CCTF Report

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A Commuter Comfort Task Force (CCTF) was setup in 199x to suggest improvements to Bangalore's public transportation system. Since BMTC bus was the only mode of public transport, this task force was essentially setup to consult with BMTC. CCTF produced a report outlining some suggestions, most important of which was around routing of BMTC buses.

CCTF Report 6. Key Recommendations

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6. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE (IMPLEMENTABLE BY BMTC)
6.1 Improved Connectivity
The Task Force is unanimous that improved connectivity is a necessity for a comfortable journey for an individual. This not only involves bus connectivity but also multi-modal connectivity and steps must be taken in that direction to streamline the operations of buses, trains and the proposed metro railway. While the BMTC has begun to selectively introduce buses on a direction-oriented basis, this needs to be promoted and encouraged so that the need to travel to the centre of the city is reduced. In some ways, it will involve the creation of a multiple hub and spoke model with hubs on the periphery of the city with feeder services linking the hubs and services operating between these hubs being the ‘grid services’ or the metro bus services.

It must be emphasised that the BMTC should use an external benchmark to gauge its progress on the providing improved connectivity. We recommend that the BMTC set a target of capturing 60% of all journeys by 2006 up from 50% currently. This would require increasing ridership and capacity by approximately 15% every year (compared to 10% currently).

A separate discussion on the grid system is already covered in section 5. However, connectivity with all modes of transport needs to be encouraged with the BMTC providing last mile service to all road users.

6.2 Recommendations for people with special Needs

6.2.1 Senior Citizens

  1. BMTC intends to provide concessional passes of 50% discounted fare between 11am to 5pm (a period of six hours). We recommend that the time restriction be removed, with the discount being extended to daily, weekly and monthly passes in addition to daily tickets.
  2. In buses two seats are to be earmarked for senior citizens, but this is not done yet in some buses. Implementing this in the buses, needs education and training of BMTC staff and commuter’s co-operation.
  3. Most drivers keep the buses moving while the commuters are alighting and boarding the buses. This habit has proved very dangerous for women, children and especially, senior citizens. The drivers should be trained and strictly instructed to stop the buses completely at the stops and move only after the commuters are safely inside the bus.

6.2.2 Children

Students are among the worst hit by overcrowding in public transport as they usually carry with them large school bags which are not manoeuvrable. The large amount of money that parents are willing to pay in order to ensure that their child goes to school even if it is an a cramped auto is an indication of the opportunity that exists to provide an efficient public transport system.
  1. We recommend that the needs of students be identified through consultations with schools and exclusive ‘School Special’ trips during pre and post-school hours, i.e., between 7 to 9 am and 3 to 5 pm. It is also recommended that a campaign to change timings in school be conducted to ‘spread the peak hour’ and increase the carrying capacity of the roads.
  2. It is also suggested these school special trips can run on a regular revenue model of monthly commuter passes. Objective of this scheme is to attract those parents who send their children in Auto-rickshaws, personal vehicles and to ensure highest safety with easing congestion near school zones. Student concessional passes would continued to be allowed in regular buses but these school special buses exclusively run for student on monthly passes.
  3. Options of starting buses inside schools, which have larger compounds need to be explored like starting of buses from Baldwins Boys High School. (or like the GKVK campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences).

6.2.3 Physically Disabled
The current design of buses and bus stops together with the non systematic stoppage of buses on roads make it difficult for this category of people to use buses even if at off-peak hours when the load is lower. In addition to the recommendations above (for both children and elders), it is important to make changes to the design of buses itself that make it easier for such users to use these buses. Lower floors and better-designed bus stops will be essential as well as sound indicator mechanism for those with visual disability to enter and exit the buses.

6.3 Safety

The importance of safety cannot be over-emphasised in the present context as road accidents place considerable costs in terms of serious injury, productivity losses and lives lost. In addition, a safer road environment has been documented to create lower stress levels and reduce road rage, which is increasingly becoming a problem with higher levels of congestion.

While the role of other stakeholders is covered separately, there is a greater role that the BMTC can play in order to improve road safety both for itself and for other road users. The record of the BMTC is certainly not a bad one but there are areas for significant improvement. Appendix A gives a break up of the total number of cases booked under the Motor Vehicles Act for the year 2003 (up to the month of May). If this is projected into a twelve-month scenario, the results do merit some concern. If other recommendations of this Task Force are followed, a majority of the cases can be handled as Foot Board travel accounts from nearly two thirds of the total number of cases booked against the BMTC. Areas of concern include jumping of red signals, reckless driving and cutting the yellow line. This Task Force believes that the only way to further reduce the number of cases booked against is by a sustained campaign to train all BMTC drivers in defensive driving.

Education and constant reinforcement of the message that safety is first is crucial to ensure that there is a continuous improvement in the record of the BMTC. The Task Force also notes that the accident rate of the BMTC at 0.22 per lakh km is one of the lowest in the country. However it is important not to be complacent but continuously improve.


6.4 Differentiation of Bus Travel

The recent modifications that have been made to existing buses have helped to create a new look bus be continued with the BMTC pioneering the move to improve public transport and the comfort of the travelling public. In order to increase the percentage of the commuting public using the BMTC buses, it is necessary that differentiation of buses be created much like how the Pushpak buses originally helped to create a niche market (which has since been eroded for various reasons).

However, the differentiation should not be so complex or based on a route-based system with little or no real choice on a given rule. The differentiated buses should act like competition with the existing services in order to enhance the comfort of the travelling public. Two classes of travel are suggested. The first would be the introduction of Express buses (and designated as such). The second would be the gradual and widespread introduction of air-conditioned buses on certain key routes with revenue generating potential. For people to make the switch to start using buses in preference to their own private modes of transport, it is necessary to create a significantly better travelling experience to entice those users of their private vehicles to start using the bus service. Air conditioned buses and Express buses might be a step in that direction. Ideally, these buses should be differentiated from the other buses through a different chassis/ lower floors or other visible difference which can be their unique selling point. Smaller buses can also be introduced in order to emphasise the difference.


6.5 Other Recommendations

6.5.1 Bus Design
Members inside PE2100 bus to inspect passenger friendly design

  1. Vehicle chassis being used in Buses are derived out of Truck chassis, which are not comfortable for city transport. Hence task force recommends that BMTC should convert all the chassis into low or semi-low chassis, with Euro II engines.
  2. At the bus stations/stops, the entry door should be in level with the Bus floor. Commuter should be able to walk into the bus. This is very helpful in Indian conditions, wherein women wearing saris is common. This measure is immense beneficial to physically challenged persons, kids and senior citizens.
  3. Bus Floor should be even without any undulations
  4. Driver’s seat should be barricaded as to not allow any commuter to stand behind / near him.
  5. Ceiling horizontal grip rod should not be very high as well as the hand belts should be made immovable
  6. Standing and sitting space should never over loaded. Task force believes that implementation of Grid scheme, which ensures high frequency of buses will limit over loading.
  7. Stipulated standard leg space and elbow space should be maintained between seats.
  8. Information / Communication
  1. Inside space wherever possible in the buses should be utilised to communicate messages to commuter, specially seeking co-operation from them, to avail tickets, to give appropriate exchange and some socially relevant messages. Un-used space could be utilised for commercial advertisement.
  2. It is recommended to display ‘intimate us in case of rash driving’ signage, behind the Bus. This would help minimising rash driving by drivers, for the fear of being complained to authorities. Now-a-days this has been standard practice in reputed institutional buses, to enhance road and commuters safety.
  3. Electronic display of Route maps inside the buses with indication of present stop coupled with audio really help commuter
  1. Destination boards
  1. Should be distinct, broad and legible even from a distance.
  2. Display destination boards at all sides of the Bus, front, rear, right side and left side (entry) as well.
  3. LCD destination boards, which are clearly visible even during day, should be tried. This would help to add cosmetic value, to attract commuters and for easy handling from staff.
  1. Bus Doors
  1. To facilitate better crowd control inside the bus it’s recommended to follow ‘rear entry and front exit’ scheme, which is in practice in all cities in country. This scheme would automatically be implemented with other reforms like reserving left side seating for women and senior citizens and right seating for men, implementing Q-system and vending tickets in bus stops/stations.
  2. Pneumatic shutters/doors are good safety measures. This should be implemented in all buses and ensure that buses should not move unless the shutters are closed. Technological improvement should be made to facilitate ‘stop n open– close n move’ system and reduce failures.

6.5.2 At Bus stops/stations/main stations

  1. The time is ripened enough to look at Decentralised Bus Terminal concept.
  1. In bus stations such as BTM Layout, Domlur, Banashankari, etc., ‘Park and Ride’ scheme should be built and implemented to discourage personal transport for longer distances.
  2. These terminals help commuters to Park their personal vehicles, take grid or trunk routes and come back and drive back home.
  3. These terminals should house commercial shops, which not only help commuter to shop and ride back home, but also ensures financial viability of building.
  1. It is recommended to implement ground booking of tickets either through manual or through ticket vending machines. This will help burden on conductor and help to improve revenue.
  2. Automatic Ticket vending machines should be tried out first in AC buses. Based on the response, this can be extended to regular or Janapriyavahini Buses.
  3. Monitoring and ticket checks need to be conducted in the initial period of implementation, but later once commuters get used to system, it would be beneficial to both Corporation and commuters.
  4. Ban parking of any vehicles around 100 feet of bus stop either way, with the help of Police. Auto-rickshaws tend to occupy bus stops creating nuisance not allowing buses to park safely.
  5. Information, Education and Communication to commuter
  6. Information to public is the most neglected aspect of public transport management. IT initiatives such as Pubic Information Systems (PIS) can be implemented in Bus stops and stations. BMTC already implementing GPS based vehicle-tracking system, in which the real time location of buses/arrivals at stops along the route can be communicated through Real Time Passenger Information systems (RTPIS) to waiting commuters, through LCD panels. This would specially help at intersection points once Grid scheme is in place.
  7. At Majestic bus station increase the number of help desks.
  8. Setting up Information Kiosks at Majestic and major bus stands such as Domlur, BTM layout, Vijayanagar, Jayanagar, etc., would help commuters for quick and easy information accessibility.
  9. Massive LED/LCD panels set up in major stations with rolling information boost Public Relations with commuters.
  10. Route maps displayed on Bus station/stops help commuters
  11. A Bus Information guide to be made available with routes, stages, fares, time table and such commuter friendly information for a nominal cost and updated regularly.
  12. Re-introducing Queue system at bus stop and station is imminent. This can be implemented with the help of police and respective area depot managers.

6.5.3 On Road

  1. Task force recommends trying out pilot dedicated lane for Public transport. This would prioritise the BMTC buses, helps adhere to scheduled time and popularised the public transport mode. A pilot project should be implemented in one route wherever feasible, under BATF with co-operation from Police and BMP. Based on the results / opinion, decision could be made to expand it or not.
  2. Organised more Bus bays wherever possible in cooperation with BMP.
  3. On many roads Bus stops face each other on either side of road. This needs Bus stops re-arrangement by creating a minimum space of 100 feet between two stops on either side of road.
  4. Help identify and create more Bus shelters with BMP. Encourage current design, which is great and self-sustaining model.
  5. Task force also recommends providing Refuges (Pauses) in the centre of broad roads with or without median for pedestrian safety.
  6. Initiation of Transport Wardens (similar to Traffic Wardens / Shuchi Mitra’s) is a welcome measure. These honorary Transport Wardens help BMTC in educating commuters, drivers and other ancillary assistance.

It is also suggested that route maps be installed in every bus and every bus stop. In the bus, the route map could be that of the bus itself. In the bus stop, it could be for all the buses coming to that stop in addition to the total grid map of the city. This measure is essential for the grid route concept to succeed.

Every route must be published in a easy to use manner for all citizens. In the long run, it is suggested that the BMTC consider heavy investments in information technology to ensure that information is available to commuters easily.

6.5.4 Passenger monthly Bus passes
Validity of Identity card for the monthly pass holders should increased from present 1 year to a minimum of 5 years.

CCTF Report 3: Present Transport Situation

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3. THE PRESENT TRANSPORT SITUATION

The present bus system has to be seen in the context of the history of Bangalore and its development as a city. The original city has a clearly and visibly bifurcated development with a Cantonment area controlled by the British Raj and a Western area under the control of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore. Two centres developed with one around Shivaji Nagar and the second around what is today called K R Market or Kalasipalayam. Subsequently, the creation of the City Railway Station and the formation of the Bus Station led to a third centre within the city. The current bus system was designed to serve the needs of this original city layout. However, the urban sprawl that has been created through an almost relentless growth in the city from the 1960’s has resulted in the existing model of bus transport not being able to support the growing needs of the city.

 

  1981 2003 % change
Two- wheeler 125,600 1,304,691 939%
Cars 31,738 248,303 682%
Buses 5,090 25,244 396%
Autorickshaws 10,355 68,052 557%
Population 2,900,000 6,200,000 114%
Population data from Census, rest from Bangalore Traffic Police


The population of Bangalore has grown exponentially in the last twenty years on the back of what is described as the Information Technology (IT) boom. The dramatic increase in the number and the scale of IT has created growing opportunities especially for the increasing middle class. The flip side to the growing of the city has been the prolific growth in private vehicles. The class of vehicles that have grown substantially are the two wheelers growing almost 1000% in the past twenty years. In the same period, there has been no corresponding increase in road area thereby causing extreme congestion.

The responses to increasing levels of congestion in the city have included measures to increase the carrying capacity of the roads through the imposition of one-ways, widening of roads (through narrowing of footpaths) and construction of flyovers in order to alleviate congestion. While all these measures have resulted in some relief to commuters, the inability to have a systematic method to reduce private vehicles and encourage the use of public transport continues to cause increasing levels of congestion within the city. One ways are a temporary solution until the next crisis when the number of vehicles continues to increase in order to service the needs of areas. Flyovers that are being constructed are not always designed for public transport users resulting in bus users being further discouraged from their use. For example the lack of a bus stop on the existing Mysore Road flyover and also the proposed Hennur Road flyover means that many commuters who live or work alongside the flyover will be forced to walk additional distances in order to catch a bus. Innovations to increase bus usage might require retro-fitting of bus stops onto flyovers with pedestrian ramps for people to get to these bus stops.

 

Public transport currently is predominantly destination oriented to one of the three city centres which each city centre serving a different area. This causes most areas apart from those within the centre of the city to be connected with a very poor frequency of buses. This further discourages the use of public transport thereby increasing the number of private vehicles even more.

 

The BMTC buses have also been relegated to a lower rung in the hierarchy with the traffic police responding to higher congestion with restrictions on movements of BMTC buses and autorickshaws thereby penalising those using public transport while further (indirectly) promoting the use of private transport.
Present challenge – providing connectivity

 

In addition to the fact that most areas have a destination oriented bus system, the location of the area will usually determine the destination of the bus itself. There are about 140 terminating points or end points in the city. From each of these end points, buses are operated to the three Central points KBS, KRM and Shivajinagar (about 350 routes), and only a few routes (about 50) are operated from some points to other without touching any central point. In addition to the fact that most buses are destination oriented, all three terminuses do not provide an equal frequency of buses to all parts of the city. The northern and eastern parts of the city are serviced mainly by the Shivaji Nagar Bus Terminus. The south and south west by the K R Market Bus Terminus while the Kempe Gowda Bus Terminus serves the western and North Western parts of the city. This creates some strange anomalies during the use of the present bus system.
 
The original three city centres connected by the BMTC are generally well connected subject to the limitation given above. However, given this limitation, the result has generally been a public transport system that services people who’s main needs are based around the three central points. The beneficiaries of this system are government employees who’s offices are in the area of the city centre, students (generally of government schools and colleges in the area) and people coming in to the markets at either K R Market or Shivaji Nagar. Historically, the location of the bus stops also helped to service the medical needs of people visiting the city for a day. Typically, traders or farmers who have come in to sell their produce within the city. Vani Vilas Hospital, Victoria Hospital, Bowring Hospital and St. Johns Hospital among others are located very close to an important market and also a strategic bus terminus. The good connectivity of the city centre is shown in the figures below.
Diagrammatic representation of present system
 
Despite the BMTC operating nearly 3200 buses with a similar number of schedules covering 45,000 trips, completing around 7 lakh service kilometres per day is unable to increase its share of commuter traffic much beyond 50%. The remaining take private transport or walk to their place of work or study. This is partly a result of poor connectivity to any part apart from the three key destinations. In addition to the fact that this kind of system requires more buses, it causes an ‘under-utilisation’ of capacity everywhere except the extreme periphery of the city.

 

The information technology boom has created an additional set of challenges for the city. The increase in number of quasi legal chartered services to transport people to their places of work especially in the night has dramatically increased the number of Sports Utility Vehicles like Tata Sumo and Toyota Qualis. This fragmentation of transport needs further increases congestion within the city and at the same time many of these vehicles are emerging with a reputation for being ‘road bullys’. The relative affluence of the two wheeler driving class also means that ensuring that they do make a change to public transport will require better service levels and greater levels of comfort. This might call for the BMTC to further develop and differentiate its services with air conditioned and/ or express services to grab a larger pie of the commuting population.
Coverage of BMTC within City limits
In addition to the fact that connectivity to the centre of the city is good but poor everywhere else is the fact that different areas get serviced based on where it is relative to the central city bus terminus. Travel within the same zone (area serviced by a terminus as highlighted above) is relatively simple and is possible without much problem. However, if travel has to be made outside the zone, it can often involve taking up to three buses or involve an extraordinary amount of waiting time. The third bus is to travel between one of these terminuses. The result therefore is poor connectivity thereby causing many people to prefer private transport to the public bus.

 

Hence This Task Force is of the opinion that the key to improving commuter comfort is to improve connectivity as a first and necessary step.

 

When this step is taken in conjunction with a large number of other measures, it can help to increase the comfort of the passengers travelling on public transport beyond the 50% market share of public transport, which it has failed, to breach. It is also important that the BMTC set an external benchmarked target (like 60% commuter market share by 2006) or some other method in order to move in a specific measurable manner, which can act as a barometer of passenger comfort in Bangalore. This is radically different from the current system where success is measured through the number of buses operated or the financial viability of the Corporation.

 

The challenges facing the BMTC are many and the solutions cannot be seen as piecemeal. It has to be a part of an integrated transport package that results in a significantly better travelling experience for the commuter. It on the one hand requires the BMTC to improve services to take care of needs of people who currently use private transport. It also requires the Corporation to work together with other stakeholders like the Bangalore Mahanagara Pallike (BMP), the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP).

 

The Task Force suggests that a single transport agency be created with a transport policy statement to ensure that all issues with regard to land use, planning and transport are part of an integrated solution to improve the daily travelling experience of the commuting public. This Task Force is also of the opinion that public transport should be given priority over all other modes of transport.

 

This necessarily requires involving other stakeholders in a dialogue with the solution of the transport crisis as the objective rather than any other objective. Priority for public transport could be through a variety of means and a few of these are outlined in the report. Making a more efficient public transport system is a necessary carrot while other measures could include banning of all private vehicles on select roads during peak hours, higher parking charges, peak hour congestion charges and priority bus lanes.

 

CCTF Report 4: Transport Solutions Proposed

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4. TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS PROPOSED

There are many solutions that are proposed to the increasing levels of congestion within the central areas within the city and around the city. Though there are a few rumblings of how it is essential to make sure that all transport is integrated into a single system. Many different systems are being proposed and the bus will continue to have a vitally important role even if every new system does come into place (refer Appendix B. Importance of connectivity).

This section will go into each of the transport solutions that are proposed and BMTC responses that are required in order to ensure that they effectively tackle the transport problems that exist within the city. It is beyond the scope of this report to go into a comparison of financial viability of the various modes of transport that are proposed. However, we will attempt to outline a simple cost benefit analysis based on historical experiences in other cities.


4.1 The Metro Rail

The Metro Railway has been designed to alleviate the congestion in the central part of the city. It is under implementation by the Bangalore Metro Railway Corporation like the sister concern: the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation. Initially, it is proposed to have two lines totalling 33km with some part of it being underground and most of it being overground. The total investment for a North-South line and an East West line was in the range of Rs. 5,000 crores.

The advantage of a Metro railway is that it can carry upto 57,000 passenger per hour during peak hours.

proposed metro system
It therefore is a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. In addition, it is a clean and comfortable mode of transport, which is supposed to transport people at speeds of upto 60kmph. The high cost of implementation of the Metro Railway is the main argument against it. Historically, there are very few (if any) Metro Railway systems that can operate without some form of state support. In Singapore, the capital cost of construction for the Metro was waived when operations started, in Hong Kong the investment in property subsidises the loss making railway business while in most of Europe there is direct state support to keep the metro railways running. In addition, most metro railway systems are put in place before the creation of urban sprawl the way it has happened in Bangalore. This allows for growth to take place along the railways lines unlike what is proposed where the railway is ‘inserted’ into an already congested city. Given this reality, the requirement then would be to ensure that the Metro railway is well connected to other modes of transport. Even after the Metro Railway is formed, connectivity to it will continue to be crucial in ensuring that people have access to the system.

 

The task force calls for an alignment of the Metro Railway so that existing bus terminuses like SBT, Malleswaram Bus Terminus and Indira Nagar depot are integrated seamlessly with the Metro.


4.2 Commuter Railway System

The Commuter Railway system aims to use the existing rail infrastructure to provide a mass rapid transit option using the existing railway tracks. It will however involve some investment, mostly to lay additional tracks alongside the existing ones and signalling with expenses for the purchase of locomotives and coaches. The direction of the commuter railway is similar to that of the Metro Railways with it being separated by a distance of around one kilometre from the other at most points.

Creating a CRS is a fairly inexpensive method to leverage existing infrastructure to service the needs of the commuting public.

The Commuter Railway System
The total cost of the commuter railways is documented to be in the range of Rs.1,200 crore. However, like with the Metro Railway connectivity remains the single most important factor to ensure that it can help alleviate commuter comfort.

 

The task force calls for a commencement of negotiation with Indian Railways to ensure that all existing train stations allow access to BMTC buses where possible to pick up passengers as a matter of routine.

 

This could include special areas in the Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station as the creation of one ways have moved the bus stop away from immediately outside the station. In addition, it calls for the beginning of services to all railway stations where it is feasible like Hebbal, Malleswaram, Banswadi and Byappanahalli among other train stations.


4.3 Bus Services

The Task Force have accepted the need for a more comprehensive and better public transport model. The Bus plays a crucial role in this model as it provides connectivity to the last mile even for those using the railway system: be it the commuter railway or the metro railway. The bus system must be tightly integrated with the MRT system and where possible should function like an MRT.


4.3.1 Destination oriented bus system

The existing model of bus transport is a destination oriented bus system, with the city having three hubs in KRM, SBT and KBS. As highlighted earlier in this report, it has functioned well while the city still had three distinct city centres. The present system can continue to operate and be profitable but it is unlikely to increase commuter market share much beyond 50% due to the growing decentralisation of the city. The under-capacity of the system would remain at the present level but would increase in absolute numbers. Therefore, there would be an increase in the number of two wheelers, SUV’s, taxis and auto-rickshaws. Public Transport is unlikely to be a preferred mode of transport if it does not provide access to all areas based on a system of buses. Modifications to this destination oriented model were also proposed through the identification of key points on the periphery of the city. All the key points would be connected to every other key point through a system of buses while feeder services would service the areas beyond or from the key points. This involves the creation of a multiple hub and spoke model, which is more effective than what is at present but concern remains on some issues on this model. It is proposed that it be studied and incorporated into a future bus system where possible.


4.3.2 Grid System of Buses

The grid system of buses is one that aims to fix some of the weaknesses of a destination oriented bus system as being followed currently. The first proposal to launch a grid system of buses came from the BMTC itself. In the report ‘Metro Bus Concept for Bangalore City, Revised Approach’ twenty-seven routes are outlined in a grid system. A detailed discussion on the benefits of the grid system is given in Section 5. Details of the system, the logic of operation, the logistics and other details are outlined in further section.


currently no higher resolution image available.

CCTF Report 5: The Grid System of Buses

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5. THE METRO BUS SYSTEM (GRID SYSTEM OF BUSES)

The key recommendation of this Task Force is that there needs to be better connectivity among various parts of the city. Buses play a very important role in urban transport, at very least providing last mile connectivity for all passengers. The choice of the public transport system will play a crucial role in the development of the city. As highlighted in earlier reports of the BMTC, the choice that Bangalore has is one between an organised public transport system and one where public transport becomes highly de-regulated and fragmented.
 

 A feasibility study has shown that Bangalore would benefit greatly from the implementation of a Grid system. It has also shown that such a system can be realistically introduced, at least from technical and economical viewpoints. Grid concept of transportation supports Mr. Parameshwaran’s model as well. It is a synchronised metro and trunk route system. Hence what is required to implement is not money – the investments are rather reasonable – but factors like political will, coordinated effort, popular support and enforcement will play an important role. The undertaking of such a system would also provide the necessary feedback and experiences for successful continued reforms.


The key recommendation of this task force is for the implementation of a grid system of buses in order to improve connectivity to all parts of Bangalore. Improved connectivity within the bus system and also between the different modes of transport will help to increase the market share of the BMTC of passenger trips.

5.1 Features of a Grid System of Buses
The Grid System of Buses is designed for implementation in radial cities much like in Bangalore. A very similar system is followed in Paris and the route map of the system there is attached with this report (refer Appendix H). The Grid system divides a radial city into grids (or blocks), which are served by north- south, east- west and diagonal bus routes. This ensures that all parts of the city are well connected through a spider web of linked bus services. Much like a spider’s web, the grid system will facilitate connections on parallels (as highlighted above) in the city and also along concentric circles depending on the size of the city.

Diagrammatic representation of GRID Scheme


The Grid System of Buses has to be implemented with an excellent feeder bus system that ensures that a substantial majority of commuters do not have to walk more than 500m from their houses to catch a bus. The Grid System however will have to function in a complex with existing systems till such time there is no defined need of having a central cityterminus system. This is because the three terminals are located at the centre of economic activity of Bangalore based on the fact that these areas historically did provide the best economic and trading opportunities. However, over a period of time, it will be necessary to re-adjust routes going to the centre of the city without adversely affecting connectivity.

While recognising the need for a Grid System of Buses, this Task Force also recognises that it is no panacea for all that ills the transport sector in the city. This system will be effective only subject to many conditions that will help ensure that connectivity is better through all areas in Bangalore. The implementation of a Grid system has to be simultaneous with a massive publicity campaign to educate people on the system and how it will benefit them. At the same time, it is crucial that detailed maps are made available on details of every route and every service with details on feeder services also. Route maps should be ubiquitous in their presence at ALL bus stops, inside all buses and in a BMTC published time table published every year like the Indian Railways time tables.

It is also important that all routes have to come into implementation at the same time. Introducing some routes while ignoring others will not help increase market share. At the same time, a massive training exercise must be undertaken among all staff of the BMTC especially those who come in contact with commuters: conductors and drivers. The success of the grid system will rest squarely on the enthusiastic support given to it by this large group of employees. It is also important they recognise the need of a new system and recognise that though it might be slightly more difficult to navigate, is a system that will benefit all commuters.

5.1.1 Advantages of a Grid System
The grid system of buses has a large number of advantages in a radial city. The spider-web that is formed through a grid system connects two points in the city through the shortest possible route possible. In case there is no direct route possible, an individual can make a single change on the bus in order to use two clear straight-line routes to get to their final destination. Though this does not always trace the shortest route, when compared to the hub and spoke model, it on most cases traces the shortest route between two points. The only major exception to this rule would be when the route is through one of the three city centres. However, given the coverage anomaly of the three different bus stations, this is again subject to the caveat that it applies only when the two points are in the same zone.

The main advantage of a Grid System is that it provides better connectivity than a hub and spoke model that has been used till date.

Advantages

  • better connectivity
  • less congestion in central bus stands
  • better travel times
  • connectivity for larger number of people…


Advantages for BMTC

  • better fleet utilisation
  • less number of routes… therefore less confusion


5.1.2 Disadvantages of a Grid System
In the absence of destination oriented model, a commuter may have to make a minimum of one change over. Additional fare to be shelled out could be one more disadvantages of this system.

5.2 Action plan for Bangalore Grid Scheme
Praja Admin Note: Information not available.

5.3 Comparison with other system of buses

5.3.1 Hub and Spoke Model
The current system of buses in Bangalore is a destination dominated Hub and Spoke Model with three hubs in the city centre. The three hubs are connected to various parts of the city and beyond through a destination based bus system. All users are therefore expected to make changes only at one of the three major bus terminals. This has the advantage that the method is simple and that people can easily go to one of the three interchanges and catch a connecting bus from the interchange.

This system worked well when most of the commerce and business activity was concentrated in these three areas. However, the limitations of a destination based bus system and the lack of a serious alternative transport system has meant that the city of Bangalore has evolved as a multiple centre town with each of these centres now acting as mini-hubs on their own. Together with the increase of population, these mini-hubs have effectively grown to a size not dissimilar to that of the major hubs approximately ten or fifteen years ago.

The creation of multiple centres has meant that the hub and spoke model now services mainly those people who have their offices around the three centres. The people that are serviced well using this method are mainly government offices, schools and colleges in that area and employees of private establishments in the city centre. While most of the city has been growing at a rapid pace, the BMTC has maintained a steady market share in passenger trips through servicing this clientele that has also grown thanks to the greater demands in those inner city areas. Unlike other cities in the country where public transport has fallen by the wayside, the BMTC has managed to retain its market share through the years through retention of the existing system.

However, the limitation of the Hub and Spoke Model is that it has not allowed people apart from the core constituencies highlighted earlier to use public transport. Even areas that are near the city centres are sometimes not connected due to the anomaly that buses in a particular zone do not normally cross over into another zone. This was related to the fact that buses were operated out of a particular depot and crossing into another zone would make the bus move into a different depot area, which was generally not encouraged.

In addition, the Hub and Spoke Model has created a very large number of routes (over 2,000) with just over 3,000 buses. This has meant that the frequency of bus services to most areas is poor especially those on the fringes of the city.

However, as these services converge into the city (at a distance of around 4-5 km from one of the terminals), the frequency of can be as high as one every thirty seconds. This also increases congestion within the city centre as all buses are routed to converge on a particular destination. Inevitably, this increases travel time as buses are crowding out the existing road infrastructure in the city centre.

5.3.2 Modified Hub and Spoke Model
The Modified Hub and Spoke Model is a variation of the hub and spoke model. Presented by Mr. Parameswaran, it identifies ten key points at the fringes of the city creating direct bus services from all these key points to every other key point. And at the same time, feeder services to get people to these key points.

The advantages of the system are similar to the Hub and Spoke Model. However, it has the weaknesses of the earlier system as well especially with the fleet requirements being quite large and therefore difficult to implement.