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Rationalising and Reforming Bus routes - case study

This is presented in two parts -

First a 10 page summary of a recent e-mail brainstorming over how bus routes in Pune can be rationalised. My arguments are presented as AJ in the document -

I decided to take this a step further and actually schematically mapped 30 of 209 routes of the Pune Municipal Transport (PMT) and then re-mapped them based on the principles I suggest to demonstrate the how route planning can be pivotal in overall success of a bus service (as in Mumbai). This document is avaiable here -



murali772's picture

a dream


I had been meaning to go through your study from long - just managed to get a peek today. If I were the Mayor of Pune, I would straightaway have appointed you as a consultant (at whatever fee required to dislocate you from your present assignment in London), and made a model of the city's bus services for the rest of the country to follow. But, in reality, Doctor, has any of the city's politicos even taken a look at your study? At least, I got as far as being nominated as the co-Chairman of our BMTC's CCTF, though, of course, the study report is gathering dust mostly.

Now, imagine if TATA's or TVS were entrusted with the job. They will do exactly what I have suggested the Mayor of Pune should be doing. Not just that, they will get you to give up your psychiatry, and make you the global head of their city bus transport services conglomerate, which will eventually go on to win the Nobel price for 'green' efforts - somethiing that will surpass the achievement of Dr Pachauri even. That will be the dream.

Going back to the study, you have mentioned somewhere that "significantly, transfer between buses and inter-changes are disliked, and people prefer direct services". But, as I have stated earlier, this is what has led to the proliferation of routes in Bangalore (ex. 201 A-Z), and which argument the operations heads are using to refuse to look at any rationalisation, and instead just retain the status quo. If proper frequency has to be provided, I am not sure that 'preference' can be met fully.

I admit I have not gone into it in depth. If PRAJA is able to convince the Karnataka transport minister to give the entire matter a re-look, may be we will make you an offer you'll find difficult not to accept.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
betashe's picture

Re Rationalising and Rreforming Bus Routes

I must say that your title caught my attention as I was browsing your website and since this was close to a problem I have been meaning to bring up in Praja's forums, I choose to write abt it here.

I live close to Sangam Circle, which leads to Kanakapura Road and Banashankari Bus Stand. While the last is an ambitious, grandiose term and a parody of the truth, the double road between Sangam Circle and the main Kanakapura Road, will provide you a ready site where your reforms and rationalisation procedure may be introduced immediately.

On both sides of the road you can see at any time of the day, large, colurfully painted private buses parked openly and brazenly for most of the day. This while the traffic cops lurking on the corner of the Sarakki Main Road to catch 2 wheelers, turn a blind eye.

When I enquired about this from people of the area, they said these buses ran a parallel service, to the regular BTS.

Are law-makers and law-keepers blind and deaf in our city?



kbsyed61's picture

Rationalization of bus routes is the need !

Murali Sir,

 I couldn't agree more with you on this. Direct route philosphy has ruled the BMTC for long. It is time, this is re-looked and try out other solutions for efficient use of BMTC vehicles. If you remember, the last change that was brought in BMTC was in 1970s. In its earlier avatar BTS had carried out the changing of route numbers and then followed by giving different colors to bus starting from SBS, KBS and KRM. The excersize was limited to changing the route numbers, like Route 2 became 30, 17 became 94 etc.

 To start with they can pick a small route and rationalize its service on it. I am sure they would be amazed with the efficiency and ridership. 


Vasanth's picture

Eastern Part Connecting the Western Part

Well, there are many people who movement is random. It is very difficult to provide direct connectivity to all. It is the direction in which mass movement of people who can be given direct connectivity. There is lot of movement of people from Western Part of the city to the eastern part, in other words from every locality on the western part they commute to eastern part like Kadugodi, Koramangala, Bannerghatta Road, EC, Sarjapur Road because of the Techies office. Although most of the companies have the office buses, they are very poor in frequency.

Other problem of giving permissions to offices in different parts of the city is this. It will make the design of public transport difficult. It may distribute the traffic and designers think in that direction.

This is where BMTC has to pitch in. Just like Vidhana Soudha services, they need to start special services from different localities covering most of the areas to these centres preferrably starting TTMC in these business centres on the western part ASAP. Company buses can pickup from there. 

Weekends, people travel mostly to mall areas / MG Road / Temples etc.  These buses can be routed to Malls / hang out localities retaining few services to the western part for those who work on weekends.

It should be just like the BIAL's BMTC service with  different weekend and weekday schedules. These needs to be necessarily A/C buses are reflected by our polls (which was indirectly asking what buses you need to leave your car)

Direct connectivity from anywhere to anywhere is difficult to implement. 

asj's picture

Some thoughts

Thank you for the kind comments. I have sent the attachments to Pune Commissioner, what they do with it is up to them.

I think my sense is that there is confusion in the way different people understand the term 'direct routes'.

Murali Sir is referring to (please correct me if I am wrong) the fallacy of having short, random, direct, poin-to-point services. This is very much a problem in Pune too. Imagine a random array of short spokes - it affects overall coverage, it affects frequencies and it makes people transfer from one route to another more than once.

Vasanthji is probably referring to direct connectivity to all. I agree, this is not only impossible, this should not be the goal in the first place. If one looks at bus passenger surveys and ask one self or those who use public transport regualrly, they don't want a door to door service. As long as one can hope to get a bus within 5-7 minute walk from where one lives / works - that is fine. As long as people are not made to wait more than 5-7 minutes (maximum 10minutes) its fine. As long as people are not forced to transfer from one route to another more than once - thats fine. Also ideally people should not have to transfer from one route to another after travelling very short distances. This is true even on London tubes - one transfer between lines is tolerable, the moment you make someone jump in hoops, they will rather use their own car.

The model I have proposed (its not my model - its what I have observed being used successfully in Mumbai and also as per the links provided being used in Sigapore/Dublin) gets rid of short, random, spokes and arranges them in to a hub-n-spoke model, where the spokes are longer (covering wider areas).

Further, it moves away from the idea of buses starting and ending at hubs. It proposes that bus traverse the hubs. Just this week, TOI (Pune) reported that Pune Municipal Transport is expecting each bus depot manager to break even!! What does this suggest ? I will not be surprised if each bus depot is planning its own short routes (informed by the committee of corporators who on paper want buses to connect from nearest depot to their area) and expected to make profits from them. If anything, evidence is that in Pune its the longer routes that make a profit.

But one can imagine that when bus routes are organised as short random spokes around bus depots or between depots it is not in keeping with the idea of having an overall vision/plan for connecting the whole city. No wonder no one bothers with the buses in Pune.


silkboard's picture

Any progress?

ASJ, wanted to bump this thread fo some attention since folks are hard to work on BMTC here at Bangalore. Also, wanted to ask - did you hear back on these suggestions? Any route optimizations or local shuttles in the works at Pune? Do keep us in the know via a separate post if possible.

I used to be in Pune every other week till late last year. After that work-driven travel has come to a stop, I have lost touch with the happenings at Pune.

asj's picture

Work is in progress


I am told that these documents have been forwarded to PMPML (PMT as it used to be called). The documents have been shared with consultants CIRT and ILFS. I have been told work is on in this regard. Its been passed on to me that there is acknowledgement now that the current situation of overwhelming number of buses (700 + buses out of fleet of 1000) running on major roads (all 11 prospective BRT routes) is starving rest of Pune.

I have recently again emphasised that major arterial roads are far and few in between and not close to majority of the population and walking and interchanges are not popular. Buses in London (and Mumbai) go through roads just 6m wide and penetrate deep in to heart of residential and work places - a balance is needed based on demographics.

I am not very optimistic, but hope situation gets better (slow progress on all fronts, even BRT routes planning is difficult due to presence of flyovers).

Will keep you posted as I hear more.

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