go anywhere else. Even for going to airport or coming back from airport using BIAL service their charges remain the same provided the luggages are not really heavy. 

I have used it to go to SBC or BIAL. Like what BMTC has done from Majestic Bus Stop to SBC station. It was easy even with trolleys.

I also know few people who would walk the 1.8 Kms, unfortunately the condition of the road (pot holes, lighting and animal control) are against such an adventure. People would be able to walk (even with trolleys) if the we can roll them (not carry) and proper lighting is there and it feels secure.

Also wanted to add in LBS I have seen the BMTC Bus starts and then stops even after just 50m as people tend to stand next to the road even when the starting point is max 100m away. Most of this people dont have a car/bike or can afford one. Most of them are not old or disabled to walk that distance. So generalising that it is the private vehicle loving people is incorrect. 

Also how much tax does a private vehicle owner pay when compared to other cities ?

-Falcon of India

Naveen's picture

Realities

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ashok_n,

Opposite to Meenakshi Temple, 200 meters after Meenakshi mall, there is a road called the Kammanahalli road.... There is definitely a BMTC bus service on this road, but since with the infinite wisdom of BMTC that all buses have to start from Majestic or Market, the frequencey is say once in 45 mins- 1hr.

Same is the case with any of the left or right turns on Bannerghatta road or Hosur road or Kanakapura road. Vijaya Bank colony, Arakere, JP Nagar 7,8,9 th phases, Hulimavu, Begur everywhere you go in the outskirts, the issue is the same -  Big buses negotiating small lanes (hats off to the patience of BMTC drivers), less frequency because the buses have to go all the way to Majestic, and therefore non-optimal usage.

Unfortunately, this is true for all cities - only the main thoroughfares in cities have very frequent services, not the side streets since frequent services will have much fewer users & would be unviable, even in Finland (Helsinki) as mentioned above by akauppi.

Start mini-buses/vans which do not have to travel more than 5 kms. There is no other way 

See this thread - it might be unviable & lot of subsidy would be needed if frequent minibus /van services have to be operated.

 

dvsquare,

In mumbai, many a times, people take an auto, reach the nearer railway station, take the train to their office stations, get down there, take another auto (sometimes its a shared auto or taxi, because many people going to same area for work), and all convenient and comfortable.

Contrary to what you state, travel by trains in Mumbai is highly uncomfortable, particularly during peak hours - people travel on rooftops, hang from window rails & even crowd spaces between coaches. Mumbai has 60% people living in slums whereas bangalore has less than 10% (lowest for all metro cities in India). Hence, it's probably because of the relative affluence of the population in bangalore that there are more number of auto & car users & this might be why the rickshaws tend to ask for more than the meter fare - & people encourage them by paying up every time. Autos demanding higher fares are even more rampant in Chennai.

 

Raja Rao,

Last mile connectivity is so well taken care of around Vidhana Soudha / GPO areas by providing buses to and from that place to different parts of Bangalore during peak/office hours.

This is true for all cities - PT services are extremely good in & around Sachiwalaya in Mumbai compared to suburbs, Parliament house in Delhi, City hall in Singapore, etc.

Autos are given more preference over BMTC buses, that is why we have prepaid auto counters at railway station instead of Bus Shelters

I don't think this is correct - the main bus station is nearby & hence, there is little justification to have another re-routing & stops within the station premises. In any case, space might also be a constraint & I think BMTC has started a shuttle service between station & the city bus terminus.

Conductors are to be blamed more than the commuters in case of underpaying/ accepting the fare because conductors only know to accept underpaying fare and do not tolerate non payment of fare by the commuters.

Sorry to differ, but I think it requires two hands to clap. If one of those hands refuse to do so, there will be no clapping.

The complaint about the long distance from City Railway Station to SBS Bus Station appears to be genuine.  Here the commuters combine long distance travel with local travel, invariable carry baggage, arrived or depart at odd hours of the day.  Our roads are not clean and the route to the bus stop is not flat to move the luggage on wheels.

Though I generally agree that transfers between different modes must be as convenient as possible for users, this is true for almost all cities in India. For example, Mumbai central station & bus stop is separated by a similar distance as it is at Nizamuddin in Delhi.

pathykv's picture

Bangalore City Rly. Stn. and Majestic bus stn.

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The misery suffered by the train/bus commuters in negotiating the subway between the two is being discussed repeatedly.

Even the Transport minister felt the need for a shuttle service.

In most cities the bus stops are provided close to the entry/exit of rly.stn. so that the transfer of commuters can be seamless

The earlier the  feeder service buses are provided to the rly.stns, the better.

K.V.Pathy

Naveen's picture

Feeder services might fail

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Mr Akauppi,

I think BMTC certainly need to improve with their route planning. Whilst they have made marginal improvements, the traffic conditions pose serious challenges with the ever increasing demand for road widths, opposed usually only by few civic groups (such as ours) or locals since it effects them. The general public is by & large too conscious of travel delays with private modes of transport & complain all the time. In response, the authorities keep widening roads, unfortunately & quite a few elevated roads are being constructed.

Thus, BMTC appears to be fighting a losing battle & is operating in very unfavorable conditions. BRT has never been seriously pursued by the authorities & the single corridor finally chosen is the eastern part of the ring road which is anyway being made 'signal-free' & might not bring much relief.

Despite this, I think IT simulations & real time monitoring would certainly help - I'm not sure how much they are into all this presently - some of the air-conditioned buses were already fitted with GPS for monitoring movement. There was a project for fitting them on all buses, but it will probably take some time to cover all buses.

There has been hesitation to use minibuses for interiors since I think there is the question of how well it will be patronised & viability as operating costs might far exceed revenues. Also, they had problems with minibus makers who were demanding excessive prices for customising buses according to their needs. They are now testing feeder services, but I'm not sure this is being done correctly since they plan to use regular sized buses - they should be using smaller minibuses that can penetrate the deep interiors. So, it might fail.

Using private vans would most certainly lift the chaos on the city's roads several times over like Manila or the erstwhile Bangkok with rampant cheating & misuse of permits, which again is undesirable.

ashok_n's picture

Re: Realities

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@Naveen,

Unfortunately, this is true for all cities - only the main thoroughfares in cities have very frequent services,

I agree.. this is a real problem in many India cities. This is certainly a problem with the outskirts in Chennai. That doesn't mean that it is a myth.

 

Start mini-buses/vans which do not have to travel more than 5 kms. There is no other way 

See this thread - it might be unviable & lot of subsidy would be needed if frequent minibus /van services have to be operated.

Can it be started as a pilot/test run? A few routes perhaps where some private companies are interested, with no loss to the government? No? Or should we keep discussing this things assuming it won't be viable?

They are now testing feeder services,

I agree with you. Another ill-concieved idea. How can BMTC classify a Marathahalli to Electronic City bus as a feeder service? Beats me !!

Ashok

 

 

 

murali772's picture

valid question

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Or should we keep discussing this things assuming it won't be viable?

Anything can be viable (a success) or unviable (a failure) based on how the variables are factored in, irrespective of the experiences anywhere in the world.

The question here simply is can a monopoly government service provider be ever expected to meet the burgeoning needs, particularly when it just couldn't bother with the sincerest of efforts towards overall improvement put in by the likes of the PRAJA team (check this), and is today largely seen as more of a vehicle for siphoning off government funds by the politicos in-charge and their cronies (check this)?

With the answer to this being a resounding "NO", the way forward becomes clear. An approach paper has been presented here. It certainly can be improved upon, provided in the first place one is even prepared to look at an alternative.

The current DULT chief (Ms Manjula, IAS) seems to be open-minded on a number of issues. May be I will set up a meeting with her soon.

Muralidhar Rao
akauppi's picture

Minivans rule in Africa

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In one of my presentations, I've used a picture of a "minivan" in Zambia to highlight what "public transport" can mean. India and Africa certainly are different but it may be worth asking the African how their van-based transport actually works. Maybe there are some keys in there to help India adopt a working, not-heavily-subsidised system.

Then again, any feeder system should be seen as part of the full transport chain, and therefore subsidies (from the bus/metro whatever is being fed to) might not be that bad. The feeder itself should not be directly subsidised - it should come through the added usage it brings to the main system.

WIthout knowing the specifics, and risking going a little too far, I would think that many of the problems discussed here are actually arising from the lack of business models and lack of integration of systems in the administration. That may mean that also fixing them is really, really hard. Only until the Twitter generation penetrates traffic planning change will truly happen. That is too late.

This of course further highlights the role of Praja as a change maker.

I guess I'm just repeating what Muralidhar wrote:

can a monopoly government service provider be ever expected to meet the burgeoning needs

I'd say they should meet with HSL people here in Helsinki. But they need to have the will to serve the public first.

In fact, shouldn't someone from BMTC be actively participating on this very forum. If you are, please raise a hand. :)

Asko

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

murali772's picture

reality check

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I'd say they should meet with HSL people here in Helsinki.

Just a suggestion will do - they will be there on the next flight - of course, using public money.

But they need to have the will to serve the public first.

However, that's another matter :(((

Muralidhar Rao
dvsquare's picture

@naveen

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Naveen

travel by trains in Mumbai is highly uncomfortable, particularly during peak hours - people travel on rooftops, hang from window rails & even crowd spaces between coaches.

That's why I said, for whom its uncomfortable, they use 1st class compartments, and as lot of mumbai polpulation lives in slum and they find this uncomfortable option but cheap, reliable, and quick. Also, for those who goes by AC coach or even by general coaches, they find it reliable, quick and less-stressing. But the major thing is, before they catch the train, and after they get down from the train, they are not bullied by autos to reach to their destination, those stay nearby can walk to station. Many places, which is nearer to office locations (like nariman point etc), they also use shared auto, public-transport-pooling, even the better mean, isn't it?

@SB

I can understand that we can walk if we have been given good footpaths, actually we can even walk if we have been given not-so-good footpaths, but if we are running late, its raining or its scorching heat, or already delayed, then catching an auto is nighmare than taking own private vehicle through the hell of traffic, right?

Secondly, I must made another point here, as lack of safety and security is another concern of bangaloreans when they use PT. I don't think anybody would object to that. in Mumbai, people (even the women) uses autos till 10-11 alone, and travel in local trains as well, here, we can't let our women citizens to be alone on the road after 10, right? We all know the incidences on the ORR service roads, near bigger junctions etc etc. Chain snatching etc are regular affairs, and robbers make use of less-lighting or no-lighting at all.

These all are important issues to be debated and discussed to find out what are the inhibitions in commom man's mind, what is that stopping many women employees to take public transport instead of their own vehicle (when late evening trips involved) in addition to discussing other our own selfish reasons of not using PT.

Deepak

idontspam's picture

How can BMTC classify a

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How can BMTC classify a Marathahalli to Electronic City bus as a feeder service? 

Feeder is any service which feeds the trunk line, The trunk line can be train/bus based and is identified by the high frequency & high ocupancy it carries. Feeder does not necessarily have to be a local loop. Tvarbanan I used to take in Stockholm was a feeder connecting many subway & commuter rail stations.  By cuting across multiple trunks you cut down on change overs. In fact K buses is kind of feeding multiple radial trunks. 

R V Raja Rao's picture

Mr. Naveen, This is true for

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Mr. Naveen,

This is true for all cities - PT services are extremely good in & around Sachiwalaya in Mumbai compared to suburbs, Parliament house in Delhi, City hall in Singapore, etc.

Last mile connectivity is well taken care of in other areas as well why anyone would prefer to travel by private vehicle?   Hence, the'Last Mile Connectivity' is NOT a creation by the very large affluent private vehicle loving public in this city that loathe walking even short distances, it is the reality.    

I don't think this is correct - the main bus station is nearby & hence, there is little justification to have another re-routing & stops within the station premises. In any case, space might also be a constraint & I think BMTC has started a shuttle service between station & the city bus terminus.

A stop near the station would make a lot of difference to general public who cannot afford or do not encourage autos. Available parking space at both the entrances to the City Railway Station may be shared between Autos and BMTC buses. Bangalore Cantonment is very poor in terms of public transport connectivity and only autos rule the place.   

Sorry to differ, but I think it requires two hands to clap. If one of those hands refuses to do so, there will be no clapping.

I am also equally sorry to differ with you.  Conductors need not extend their hands to clap, instead they can use their hands to show the exit door to underpaying fare commuters.   

Naveen's picture

More realities

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Last mile connectivity is well taken care of in other areas as well why anyone would prefer to travel by private vehicle?   Hence, the'Last Mile Connectivity' is NOT a creation by the very large affluent private vehicle loving public in this city that loathe walking even short distances, it is the reality.    

No doubt it's a reality in Bangalore just as it is in any city around the world. It's just that in bangalore, car users use this all the time to argue & excuse themselves from using public transport, whereas in most other cities, people accept it as the reality & use PT.

A stop near the station would make a lot of difference to general public who cannot afford or do not encourage autos. Available parking space at both the entrances to the City Railway Station may be shared between Autos and BMTC buses. Bangalore Cantonment is very poor in terms of public transport connectivity and only autos rule the place.

If one wants to use public transport, he still can since it's well within walking distance from the stations just as it is in most other cities as already mentioned. I see scores of people doing it routinely each day & I use buses myself whenever I have to go by train. No one denies that it would be better for the bus to drop one off closest to his destination, but with PT, one must also accept certain inconveniences since it's public transport for all. In any case, there isn't enough room in the railway premises for all buses to pass through, not to mention the chaos that would result if every bus has to cross lanes, enter & exit the station. As already mentioned, I think feeder services are operating between bus station & railway stn. So, for those that do not want to walk the few hundred meters, an alternative has also been provided.

I am also equally sorry to differ with you.  Conductors need not extend their hands to clap, instead they can use their hands to show the exit door to underpaying fare commuters.

For corruption & malpractices to end, it necessarily requires a large proportion of the public to be incorruptible, which sadly is not the case in India. Conductors, drivers, govt clerks, politicians all come from the same public that this country is made of. Expecting one section such as conductors (who are a low-income group) to be very clean whilst almost every other section is corrupt is impossible. One may keep asking for autos to charge correctly by the meter too, but as long as there are customers obliging them by paying more, the menace of over-charging will continue. Similarly, if sizable sections of the public encourage conductors by paying less & not take tickets, this menace will continue - this is quite obvious.

akauppi's picture

A suggestion

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Let me suggest a competition - or event - of sorts.

Travel around Bangalore, using public transport, and take the time.

Do this as a group yearly and report the time and headaches it takes.

My point is to make something fun that catches the common person's eye (and maybe the media's). Year by year, more people can participate and by comparing the times and recorded feedbacks, you can track progress (or lack of it) in Bangalore city transport.

I don't see many other ways, except for what Praja is already doing, to raise the standards in the city. If you do this in August, I can join! :)

 

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

idontspam's picture

 If you do this in August, I

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 If you do this in August, I can join! :)

We shall, but you should check out the bus day idea we had initiated with BMTC. Its around on the site, search for bus day. 

dvsquare's picture

Bus-day every month didn't

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Bus-day every month didn't yield much results as we expected, I mean, had BMTC been sincere about the feedbacks and executioner kind of body, it would have worked great for every Bangalorean, but that is not the case. Last bus-day was being made more of a celebrity event, when CM riding on bus (for whom the roads have been cleared off for a smoother drive), which obviously gone against the public convenience. So, as IDS has already said - "we shall", I also echo the same, but it should reach to authorities and make them work what we want and not just another event like Bus-day last month.

Deepak

akauppi's picture

Bus day

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The Bus day initiative seems great, thanks for pointing that out.

And you seem to be doing PR right. Having banners, the transport minister riding every 4th (and attending on the video). Impressed! :)

Have you informed the bus drivers of the event, btw. Like having little info handouts to them to make them feel part of the movement?

for whom the roads have been cleared off for a smoother drive

Should have known! :)

This is somehow so India. *smile and sigh*

asko

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

R V Raja Rao's picture

Mr. Naveen No doubt it's a

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Mr. Naveen

No doubt it's a reality in Bangalore just as it is in any city around the world.

It is the reality. Why would anyone prefer to travel by private vehicle if public transport system works out their way?  

One must also accept certain inconveniences since it is public transport for all.

I wish the feeder services get the priority over the autos for parking in railway stations and reduce the inconveniences to public.   

Expecting one section such as conductors (who are a low-income group) to be very clean whilst almost every other section is corrupt is impossible

Will anyone employ someone who is dishonest and allow him/her to be dishonest in their employment?   Opinion may differ but I will not.

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