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So, will BMTC do one of this?

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Public Transport

I was waiting for one of these two to happen. What if:

  1. BMTC bids to operate buses in liberalized UP transport sector?
  2. BMRC (Bangalore Metro) orders its own fleet of buses to make sure it gets good numbers to reliably reach all their stations?

Why #1? Because, if BMTC and KSRTC take pride in being te best transportation company in our country, why wouldn't they go bid for the UP routes. Why #2? Because, Delhi Metro is ordering more buses to run feeder services around its stations. (refer biz-standard, last week), so why shouldn't BMRC not think on same lines?

The second development could be interesting, because that would effectively bring in some competition for BMTC. Would a dose of competition in local bus service space help or not, we have had enough debates on various forums. Don't get me wrong, BMTC is perhaps the best in country. But if we want our city to be Singapore, Shanghai or Sydney, the bar has got to be much much higher. Look at some of this:

  • While the mantra is decongestion, BMTC is still operating with Majestic as a mother of all hubs, whereas the area increasingly doesn't count as either residential or business epicenter of the city. Alright, we heard about TTMCs, but we have not seen anything that says their routing schemes would change once a few TTMCs get ready.
  • Grid based routing, multiple satellite hubs model, one Parameswaran model - there are tons of ideas on the table, but no real progress at all on optimizing its routes to bus ratio which is too high.
  • To the best of our knowledge, BMTC and BMRC haven't been working on coordinating catchment areas around Metro stations.
  • They bought Volvo buses worth Rs 70 lakh each not so long ago for running its top tier services. Now, the word doing rounds is that Tata Marco Polo buses, each worth Rs 35-40 lakhs could be preferred over Volvo for new set of low-floor models. Are they just short on cash now, or did they goof up in their earlier evaluations?
  • No action at all on local shuttles to increase 'footprint'  or 'spread' of each trunk route.
  • No initiative shown on BRTS. By initiative I mean a study to either support or rule out possibilities of bus corridors. Lets ignore the "report" by Mr M N Sreehari on BRTS for NH7 beyond Hebbal because that is not where we need help right now, we are talking about the city. BTW, if you ask BMTC about BRTS, they'd say go ask BBMP or BDA, they own the roads.

Its time for the next set of reforms to set the transportation sector in our state free of controls and inefficiencies of public sector. The time to raise the pressure on them is now, because things would get complicated once BMTC completes its IPO.

PS: This is an expect-more type post, and not a general rant against BMTC. I am not holding them responsible for congestion in Bangalore City, only saying that they hold the keys to quickest time-to-market as well as impact-ful solutions to decongest our city. In short, they are good, but need to be much better. And I wonder what can make them take some solid initiatives to get there.

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silkboard's picture

About Delhi Metro feeder buses

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Stale news for Delhi residents, but in case you didn't know, private operators ply feeder buses for DMRC. See Delhi Metro's 'Metro Link" tender. Read a bit about them in this Hindu Article.

As per that tender, Metro Link is a:

A SCHEME FOR PRIVATE OPERATORS TO PLY CNG OPERATED BHARAT STAGE III FEEDER BUSES (SWARAJ MAZDA / TATA
407 / SIMILAR VEHICLES ... AS METRO LINK SERVICES ON FEEDER ROUTES TO METRO STATIONS ..

From what I figure, the buses are all braded as Delhi Metro, just that they are operated by a private party via five year long contracts that are reviewed every six months. Read that tender pdf, and you will get ideas about this London-bus like approach to reforming BMTC - they lay down the operating conditions, and let private parties operate buses under a common brand.

More from the DMRC feeder bus tender:

  • The DMRC LTD. will neither collect any revenue from the operators nor compensate them for any short falls in their revenue
  • Vehicles will run at a frequency as decided by the DMRC LTD. as per route length & requirement ...

Look at some of the conditions that will constitute default in tenure of the agreement:

  • Delaying the bus causing dislocation of the traffic scheduled.
  • Off route operation.
  • Non –stoppage of bus at the scheduled bus stops for alighting and boarding of
    passengers.
  • Allowing un-authorized persons to travel without tickets.
  • Rash and negligent driving.
  • Non-display of destination boards and/or defective destination board’s light.

Not sure how exactly DMRC will track all these items. But since it'd be a private party operating the buses, they will at least be in a position to do something if public files complaints.

Why doesn't BMTC make a beginning by allowing private operated feeder services for local only routes, or around its new TTMCs. They could alos let go of their Volvo services, they are anyway losing lots of money on them.

 

silkboard's picture

Answer from BMRC on feeder service

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I got a chance to interact with Mr Sivasailam yesterday, and among other things I asked this question to him - will BMRC consider operating feeder bus service to ensure efficiency of catchment area around each station. I told him about the arrangement at Delhi (see above comment, they have their own feeder mini-bus service)

He said he will like to work with BMTC, there is no point competing with them. Cooperation will be more efficient use of resources than trying to do a bus service of his own. Also, Devesh and others were quick to add, that Delhi Transport Corporation and BMTC are two different things with contrasting reputations.

Anyway, he said he will look at the Delhi arrangement to understand it. His replies were genuine and spontaneous, so please don't make this a big issue. We should anyway get a chance soon to ask this question in a Praja-group.

This particular ideology apart, I must say that Mr Sivasailam seemed impressive with all the handy stats on BMRC's finances and civil engineering details of ongoing work. Gives very fact based answers, and seemed like a man of numbers. Nice.

Naveen's picture

BMRC - About Ph-1 South Extension

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SB,

Re. yr meeting with Sivasailam - I think we need to clarify many other things, too.

Progress of work appears rather slow - when is tunnel boring going to begin ? Have the tunnel boring machines arrived or is all work going to be cut & cover ? If cut & cover is used, all of the road sections where underground construction is on wud be out of service. If this is the case, will construction be handled in a phased manner for underground sections ? What provisions will be made for traffic & people movement ?

Why has BMRC not started working together with BMTC & other agencies to plan & organize dedicated, fast feeder services for the Metro ? If they do not start recognizing early that appropriate steps need to be taken well in time before commencement to ensure it's success, the Metro may bleed them & it may never become successful, dogged by criticism & an unwavering public opinion.

There also appears to be some lack of foresight in their alignment planning on the extension towards the south. I had sent them a query about this, but have'nt heard anything yet in reply from them (Pls refer http://praja.in/bangalore...).

Hope we get a chance to hear about all this from them - or should we RTI them ?

 

malini's picture

BMTC services

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malini The BMTC's claim that it is running the best transport service in India is nothing but a big lie. I don't think even one per cent of BMTC customers would be happy with its service. The BMTC's monopoly is the biggest hurdle to improving transport services in Bangalore. If the BMTC is confident that its service is the best in India it should not fear the entry of private operators. I request all citizens to put pressure on the govt to allow private buses to operate in Bangalore. MALINI
malini
thampan's picture

Info from the BMRC site

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With traffic decongestion being the key, the primary aim of the Bangalore Metro is to encourage commuters to leave their vehicles in their garages and use public transport. Positioned as a complementary, rather than competitive mode of transport, the Bangalore Metro will work in tandem with other transport systems like buses and mono rails.

The city bus corridors will not run parallel to Bangalore Metro corridors, instead buses will act as feeders. The mono rail network planned for the city will not overlap with that of the metro, but will connect at major junctions as feeders.

On certain high density corridors, three wheelers will be regulated. Feeder bus services will be provided to all the metro stations. Bus bays and parking facilities for private vehicles will be available at all major stations. State-of-the-art satellite bus-cum-metro terminals are being planned in the city outskirts, to control the entry of inter-city buses.


BMTC would act as a feeder service to the Metro once the Metro lines are up and running. I think a realistic estimate for the first line would be at least 2010 end. ( given the progress seen on the roads) BMTC may also run parallel routes during peak hours to take care of the extra load which the Metro cannot handle. But during non peak hours, there would not be any competition.
silkboard's picture

Two things BMTC can do today

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1) Professionalize its high-end (Volvo, Marco Polo) services. The re-branded or new venture could basically be given the aim of targeting car, auto and most of bike users who commute on long distance trunk routes.

2) Recognize that BMTC is not catering to the local shuttle needs. This reduces the reach of its other long distance services, and also adds some needless short-haul traffic on major roads (which should carry only medium to long distance traffic).

For both #1 and #2, let BMTC/KSRTC decide how they would do it. For #1, they could launch a PPP, or just privatize certain trunk routes within the city. For #2 again, BMTC could do its own local shuttle service, or just privatize the local shuttle space, or create a regulatory mechanism to make more efficient use of auto-rickshaws in local transportation system (see this old post on Auto Transit authority).

BMTC could retain its current business - running trunk route services targeted at the majority of commuters. Its anyway losing money on Volvo services (this is to be confirmed, need an RTI here), and is anyway not doing anything on local shuttles front.

Big thing to say, but looks to me that BMTC wont lose much by doing above two things, its a win-win for both BMTC and Bangalore.

kbsyed61's picture

Discussion with BMTC Top Brass - Praja Way

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SB,

Very thoughtful comments. In absence of official word from BMTC on its plans and projects, it would be just a guessing game. I suggest taking the BMTC Project little further.

Let's do these 3 things:

  1. File RTI's to get the required information from BMTC - This is in pipeline.
  2. Organize a Praja Style meeting with BMTC's bosses as one of the panel member. Let's webcast the proceedings. Meeting should be focused to get BMTC's line of thinking and its plans for next 5, 10 and 25 years. We should be only asking questions, not any suggestions.
  3. Meet with BMTC's top brass to make a representation with concrete suggestions and proposed solutions.

I am sure we can do this.

Syed

murali772's picture

perform, or step aside!

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In fact, amongst the first ever PRAJA style meetings was with Mr Tripathy, the then BMTC MD. At that time, our approach was to try and understand their problems (though, of course, I had known them all the while, and the solutions too).

Now, if we are to be organising a meeting, it should be from a position where we say "enough is enough; either perform, or move out of the way".

And, since there are policy matters involved, we have to move things at the political level. Alternatively - PIL.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

A website by IIT Mumbai to get the Mumbai Bus Routes bn A & B

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http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/navigator2_gis/Main is a website by IIT Mumbai with location on Google Map to get the Bus route numbers from point A to point B with variety of routes.

Website takes a while to load, especially the map.

Our BMTC website simply says - There is no direct route -  Go to Shivajinagar / Majestic / Market and change the bus.

Vasanth's picture

Online Bus Position Indication System for Delhi BRT buses

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This link gives online bus position and expected bus at a bus stop. Also, there is info about the bus arrivals on a particular bus stop - all developed by dimts.

http://www.dimts.in/passengerinfo.html 

 

 

 

murali772's picture

old hat

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Vasanth - Why should anyone have to go all the way to the bus stand to know when a bus is coming when the info can be made available on your mobile, which was what "Yelli Iddira?" all about.

And, to think that BMTC had it all, over two years back, but allowed it to die entangled in bureaucratic red tape!

I hear it's being revived by 'mapunity', and is to be announced soon. Good luck to them.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

BMTC meeting theme - Local shuttle

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I think before or in addition to talking PIL and all, let us meet BMTC again or few more times. Nothing may come out if it, but it will be worthwhile to go meet - and do so in good numbers - with a focused theme as opposed to a general Q&A or suggestions style meeting

I'd say we try a meeting with the theme of "expanding the catchment area of each BMTC bus stand". Local shuttles and regulated Autorickshaw service are two possible ways to do it. But let us hear them on the subject as well.

When we had met Mr Tripathy, he did seem aware of the issues and whether good or bad, he had the answers to all we asked..

Murali sir, are you game for setting up a meeting? If it can be on a Saturday, some members will sure join. 3-4 knowledgable folks should be enough to, but more will be merrier.

Syed - we will list down questions as well. We will print and give the questions to them right there during the meeting.

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