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Tried office commute using Big10 - a report

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Big10 inside 28.22 am - Wife dropped me at the main road outside our complex, a Big 10 was waiting right then and there. Even better, the driver stopped for me to save me a 50 m walk till the bus stand. Good or bad, I wonder, but I did say thanks to him.



8.32 am - Our Big10 hits the Marathahalli Railway bridge.

8.44 am - 12 minutes to cross the bridge plus market area, not that bad.

8.52 am - I am out at HAL bus stand. 10 Rupees paid for the ride from Varthur Road till here.

Here is where I faced the biggest hurdle of this commute so far. Tell me how to cross the road when the signals HAL/Suranjan Das Road T junction make sure that Airport road always has traffic flowing in either direction at all points of time? There is no pedestrian island at the center (media area) as well. You got to be an athlete (sprint) as well as a monk (patience) to cross the road.

BTW, the same problem exists at Marathahalli/ORR signal as well. There is no pedestrian friendly signal stop, you got to cross one lane, then wait at median (and hope that no vehicle crushes your toes), and then cross the other lane. Two step process is fine, can live with that, but then, there must be a well made waiting area at the median.

Now, at HAL signal, I waited till 9.11 am, 19 minutes to be precise. Not a single bus came up from HAL/Airport road to take me on Suranjan Das Road towards CV Raman Nagar (office is at Bagmane Tech Park). 19 minutes is a lot of time.

9:11 am - Got into an auto. He refused to put on the meter. There was no time left to haggle (got a meeting at 9.30), so I said lets see. Along the way, he picked up another passenger, and requested me to "share" the ride. Great, why not.

9.24 am - I am at office, but have to first haggle with the auto driver over payment. He demands 45 Rs from both of us! I gave 35 (meter charge would have been about 26) and walked out all annoyed. Belag-belagge, yaake!?

62 minutes end to end, with 19 minutes wasted waiting at a bus interchange, and a thoroughly unpleasant last mile ride. What are the take-aways?

  • It takes me 35-40 minutes to cover the same route via private transport. Time taken via the bus auto combination is not that much more if you cut out the wait, and the ride itself (when in the bus) is comfortable enough.
  • Buses are nice to be in, but it is painful to be outside of them - to cross major roads, or wait at bus stands
  • Big 10 helps, high frequency of operation is the key
  • But, last mile sucks, as always. Thank God I live close to the Big 10 route. But I wish my office was closer to the Big 10 corridor.

Recommendations?

  • Instead of runing services (hired from BMTC?) from all over Bengaluru to Bagmane Tech park, the Tech Park itself needs to run just local shuttles to pull in people from nearby corridors - Airport Road, and Old Madras Road (and later, from Byappanhalli Metro terminal, and K R Puram train station if CRS ever happens).
  • Need dedicated bus lanes at choke points. Wish the Big10 route mentioned here could cross Marathahalli bridge and ORR signal at priority.
  • And last, and relatively less important than above: Big10 buses need more acceleration. I don't like cars overtaking my bus at will. The best thing about Volvos is not the air conditioning, but quick acceleration that helps it keep pace with or even beat the rest of traffic.

Agree with me?

Comments

idontspam's picture

Last mile

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Instead of runing services (hired from BMTC?) from all over Bengaluru to Bagmane Tech park, the Tech Park itself needs to run just some shuttles to pull in people from nearby corridors

This is the exact same suggestion I gave my company admin seeking suggestions to cut down on transportation costs. Instead of running shuttles and cabs all over the city I suggested just focussing on last mile connectivity. Just run a shuttle from the nearest trunk route.

psaram42's picture

The Big-10 experiment

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 SB

Not sure what is Big-10. I am not able to figure out why so much of struggle to do the research on travel time with busses, especially the Big-10.

I do agree that there is an urgent need for sustainable transport in cities like Bangalore in India. Karnataka government has taken the much needed step in right direction by setting up Cistup. Sri Upendra Tripathy earlier principle secretary was instrumental in setting up Cistup.

I talked to Prof TG Setharam head civil engg dept IISc who is in charge of the Cistup initiative.  I am trying to get an appointment for Praja with him on this burning issue. He has promised to give an appointment to us on his return from abroad.

Some light has started dawning as far as I am concerned on this sustainable transport myth, which I am eager to share with praja. I think I should make a power point presentation and put it on Praja web site. Will give it a try.

PSA

navshot's picture

Excellent

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SB,

This is great report!

I think, as you mentioned, ideally we need to have a single public transport system (which is a combination of metro, BMTC, etc) that caters to everyone. But the truth is, we are not there yet. And worse, we won't be there even when Metro would be there. This is for the simple reason that Big-10, Metro and such won't adress connectivity all across the city. For example, how am I supposed to travel from Sanjayanagar to Bagmane Tech Park (I too work here!)? No metro is planned near my home (nearest station is about 5-6 km away) and no Big-10 route that connects these. I'm sure there are a number of areas in Bangalore that fall into this category. We still need to improve our conventional grid/point-to-point BMTC routes.

On the last mile from Metro station, I'm with you. The tech park better provide shuttle service.

-- navshot

 

-- navshot
idontspam's picture

Bellary road big 10

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I supposed to travel from Sanjayanagar to Bagmane Tech Park (I too work here!)? No metro is planned near my home (nearest station is about 5-6 km away) and no Big-10 route that connects these

Bellary road Big 10 would start soon. But from your home you will need a local shuttle to reach bellary road and then transfer to big 10 and then to KS to another airport road Big 10 and then your office shuttle. By then half the day would be over.

If the entire mass transit solution is designed properly, you should ideally have one shuttle from home to metro or LRT or Mono or whatever and then another from the destination station to office. Not more than 2 changes.

Naveen's picture

Great Description

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SB :

Many thanks. Your report was very interesting & I feel that the 'last mile' part on office /workplace side must be taken care of collectively by all the firms located there as it is difficult to provide this by BMTC, since BMTC is purely a public service. Likewise, the 'home' end has to be managed by the individual. This may be difficult for some as there may be no convenient buses, but most would find suitable options, hopefully with the fresh thrust on using innovative routes.

sanjayv's picture

Nice report

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Nice report, SB - thanks! I agree with your key contention. The bus services are all great. The biggest problem is in the pedestrian role and the "last mile" connectivity. My commute, if by bus will typically require a patient wait for the right bus or a change over from ring road to airport -varthur road at Marathalli bridge. It is this part where I have the most pain. To make it monetarily and psychologically painful, my cell phone got pick pocketed at that bus stop once. End of fun! There has been a large increase in Volvos from ITPL to Ring Road - I plan to do some testing beginning next Monday.
ash.mahesh's picture

Sanjay nagar to Bagamane Park

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I can't think of the exact pathway just now, but the way I imagine the grid, these 'part-circle' routes should not use Big10. Instead, I am hoping that 3 ring services (concentric) can be operated, and one of those will help you do most the journey quite well, putting you at C V Raman Nagar entrance on Suranjan Das Road.

A


silkboard's picture

Radial + rings model

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Refer back to the CCTF report, and perhaps an old model (it had multiple hubs at CBD edges I think) proposed by Mr Parameswaran. The old CCTF Report (available on this site) has some pictures to capture the present situation.

Present challenge – providing connectivity
 
Diagrammatic representation of present system

 

With Big10 in the picture, the combination of several convergent radial routes, and 2-3 concentric rings, and each point where the Big10 cuts the ring as a TTMC of sorts, and then each of this TTMC hosting local routes - this may be where Prof Ashwin may be headed.

There is not much point in evolving a "best" routing system. There will be several "good enoughs". Implementing one "good enough "system with attention to details (which include last mile at both pick and and drop off ends, and relative speeding up or visible priority for buses, good interchange points where people can walk and change bus-to-bus or bus-to-shuttle) will do.

And, it looks to me that the convergent radial lines with 3 concentric rings could be "good enough". Anywhere to anywhere in one bus change + last mile? And, there will always be multiple commute options (ring first, then radial, or the other way around). This seems possible provided there are enough rings. Only caveat I see is that farther off from the city, the distance between radial routes will be a bit much.

[Prof Ashwin, Murali was planning to organize a Praja meeting with you, hope you will oblige us with a weekend date]

kbsyed61's picture

Not to piggy back on existing system!

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SB,

 Thanks for the detailed report on your "DAY OUT with BMTC". Your description tells about your generosity in describing experience in riding a BMTC bus.

 As many first hand experiences that has been posted here on Praja, reveals one basic problem with these new services. The experience also tells the truth that, you can't fix the system by adding more fleet and new routes. The intro of HoHo and BIG-10 service is example in the case. It is piggy backing on the major lacunae in the operation run by BMTC. You need fixes in routes, you need fixes in schedule (Start/End timing, frequency), need to fix the supporting infrastructure bus stops, priority on road etc. Unless major exercise is undertaken to correct this systemic failures, steps like HoHo and BIG-10 would be like band-aid to the injuries which requires major surgery. Even though these are well needed service to the city and its commuters.

 I hope services from people like Ashwin and RKM are being utilized to  perform this much needed surgery and rehabilitation.

 

 

idontspam's picture

Metro coverage comparision

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idontspam's picture

Point of the metro post

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The point behind posting all the metro maps is that to have an effective BMTC feeder service you need to build a metro backbone which has better coverage. In the Bangalore metro map you will notice major swaths of densely populated residential areas lying uncovered. You will notice half hearted attempts in phase 2 and 3 to do the same. You will need other forms of train networks to connect them to the backbone. See how stockholm and singapore have been using LRT to fill the gaps.

In the sanjaynagar example the nearest metro station is in Yeswantpur. Even if you want to travel east you will first have to go west before going east. Else you have to take a bus to MG road to take the metro to errr. mg road.

But,hey we had to change contractors because they couldnt finish building pillars in 2 years so this is gonna be a loooong wait.

Naveen's picture

Mass transits take long

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IDS

These mass-transits (except for Copenhagen, which is new) have eveolved over a long period. The largest networks (viz. London, Berlin, Paris, New York) have been developed over a period of 100 years or more, hence their perfection. In comparison, Indian cities, except for Kolkata are only just getting started. Delhi is the only example where quick construction & implementation has been possible.

I believe that with some experience over a few years, things might speed up & costs may also come down with local expertise in coach making, etc. BEML has already made a start & Bombardier has also established a factory at Vadadora.

s_yajaman's picture

Singapore map - mix of current + future

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IDS,

You Singapore mRT map is a mix of currently operational (Purple, Red and Green), under construction - (Orange) and future - all other colours.

The Orange line is scheduled to open Jan 2010.  Not sure if is still on track. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

s_yajaman's picture

Shared autos from HAL to Bagmane?

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SB, Prof Mahesh,

Our auto friends can be roped in for last mile.  Many of them are not the thugs and dacoits that we take them for.   Have a shared auto service from HAL MainGate to BTP (charge Rs.20/head).  Might be worthwhile exploring for some of the Big10 hinterland areas.

Our friend veera_cb might be able to help in this matter.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

s_yajaman's picture

SB - do BMTC buses run on Suranjan Das Road?

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SB,

Why did you wait for a bus?  To the best of my knowledge NO BMTC routes cover that except BIAS 4.   Were you aware of that?  or am I wrong?  I  lived for 23 years on/off Suranjan Das Road and there used to be one PHS service that used to run from BEML area to HAL Main Gate.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

SB_YPR's picture

Of buses and Suranjan Das Road

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@ SB,

Thanks for the report. You have highlighted very well the agonising problems faced by last-minute connectivity at the OMR/Varthur Road ends of Suranjan Das Road. At present, Bagmane has several shuttles - as someone working there, could you clarify whether their coverage is comprehensive? Also, the recently-introduced Vajra 201-R seems to be gaining popularity among Bagmane-ites.

Suranjan Das Road presents an altogether curious phenomenon - there ae regular bus services in the middle section, but very few at either end. This is something that seriously needs to be looked into - in the absence of regular buses, autodrivers and private cabs make a killing here. Travel via OMR and you will have the same experience at NGEF.


@Srivathsa,

There is at least one regular bus service - 400A from HAL main gate to KR Pura. But the frequency is abysmal, as there is only one vehicle that operates the route.


Regards,
~~~~
Manish, Nagarbhavi.

~~~~

Manish.

savitha's picture

Tried bicycling?

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Dude, you can avoid all this by bicycling to office.  No more fight with these rikshawalas, no more waiting for the crowded bus.  And always ahead in the slow moving traffic, avoiding pollution and there comes healthier life as well!!
silkboard's picture

Bus + bicycle - Big10 isn't bike friendly

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Thanks folks for the nice words.

I did see some routes (314B?, 400A coming from KR Puram side on OMR, 201R too I think, or not sure if it turns towards Tippasandra, and one more 333 something).

Savitha - your suggestion is nice, but if you add "space for carrying bicycles in buses" to the mix, that would make it more practical. Compared to a full 13 km ride on the bike, I am quite game for this:

  • Home to bus stand in a bike (1 km)
  • Park the bike in a Big10, off to HAL bus stand (8 km)
  • Get off at HAL, and bike on to Bagmane office (4 km?)

I am tempted to try, but how to carry a bike in a BMTC bus? Wish the Big10 buses had bike stands in the front.

idontspam's picture

Bike & Stop buttons

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I am tempted to try, but how to carry a bike in a BMTC bus?

Somebody pointed out there isnt even a stop request button on the buses which is standard everywhere.

s_yajaman's picture

Healthy but short life!

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Worried about old age, suffering, illness?  Don't follow the Buddha's method.  Just ride a bicycle in Bangalore and all those problems will be eliminated along with you. 

SB - the next time you are in the US or Singapore you should try and pick up a foldable bike.  http://www.dahon.com/ or this http://jz88.com/

All they need are a couple of racks like the VV buses and this could be a perfectly viable option.  But if pigs had wings they would fly too.

Srivathsa

BTW 314 B turns right at JB Nagar, 201R likely the same, 333E turns left at JB Nagar. 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

savitha's picture

We can quite work that out with govt

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I do commute 30kms a day by bicyle.  Its 15 km for me each way.  Happen to be + or - 10 mins than i used to be with my scooty.  I don't say I am doing it daily, but 3 days a week definitely.  I don't feel tired, instead i feel fresh.   You just need to start early 8 am or before.  Give it a try, parking ur bike in big 10 or by buying foldable bikes.  And pls share your experience.  Might be helpful for many of us :)

I doubt, if we can expect much out of BMTC as its always full, no space to stand!

PS:  You get foldable bikes in India too!! Strida
asj's picture

An eye opener

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Savitha,
Thanks for sharing your experience with cycling. There many journey's in London where cycle beats the tube trains (and I am referring to 8-10 mile long distances). TFL stats suggest that 209 tube journeys are quicker by foot (once you factor in time taken to walk to and fro from stations, going up and down stairs and escalators, waiting for trains, time taken at inter-changes......)!!

Buses are as good as tube trains, though slower, they keep walking time to minimum by way of door to door service (a good bus based PT is exactly that) in contrast to tube train stations which are much further away, hence overall travel time is not hugely different (but ticket costs are, buses are much cheaper). But buses that stick to major routes and leave you helpless and dependent on so called last mile connectivity are examples of irrational planning and complete lack of understanding of commuter dynamics.

We need a BEST like service in our cities, combine it with a Velib like bicycle hire scheme and we will have a winner (London too will have 6k bicycles on hire basis in 2 years time).

ASJ

Naveen's picture

Foldable Bicycles

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SB - Foldables are available in India too.

I have been investigating this (as I am planning to buy one too) & came across Strida - a bit expensive, but really light & easy to handle - just the sort of thing to pack & cart on to a train or bus - I saw quite a few people doing this in copenhagen on the new metro there.

If you need further details, I can post after I return from chennai (20th).

silkboard's picture

Front mounted bike stands?

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Lets check with BMTC on possibilities for front mounted bike stands. These stands take 3-4 bikes, the bikes will just jut out (or hang out) in front of the bus. It will be worth for BMTC to make a start, those who want to save the money or hassle of last mile auto ride would be interested.

Let us bring this up in meeting with Prof Mahesh. Srinidhi told me that these stands cost around 20K each. There will be some  minor extra cost in mounting these in front of the buses.

Can have this in 50% of big10 (the new Ashok Leyland buses), and the Volvo buses. can also ask Ashok Leyland and Volvo to have this included as part of standard fixtures (assuming they are building the body as well, and not BMTC themselves)

SB_YPR's picture

You really wanna risk that?

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Somehow, the concept of front-mounted bike stands makes me a little uneasy. What if the bus collides with something in front (have experienced this a couple of times)? Even worse, if the bike or the entire stand falls off on a bumpy stretch or while taking a turn? IMHO, foldable bikes are safer.

BTW, could you post pics or links to pics of these stands so that there is a little more clarity about what exactly they are?


Regards,
~~~~
Manish, Nagarbhavi.

~~~~

Manish.

blrsri's picture

Bike stands

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These racks are pretty safe and fool proof..its indeed a good idea to have them on these busses!

However considering the sheer number of bus users we have..I dont think its the right solution for the empty big10 busses..

I guess we need to make big10 the only option to reach whereever..in SB's case if he wanted to go from HAL airport to CV raman nagar..there needs to be shuttles only btwn those two two points and commuters from CV raman nagar/Basava nagar/kaggadasapura who want to get into the city need to change at HAL aiport always..

 

 

 

Naveen's picture

Bike stands on Buses

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Hi,

I am not sure this will work in our city (& country), though it can be tested on a few buses to see how it works.

The best solution is to provide a space within the bus to stow foldables. Though foldables are now expensive, prices might come down if the market for such bicycles increases & Indian bicycle makers take it up & improve designs & make them lightweight.

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