Skip to Content

Private transport - time for disincentives

The acceptance of a bus service depends on these:
1. Frequency
2. Reliability (Punctuality) of arrival at bus stops
3. Density of bus stops - how close they are to your starting and destination points.

Reliability cannot be ensured if there is traffic congestion. The biggest cause of buses being impunctual is traffic jams. This applies as much to public transport as to private transport. This is why we add a factor of safety of half an hour when we go across the city in our cars or bikes.

To improve the reliability of buses road space must be created for them. Buses must replace private transport, and space for buses must be created on roads by reducing private transport. Encouraging public transport MUST go hand in hand with Discouraging private transport.

Disincentives like these are used to discourage private transport in a lot of cities worldwide:
- Odd and Even registration numbers allowed on the streets on alternate days.
- Cap on number of vehicles registered each day.
- High parking fees
- High road taxes
- Congestion charge on vehicles entering the CBD
- High road taxes
- Ban on parking on most (or all) roads
- Ban on single passenger vehicles on main roads

How many of these measures have we seen in Bangalore ? NONE.
How do we magically expect that buses will be punctual if we do not enable them to be punctual by giving them more space ?

The city needs to start thinking of these.

Naveen's picture

Congestion - Mother of All Ills

Das - Absolutely right.

Most of us complain too much about BMTC & dub it's bus services as unreliable, improper, loss-making, etc. without thinking much beyond this.

The heavy street congestion is the mother of all ills plaguing the city & BMTC's performance & pollution & inefficiency, etc. etc.

If street space is made available, BMTC will perform punctually & be seen as efficient automatically.

On the one hand, people say that frequencies are insufficient whilst on the other, there is deep concern about it's bottomline. We have to remember that both these go hand-in-hand.

ramesh_mbabu's picture

Reliability can not be acheived with current BMTC

1) When the buses are away at depots at a time people want it most, early mornings and evening peak hours.

2) When the schedulres are determined by the convenience of employees of BMTC rather than the convenience of commuters, to observe this go to any BMTC depot in the morning or evenings. One can see many buses leaving the depot after 8AM and entering them back immediately after 6.30 in the evening. If they all want such a convenient jobs, why did they choose to join BMTC? Cann't they look for alternate employment?

3) Any one intended to do a profitable business would have put to use the costly Volvos/Any other buses to maximum use, what do you see now? Many vovos rest in depots after 6PM, most of them have first trip after 8AM and last trip around 5-6.30. This is when BMTC pays the AMC to Volvo makers.

The ones who are supposed to treat these illness decides(d) to sleep, general public did not have a choice, they invested their hard earned money to buy vehicles/maintain it out of necessity not because many are show off types. Do you think a family will be happy to spend any where from 10-15K for buying/maintaining a car ( Cost per month for a hatch back for buying and maintaining it for 5 years, assuming a loan of 5 years) and two wheelers with comparable costs. Instead if the bus service was reliable, forget about all other inconveniences like walking from farer bus stops (people in car are also forced to walk insearch of parking/from farer parking places) they would have invested the amount in other arenas.

Forget the shoutings from their roof top, even today if I get down at cantonment after 7PM or at City station at 9PM I would be forced to sleep on the platform/road if I have not arranged alternate transport option.

Consider for the arguements sake that one fine day 10 percent of Car/two wheeler/ Auto drivers decide to use the bus service, can it manage the additional load? Forget about the additional load, be in old madras road on any working day between 8AM -10.30, one will see each buses packed with 100s of passengers, each bus stops brimming with 100s of others waiting patiently (PUN intended) to get in.

Still instead of stream lining their operation they keep on complaining about the constraints they have, all these constraints are an opportunity to improver thier service.

Such a long reply, frustrated....


Srivatsava's picture

Not too many 'enforcable' disincentives...

Mr Das,

     I agree that disincentives do work. But, before we can impose severe disincentives for private transport, we need to provide workable/uasable alternatives.

I would like to provide a point-by-point response to the items you mentioned

 Odd and Even registration numbers allowed on the streets on alternate days.

May be too drastic. Imagine half of the private vehicle users move to public transport, can our overloaded transport systems take the load. And is it practicall feasible? Do you believe that no one challenges these in court and will it then be legal?

What can instead be done is to remove 20% of the vehicles (i.e. take off vehicles with nos ending with 1 and 2 on Monday, 3&4 on tuesday and so on). This can reduce the stress on the five weekdays. Implement this only on the first week of every month. If this provides good results, then there will be a lot more acceptance to implement such a rule throughout the month.

 Cap on number of vehicles registered each day.
 High parking fees - High road taxes

These are fine. Create a waiting list for new registrations. High parking fees will affect everyone equally, but high road taxes may only decrease new registrations. Impose a 'additional yearly road tax' for all existing vehicles.

 Congestion charge on vehicles entering the CBD
Not sure how. Singapore has a system called ERP (wiki). The administration will need to provide time to all users to install such a system on their vehicles. I cant think of any other way to charge a congestion fee.

 Ban on parking on most (or all) roads

Not yet. Before we impose such a ban any road, we should first provide enough parking complexes in the vicinity. as and when we have parking complexes ready, enforce such a ban in the vicinity.

In any such case, we should be sensitive to businesses. For example, JC road has many shops selling car accessories and hence there are a lot of cars on the road. Instead of a blatant ban on parking on JC road, move all the cars to one floor of the JC road parking complex and make the shopkeepers come there to fit/assemble these accessories. In a way, you are moving the 'shops' to the parking complex, while the existing shops can only be 'godowns' and 'showrooms' of these shops!!

 Ban on single passenger vehicles on main roads

         Just think again if this move is fair to everyone, especially the two-wheelers. We can nevertheless impose this for cars, but then think of the chauffeur-drive-vehicles with a single traveller? Would you count them as two passengers, contradicting the spirit of the rule??

My father, who travels by a car, drops my sister and her friend at their office near Infantry road and proceeds to his office on MG road. Should he be reprimanded for entering MG road alone, despite travelling along with two others for 10km?


-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

Naveen's picture

BMTC - Best To Complain Then


Schedules are determined by the convenience of employees of BMTC rather than the convenience of commuters

I'm not a regular bus user, but I see scores of buses operating through the day when loads are heavy, particularly during peak hours, but they get leaner after about 7PM, no doubt since load reduces & with it frequency also. I also see that buses are much less crowded after about 7PM. I am not aware if they are also removing the normal services that should continue to run to provide services after 7PM (with reduced frequency).

If indeed what you say is true & effects most commuters, I think you should complain to BMTC & seek their explanation, quoting route nos. with appx no. of users & scheduling details, etc..

Vasanth's picture

More normal buses

Well, we have debated a lot on Volvos, their running economics to offload the traffic. This category of people may or may not use the buses since they have alternatives. For them, BMTC has to invest 6-7 times of normal buses and incur losses. It just maintains the image of BMTC as an organization. These category of people keep on complaining whatever they get as we have seen and continue to use private transport saying 'n' complaints. This investment is also risky for BMTC and more 'headache' prone.

On the other hand, there are lakhs of people using normal BMTC without any other option who continue using that even with problems without knowing whom to complain, where to complain etc with few pathetic buses too. These people are the 'profit makers' to the BMTC.

They need to be provided with more buses and the base model of Parisaravahini needs some more innovation to give more comfort and more pulling power.

skumaras's picture

Congestion not always an excuse for BMTC

Congestion on the roads is not an excuse for BMTC buses not to pick up passengers at the bus stops. I own my car, but I try to use BMTC Volvos or the Big-10 wherever they are available (I do not know enough Kannada to be able to read the boards on other buses). One of my biggest worries when I wait for a bus is that the bus may not finally stop at the bus stop after the long wait I already had at the bus stop and I may have to wait for the next bus or take an auto rickshaw.

While seated in the bus I often observe whether the drivers stop at bus stops. Usually they are very obliging to the people who want to get off the bus and are often ready to make unscheduled stops. However they don’t seem to have much concern for the hapless passengers who are waiting to catch the bus. They may stop at the bus stop if is convenient to them and they happen to be on the left lane when the bus nears the bus stop. Or they may stop a couple of hundred feet away from the stop (just to let some passengers disembark.) and make the people run behind the bus. If the bus stop is occupied by other buses or other vehicles they may decide to skip that bus stop. 

BMTC can get more people to use the buses if they show the minimum courtesy of picking up passengers waiting at bus stops.

ramesh_mbabu's picture

Re: BMTC - Best To Complain

I also see that buses are much less crowded after about 7PM

Please watch Old Madras Road beyond Indira Nagar after 7PM, also watch the Indira Nagar bus depot early in the morning and around 7PM to see if the buses are run for passenger or for the convenience employees.


Naveen's picture

Have you tried Complaining ?


I had only generalized about BMTC & leaner services before & after peak hours. As I had mentioned previously, if indeed you feel the need for more services strongly & a requirement for additional buses in a specific area that sees many commuters with too few, overcrowded buses, the best to do is to bring this to the notice of BMTC itself. The email for complaints is quoted below :

das's picture

I'm talking about a bus service in general

My suggestion has to do with public transport (which means buses now) in general, not with BMTC. Bangalore's bus service down the line may be run by BMTC, or by private firms - I'm personally not in favour of any monopoly, government or private. Whoever provides the service, the fact remains that public transport must get incentives, and private transport must be discouraged in various ways. Neither is happening today.

Also, on the subject of BMTC, there is much that is wrong with it, but there's also much that is right. A couple of decades ago Bangalore's bus service was truly abysmal, but now it probably counts as one of the best in the country. This not because of the government's policy, but in spite of it.

Vasanth's picture

Let us all switchover to small cars

Being responsible prajas, ideally we should be using public transport. But, we tend to complain so many things about BMTC and use private transport - Tendency is like that.

Atleast we should not use big cars and SUVs resulting in blocking of traffic as well as getting ourselves blocked. By switching over to smaller 'A' segment cars, we are leaving a smaller foot print as well as decreasing the chances of ourselves blocked since our car cannot clear the small space available. Also, parking will be easy and have a smaller foot print. Moreover, portico or gaurage freespace increases.

Also mileage of the small cars are higher (30-50%) more. We are burning less fuel and going greener which also is good on pocket. Maintenance cost and insurance cost is also less.

Why do we still want to drive a big car just for the 'status quo' despite of so many disadvantages?

Using a 2 wheeler is even better at least wherever possible like nearby house shopping, but many of us think it is against our status and discomfort. Bangalore weather is good and we do not need the airconditioned car. Although I have a small car, i prefer using 2 wheeler for shorter distances and buses for longer distances. Ideally for smaller distances we should use cycle like our Mr.Das, everyone needs to get there, but 2 wheeler is OK than a car (preferrably electric 2 wheeler is good on pocket and environment).

Big cars are good for freeways like US which we do not have here.  Our highways are not safer and hence I don't  recommend / prefer to travel by car on highways. Buses are safer.

Naveen's picture

ramesh_mbabu ?

I went past OMR (came from Suranjandas rd & went towards Indiranagar) at about 0715 hrs this morning.

I saw a number of buses on OMR & none of them were jam packed as you say. Only one bus had standees, all the rest had only seated passengers.

I will try to see on an evening too, after 7.30 or 8.00 PM & revert my observations later. comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!

about seo | forum