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Commuter buses targetted towards vehicle owners

I'm a new member of Praja and there are some very good suggestions that I've come across on these forums.
I would like to present this suggestion and know what the knowledgeable people here think.

As others have pointed out, it seems that the only solution to Bangalore's traffic woes is reducing traffic and more usage of public transport. Road widening and magic boxes are not permanent solutions.

This idea is aimed at reducing the private vehicles on the road by introducing targeted commuter buses whose routes are designed specifically for the people who travel using their own vehicles, i.e. the middle class and higher. Adding new routes that move people who already use the bus from one route to another also does not reduce the number of vehicles.

For a person owning a vehicle the bus route has to be almost as convenient as driving himself if he's to be persuaded to use the bus. Speaking as a car owner, although I am very much for public transport, I am not willing to wait more than 15 min or change more than once to reach my destination. I am not willing to board crowded buses and get my pocket picked. I am however willing to pay a premium for comfortable Volvo service. There are several others like me all over Bangalore judging by the sheer number of cars on the roads.

So far the bus routes are decided by the BMTC I assume using some voodoo magic with the condition that they go through Majestic and then the commuter is asked to fit in his commute to the route. :) E.g. In my case there is no direct bus that takes me from 4th Block to Mayo Hall. I did try to use the Volvo + HOHO service but again it wasn't convenient. It involved a 15 min walk from Lalbag West Gate to the Main Gate followed by a 20 min wait for the HOHO bus. To skip the walk I could take the Kanakapura Big 10 to Corporation and take the HOHO from there, but that would add 30 mins to my commute. On the return trip I waited 1hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and no Blue Line bus showed up. This is not a practical solution for me and people like me.

So why not do an internet survey where vehicle owners can mention their desired start-end points between which if Volvo service existed, they would use it. The survey should also ask the usual time of when commuter starts for work and returns home. The reason for the internet only survey is the target segment of vehicle owners. I think it's likely that most vehicle owners in Bangalore are familiar with the internet. Plus throwing together a website with a poll should be relatively cheap.  Advertise that this is being done and encourage people to respond. Ask radio show hosts to mention this in on the air during rush hour when most vehicle owners are listening to the radio. Encourage people to forward the info to their friends and peers and vote on the website. If the response is good, take the highest voted bus stops and devise a best-effort route or two that goes through most of these stops or near these stops. This would avoid all the guesswork about what the route should be and it's timings.

The buses only need to ply on these during commuting times. I.e. 6:30-10am and 5:30-9:30pm. The exact timings can be tweaked based on the responses to the survey. The buses must be high frequency during the time. At most 15 mins. During the day they could be used to service a different route that needs the extra capacity.

Initially they could start with mini buses and then as demand picks up add bigger buses.

In some ways this is a Govt Managed carpool. Repeat this exercise every few months to see if routes need to be added/modified.

I'm certain this would reduce the number of cars on the roads.

pathykv's picture


This is a good idea.

It is to be noted that no one , whether vehicle owner or not wants to wait at bus stops or change the bus more than once, if it is avoidable.

Surely more comfortable and more frequent buses will satisfy the vehicle owners to wean them  away from driving. But such experimentatation should not be done at the cost of regular bus commuters by cross subsidizing.


Rithesh's picture

A survey has been planned


Thanks for posting your experience about using BMTC buses. We are indeed working on a survey on the lines that you have suggested. Some minor fine tuning happening. Should be online very soon.


nithinsujir's picture


Yes, I agree that noone wants to wait. The point I was trying to make is vehicle owners will not tolerate this inconvenience and choose to take their vehicles. But the rest are forced to take the bus and suffer through it. Only if the service is convenient for vehicle owners will vehicle traffic reduce.

susanth's picture

Switching vehicle owners to BMTC

I do agree that Volvos are great for commute within Bangalore. But it will take some good initiative from BMTC to get more car owners to switch over. In my opinion, a couple of basic issues are to be sorted out before we can expect BMTC to be popular among the car commuters.

1. Availability of volvo services on key commute routes
2. Predictability of the schedules
3. Awareness

I don't think services other than Volvos will cut ice with the vehicle owners since services like Big10, Suvarna, and the blue buses are too crowded for anyone's comfort.

I have been a Volvo commuter for close to a year now. What Volvo transport meant to me was comfort, less heartburn, and of course lesser expenses. In fact, I could get rid of my second car ever since I started using BMTC. I use BMTC's BIA Services between Hebbal and Richmond Circle everyday. This is predictable, fast, and comfortable. And I am happy that I do my bit in keeping one less car on the already congested Bangalore roads.

Srivatsava's picture

online survey?? Take it with a pinch of salt

I am extremely surpised that BMTC is soon conductiing a survey to understand the travel patterns. I am even more surprised that it will be available online. But, coming from Ritesh, it could just be the case.

         I am not a fan of online surveys, especially for something as widespread as BMTC commuters. I understand that the survey could be used only for introducing Volvo routes, but what percentage of the Volvo users (non-IT routes like 45G and 10) can even use a computer, leave alone answer a survey online? Such a survey will skew the 'requirement' to be monly on IT routes. on atleast 4 different occasions, I have seen that the 45G Volvo were full, despite 3 buses reaching Katriguppe in less than 20mins during the peak 7'o clock hour. such a survey will take away the 'need' for these routes!!

      BMTC have themselves said that they will initiate a survey to re-work all its routes and time the new system around the introduction of Metro lines.

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

Srivatsava's picture

Ticketing machines for survey

      The BMTC has introduced two new initiatives which can be integrated to make the most comprehensive survey across all areas, income groups etc..

      There are lakhs of daily-passes issued everyday amongst all the routes. Till now, there have been no recording of the commuters travelling patterns. The BMTC's electronic ticketing machines should be fitted with a barcode scanner and a barcode introduced on the daily passes. So, everytime a commuter utilises the pass in any bus, the conductor can simply scan the barcode and the ticketing machine will be able to record the details of the ticket.

     This will aid the BMTC to understand the travel pattern of more than a lakh people everyday. Now thats too good a sample size for any BMTC survey.

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Conductors trip sheets/way bills-best 'in house' survey stats


There is a saying in Kannada "kaiyyalli benne ittukondu, thuppa hudukidaru". 


The best source of commuters travelling information is available in the daily trip sheets / way bills of conductors.  An analysis of number of tickets sold, fare stage entries, denomination of tickets, revenue collection, trips scheduled and trips abandoned -  these can give them almost near perfect information and statistics for whatever purpose they want to conduct 'online' survey.

Will the survey be done as an 'in house effort' or being 'outsourced'?  If 'in house' then BMTC has come of e.governance age, if it is going to be 'out sourced', then a million questions will have to be asked about transparency, accountability and efficacy of such an out sourcing... rest is left to the imagination of Prajs.

When will the BMTC ever learn? 

- Vasanth Mysoremath

nithinsujir's picture

@vasanth and Srivatsa

I think you may be misunderstanding the point of the survey. I am not sure what the BMTC is planning but my suggestion is not to find out how to best utilize the existing routes/buses. The point is to bring personal vehicle users into the public transport habit by introducing new routes and not to change the routes of existing buses. You won't get the travel patterns of these people using the BMTC tickets obviously. This survey should not be taken as a reason to remove routes.

Yes, I do agree that the result may be skewed in favor of IT companies. But to start with it's ok. No matter who it favors, the result is that vehicles reduce on the roads.

Better utilization of buses will definitely help the commuter, but it will not do anything to reduce the number of vehicles.


Vasanth's picture

TTMC with Multi Storied Parking in most areas needed

Last mile connectivity is the major problem with buses. With BMTC having depots in most of the parts of the city,  a TTMC with park and ride facility will improve the ridership especially 2 wheeler owners who are riding for long distances. Girinagar for example is not connected to EC / ITPL / Bannerghatta Road. But, nearest ring road has got lots of buses bound to these areas. A park and ride facility at Chennamanakere Acchukattu BMTC depot would give these people to park their vehicles and take the bus. Local Sarige can also solve this to some extent.

Second is the connectivity to IT areas from all the major localities of Bangalore. Gandhi Bazaar / Jayanagar for example is not directly connected to EC or ITPL by BMTC. We have seen full occupancy of BMTC Volvos bound to Vijayanagar. Same way these routes will become successful thereby reducing cars. Volvos backed up by Suvarnas/ custom a/c buses that BMTC is building to start with can add frequency to these routes.

Integration point of Big 10 routes with IT districts bound buses is another important factor. For example, Bannerghatta Road Big 10 integration with 500K/600K on outer ring road is not good. One has to walk a large distance to Change the buses. These Big 10 roads could be directly connected to IT districts.


medea's picture

The common people, who are

The common people, who are bracing up for tough times on the roads, feel the withdrawal of the vehicles will make the city’s air purer, but are also worried how they will commute in the coming days. comment guidelines

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