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BMTC - good things announced

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BusPublic Transport

While we continue to expect more from BMTC here on Praja, good things are being announced by the government. CM kicked off work for a TTMC at Kengeri, and while doing that, he announced (quoting TOI) a bus station in every locality and a depot every 5 km, in the next few years. Thats sweet, but sheltered bus stands with clear display of bus information would be sweeter.

Good news there as well though, as BMTC has picked Keltron for supplying GPS enabled Passenger Information Systems, 80 of these will come up on Airport volvo routes on pilot basis. The promise is to show real time bus information at bus stands. Refer this news article..

At the same event, Mr Pasha, MD, BMTC made another good sounding promise (quote, TOI again) "We plan to convert our fleet to CNG-fuelled buses in 2-3 years". Thats a big promise to keep Mr Pasha. Let us remind you that all the city autos are yet to convert to CNG.

BTW, in case you didn't know, BMTC buses (I am guessing most, if not all) run on bio-diesel, they use a mix of jatropha to meet emission standards. Thats probably the reason we don't see BMTC buses emit as much soot and smoke as lorries and autos do.

Another interesting announcement from BMTC recently has been regarding low floor buses. Looks like it is all set to go for Tata Marco Polo buses. As per the recent news articles, these cost 52-55 lakh each, though I distinctly remember reading a number like 32-35 lakhs few months ago (perhaps non A/c). Volvo's come for Rs 72 lakh apiece. Friends say the Marco Polos in use at Delhi are pretty good, so lets see how these compare with Volvo. It is not clear though if BMTC is going to give up on Volvo altogether or if its going to run a mixed fleet of both low floor brands.

Now, after the good announcements, a round up of things we would like to hear but we haven't. Nothing in the news recently that suggests that BMTC is working on getting its routing system right. No announcements regarding plans to integrate with Metro (hey. its only two years away, thats not a lot of time). No announcements regarding the 150 odd bus shelters/bays that BBMP is supposedly doing for BMTC, though I do notice that a few new bus stands have shown up on Airport Volvo routes.

The pace of announcements seems to be good, so we should expect more. And yeah, we would be watching after things you announce. For matters of governance and administration in our city, we know that well begun is certainly not half done :)

Comments

Vasanth's picture

Marcopolo buses to be launched on Nov 1st

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2 Marcopolo buses will be launched on Nov 1st. Read that Non A/C buses costs around 32 lakhs and A/C bus costs 55 lakhs. Nothing announced yet on BRT!!!.
j_venu's picture

good to see GPS enabled buses

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This is a very good move of providing Bus Arrival Information using GPS. I wish this becomes a good success.
murali772's picture

Eye-opener

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Reading the post, I almost set out do a 'dollu kunita'. TTMC's, bus station in every locality, a depot every 5km - what more can the commuter ask for? Doesn't matter if he can't figure out which of the 1800 odd routes will take him to his destination, with or without help from the non-functioning call-centre, or the non-readable destination boards on the buses. In fact, just dump the trip, and shop till you drop at the TTMCs, availing all the grand discounts schemes on offer from BIG BAZAAR. Way to go BMTC, Yedi, Ashoka!!! Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Depot every 5KM?

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I can understand a stop every locality. Depot every 5kms??? Why would you need that? Hope they are not the TTMC type shopping complexes. I bet more point to point buses will be introduced going thru majestic or shivajinagar or kalasipalyam ignoring the metro routes. Can we get somebody from Singapore RTA to drill some sense into them before this gets out of control?
Rithesh's picture

GPS as a saviour

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A couple of days back i talked to a BMTC driver about GPS being fitted on buses. He told me that 3-4 buses from his depot were fitted with GPS devices. Because of this GPS device, it seams that the drivers couldnt stop at the last stops for more than the 5 mins (or may be the stipulated time). Failing which a BMTC enforcement squad use to take them to task. Also it seams that they were warned if they happened to take a different route than the actual one (sometimes these buses to avoid traffic and also passengers!!) take small detours. Obviously he was cribbing about this :) I hope someday all BMTC buses will be fitted with GPS devices.
murali772's picture

they care a damn!

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Prajasevakare' While operating the "Yelli Iddira?" service, many kinds of deviations resorted to by the drivers were noticed live by me, and reported to Depot Manager, Mr Dastagir Sherief, and a monthly summary to the MD himself. No deterrent actions were ever taken, and the merry circus carried on leaving the commuters in the learch, and cursing me, not knowing I myself was helpless. So, if anybody wants to revive the YI service, or start anything new, with BMTC, be warned in advance of these kinds of hazards. As compared to that, if it was TATA or TVS in the picture, I would perhaps have earned better contractual benefits, and general gratefulness of the commuters. Do you still believe BMTC can deliver, ever? Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

BMTC and their kingdom

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BMTC has delivered and can deliver; but only what they want and in their own way. Not in the way you or I will want or the way that is beneficial to public. I can predict today, that they will not accept to being a feeder service and compliment the metro/CRS/mono/Tram. They, being the people who have moved people in Bangalore since the ages, will consider their prerogative to throw a few buses around the metro stations as charity and continue to make 2000 more routes and establish their kingdom. This will be the undoing of the opportunity that lies in front of us. If BMLTA cannot redefine BMTC routing we have lost the war for a better future.
narayan82's picture

depots every 5 kms?

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"depots every 5 kms?" or does he mean "Shopping Malls" every 5kms? As I see it, more valuable than a depot is a good Busbay every 1 km. Less setting up costs, less land cost and more effective. If a bus goes to a TTMC It will spend more time going in to the TTMC, finding a plc to stop and then leaving, as opposed to a roadside bus bay where all he has to do is pull over and open his doors. This whole TTMC concept is actually more time consuming. Hence TTMCs should be located only at end points of the route and maybe at inter modal transite interchange (E.g Metro + Bus.) Bus bays will be so much more useful. I am sure if someone does the maths we can arrive at how many Bus Bays can be created for the cost of 1 TTMC, I assum it will be around 90-100?
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

Bus bay on the balance sheet

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TTMC fetches revenue because it is nothing more than a shopping complex. This revenue will compensate in the balance sheet for all the bloat that the organization carries on the cost front. What will a bus bay fetch? Better traffic movement and citizen comfort. Where will they show that on the balance sheet?
narayan82's picture

Bus Bays:

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Well, in that case I would say - forget TTMCs why not just construct Malls From basement upwards and use that money to create bus bays? :) But, Bus bays can be revenue generators through advertising. I am sure the advertising costs can cover the cost of each bus bay (land excluded.)
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Rithesh's picture

Bus Bays

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For some reason no one in Bangalore seams to be worried about bus bays. A few constructed on the Ring Road are rarely used. The ORR (in most stretches) has enough place to accommodate bus bays. They just need to be planned. Hopefully in the ORR re-asphalting/repair project started by BDA they will also construct the bus bays. The newly bus bays created on the stretch between Mekhri circle and Hebbal flyover are haphazardly planned and are completely useless (will take a few pictures and put them up). Above all this, BBMP wants to rebuild bus shelters (not bus bays) - when most of the previous shelters were in pretty good state. Needless to say - it will only shelter the pockets of few people. When will things change and for once people will work for the better cause of the society. Murali Sir, The GPS will atleast put some fear in to the minds of BMTC drivers. Yes i am not that optimistic to hope it will bring overnight changes. Regarding your views of abolishing BMTC "monopoly" - i am with you :) - but first comes the regulatory framework - let that be in place. Rithesh Prajasevaka
idontspam's picture

Bus bays - Plain talk?

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The corporation is tipped to take the study findings forward as it lines up services for new areas. It is also learnt that a plan is on to create about 600 new bus bays across the city. The report underlines the need to instruct drivers to stop buses at dedicated bays. With drivers stopping the vehicles after or before the stops, passengers also change positions in anticipation, leading to chaos near the bays. Source
silkboard's picture

build more buy more

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Let me put our BMTC / BBMP bus related frustrations in simplest way possible. What we see is a trend is to build more and buy more. If that ever changes to make the best use of what it already has (lots of buses, lots of waiting customers, goodwill by way of being a 'profitable' body) then we'd all be happy residents of this city.

With the monopoly over bus operations in the city, and freedom from paying road taxes, BMTC should make twice the amount of profit it makes today. Let me get hold of their annual report and budgets and we can prove this point with facts.

The misconception that BMTC and government has is that only way they can keep getting their cuts is by building and buying more. A healthy and efficient operation has large maintenance contracts as well. Efficiency would alos require buying stuff, just that it will be software and data collection systems as opposed to buses and Big Bazaars. There will be enough money moving around in the "let us optimize" approach as well (for all to be happy). Once everyone understands this, "build more buy more" will stop.

rs's picture

It seems like there is a bus

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It seems like there is a bus stop building spree in some parts of the city. I hope that is not what they mean by `bus bays' The new constructions are simply slightly fancier bus stops - green in colour with some stainless steel bars. What they need to do is make a cut in the road for the busses to come in and out - but I dont think they are planning on that.

They need something like this

                     BUS STOP
                    __________
__________/                   \__________

( not sure if this will show up correctly but what I mean is a  cut in the road so the bus can cut in and then drive out - so only half of its width is on the road. Of course this will work only if (1) the bus drivers cooperate (2) people cooperate and dont come on the road...


And the bus stops should not block the footpath as they often do.
asj's picture

Lets be realistic

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I keep reading about this demand to have bus bays. The prime reason behind it seems more to do with keeping the traffic moving (no one argues for them to be in place because they make it any easier for the bus user). But dedicated bus bays need roads with additional width. I have compiled this document to show what happens in London, a city where buses carry 6.5 million people per day - http://better.pune.google... This does not mean drivers of buses in Bangalore / Pune can stop where they like, they still need to get close and parallel to the bus stops. So I am not playing the devils advocate here. Secondly, what should an ideal bus stop be like? This compilation should put my views across - http://better.pune.google... Look at the non-sense MMRDA has come up with in Mumbai. MMRDA has all the money in the world as it seems - a modern bus stop, all jazzed up and one where the entire footpath is taken up A bit of realism will help. Not every thing has to come from Flash Gordon comics (I am sorry this is my take on some of the designs for the elevated Metro stations). ASJ
Naveen's picture

Bus Bays - ASJ is Quite Correct

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I was going to say the same thing. The demand for bus bays that are inset & for pedestrians to also stay away from the street is from the car lobbies who want to move their cars past bus stops without hindrance.

Whilst it is true that buses stop well outside, in fact sometimes in the middle of the roads, one must also understand that it is difficult for them to 'park' the buses too close to the kerb, as the drivers would be merely stopping buses for pickup & drop off, & not docking the vehicle there for long.

The provsion of such bays on some roads (such as Hosur road, before Forum mall, & on ORR) has not proved useful since with extremely high growths & excessive traffic, the situation has remained fluid & bus stops have also been moved back & forth. In some cases, bus bays have been taken over for 'idle parking' by cars, autos, even trucks.

Thus, all are to be blamed for this unsatisfactory state of affairs.

Where bus bays are of a more permanent & secure nature, such as those at various end terminals, or on Richmond road, near Mayo hall, buses do stop within the well designed bays or lanes, as private vehicles are kept away by making necessary arrangements (requiring more road width).

I observed yesterday that traffic cops were trying to strictly enforce similar controls on Richmond road, near Bishop Cottons Boys School & have put up barricades to separate the bus lane in way of the bus stop.

Car owners must also remember that buses transport many times more people than their car can do. Thus, per capital energy consumption & pollution is far lower from the bus, as also per capital space consumption on the roads.

Vasanth's picture

Respect Buses

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Naveen is right, car drivers and 2 wheeler drivers should respect buses and give way for them. In this hapazordal Bangalore traffic, riding a cute small car with powersteering itself is so difficult. There are many signals on the uphills where one has to maintain half clutch. Managing so many passengers with few buses without powersteering and no handbrakes like cars and cutting through the traffic with such a huge body is not an easy task. Hats off to those drivers. Car drivers and 2 wheelers should give way to the buses. At the same time, our buses needs to be advanced like the Delhi BRT green buses. Traffic should be designed for bus lanes wherever possible (not necessarily BRTS) such as KG Road and Residency Road to accomodate easy driving.
Vasanth's picture

Volvo 500N route Story

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Newly introduced Volvo 500N route was as per my email communication with CTMO. Basically I live in Kattriguppe and work on the Bannerghatta Road (Sagar Apollo, Jalabhavan area) and there was no direct bus from this side as well as Vijaynagar side on the Bannerghatta Road. Lot many in our office come from Vijaynagar, Banashankari areas. I wrote email to grahakbmtcshakti@gmail.com and expressed the need of a Bus from this direction which can cover Bannerghatta Road proceeding to Koramangala and proceed towards ITPL with bus stop even in front of Forum mall. Within 1 week, V500N with 3 buses were introduced with slight modifications on the suggested route. I had requested from Nagarbhavi Layout, probably since Volvos donot cut the narrow lanes, they introduced from Vijaynagar. These buses are going full. Price is 15 rupees for 10 kms. Normal Parisara Vahini bus to the nearest Jayadeva charges 11 rupees. There are many non-profitble routes where BMTC introduces Volvos, this is mainly due to the political pressure of the local MLAs. These MLAs and corporators then show off saying that on their demand BMTC had introduced Volvo to their areas and demand very low fare. This is where BMTC is loosing its precious resource Volvo.
murali772's picture

they responded to you???

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Vasanth - If they responded to you readily, why don't you lead a team to interact with them on a regular basis, and see if you can get them to implement the many suggestions thrown up by PRAJA members?

Simultaneously, I'll lead a team demanding competition.

Essentially, what we need is multi-pronged approaches towards improving the services in this most vital infrastructure sector.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
ssheragu's picture

bus bays

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ssheragu I cannot agree with ASJ or Naveen with due respects to them bus bays are not for car lobby; in fact it is for the entire city; by making sure that buses stop only in bus bays the road passage can be made smooth for all vehicles like cars, lorries and even buses the argument that buses stop only for a short while (say one or two minutes) is not correct because 20 buses every hour makes up to 20 minutes of blockage evry hour of course if necessary the roads will havet be widened thanks Srinath Heragu
asj's picture

Bus Bays - Make us agree with you

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No one has to agree with what I suggest. But if views are at odds, then please help us agree with the other view. I will continue to do my bit here - Firstly, do read the 2 liner where I state clearly that I have not intent of playing the devlis advocate. Secondly, the compilations I provided, present one practical challenge when it comes to implementing bus bays, that of road width. Thirdly, see the two images below. Both these bus stops are part of videos I request everyone to see in the context of this thread. http://better.pune.googlepages.com/busstop2.jpg And http://better.pune.googlepages.com/busstop.jpg Now go to my video on Mirrors, Signal and Manoeuvre http://praja.in/blog/asj/... and pay attention to section from 1 minute 34 seconds until 2:20 seconds. But pay particular attention to what happens at 2:04 seconds when the bus driver signals / indicates right to 'move on' - note how until this happened vehicles passed the bus when safe but slowed down to let the bus move on when its driver was ready. Now the same bus stop is in action on another video titled 'courtesy aka Gandhigiri'. Go to http://praja.in/blog/asj/... and pay note to section starting at 6 minutes 48 seconds. Here I explain the unwritten rule of using courtesy to deal with bottle necks. When you reach 7:09 notice the same bus stop, with bus dropping / picking passengers. See here, because of the oncoming traffic, no car behind the bus attempted to overtake the stationary bus. If you go to my compilation on road layouts and look at the one where I use a 8 meter wide road to demonstrate different ways of using this small width, you will see one image with two bus bays - these like the images above have bus bays. Note the hatched road markings, this means cars may cross over if need be. But first in UK, no one parks near bus bays allowing buses to stop in the bus bays and as seen in the video, 90% or more follow the newly introduced rule 198 of Highway code where cars have to give way to buses. In India, from the bus drivers perspective, vehicles occupy most space around bus stops, making it impossoible to get perfectly parallel to bus stops. Secondly, if they did get close to bus stops they can't move out quickly enough as overtaking vehhicles do not have the decency to give priority to buses. Add lack of power steering to this and see what trouble the bus drivers may face (as a psychiatrist I always put myself in others shoes to understand them better). Now coming back to 20 buses and 20 minnutes argument - 20 buses would carry 20x40 (if not 60) people = 800 people against how many by cars? If we extend this logic to BRTS models and say, a bus has frequency of one bus every 5 so dedicated lanes are unused for 5 minutes then no one would buy the idea of bus priority. Now I pass the ball back to your court - take two roads one 3+3 lane and one 1+1 lane where buses ply. If the roads have similar width throughout, show exactly how you will carve out a dedicated bus bay without having the obstruct traffic - and this should be without compromise in pedestrian facilities as per IRC norms (I have posted these separately). This may help people like me get convinced more easily. Good luck. ASJ
Vasanth's picture

Marco Polo buses launched

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Marco Polo A/C buses have been launched on a trial basis. 1 bus runs to Nelamangala and other to Hoskote. Fares will be between Rs. 5-20. I was wondering it is so cheap for a 55 lakh bus. Somehow I feel balance is not there in BMTC, either they are too cheap which will make buses crowded or too expensive, where people will become reluctant to take the service. There is no balance. These buses have more variety - They can be got either in Diesel Version / CNG version / CNG+Electric Version, Manual Transmission or Auto, Airconditioned or non airconditioned. There is wheelchair boarding facility along with wheelchair lock. 2 Displays like the Volvos outside plus one inside. It is lot more fuel efficient than Volvo (3-4 kmpl as against 1.5 kmpl of Volvo). If somebody takes a ride, post it.
narayan82's picture

Numbering!

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BMTC seriously has run out of ways to number busses. Now they are just going haywire! When Volvos were launched, the numbers were V335E etc etc... Now MarcoPolo busses are MP254....etc Is BMTC going to number busses after the manafacturers? I would be surprised! I would prefer if the route no. was left as it is, without any change/abbrevation! Everyone, knows by looking at the bus that it is a Vaayu Vjra or Marco Polo, and hence they know what bus to afford. In the long run, I forsee busses of only 1 class - MC or VV types. Do away with chitty chitty bang bang busses! Maybe they should just have two lines - red line and Blue Line, and they have respective colours. Right now we Blue, Red, Silver, Pink, Green and Dark blue busses! We need some kind of cordination!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

How about when bus not around?

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If a timetable is published in the stand you will be able to make out by looking at the bus number even when bus is not around.
j_venu's picture

Work on Bus Bays on Outer Ring Road

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While driving on the Outer Ring Road, Hebbal to KR puram bridge , i noticed that work on the Bus Bays has started near nagawara and kalyanagar. It was good to see some action happening.
ashwin's picture

Ofcourse Bus Bays are for the benefit of Cars.

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It is a relief to read to read Asj's and Naveen's comments - every one else seems to be hankering after bus bays like they are manna from heaven.
ssheragu, I am willing to bet a small amount of money that you rarely, if ever, use walking as a mode of getting from point A to point B (as opposed to evening exercise in local park).
Bus bays have been hacking away at what remains of our pavements. Just one example is the Guttahalli Bus stop, between Cauvery theatre and BDA junction. They first narrowed the pavement for the magic box bridge. What little remained is now gone due to the bus bay. That too on a road that has 3 lanes in either direction. What was the need? Is it really that big a deal if the car that happens to be behind a bus has to stop for 10 seconds while a bus unloads passengers, in the rare case that he is not able to maneuver into the adjacent lane and over take.
This disaster is being replicated all over the city.
BBMP's new motto should be - for the happiness of the world's cars. Which can be translated into Sanskrit to sound something impressive.

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