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Public transport (BMTC) - what is needed to improve it? Your thoughts

One of the things that Bangalore lacks is a good integrated public transport system as of today. Namma Metro promises to improve things but is a few years away. Till then we depend on BMTC for public transport.

BMTC has changed a lot over the last 5-6 years. It (at least according to the website) operates a fleet of 5000 buses and carries about 30 lakh passengers a day (if one person makes 3 trips a day - it is 3 passengers). however, it still has a long way to go.

What in our opinion are the changes that BMTC needs to make to improve its services? Is competition in the form of (reputed) private players the answer? Do we need more Aircon buses to take people off bikes and cars and therefore speed up ordinary BMTC buses? A hundred of us can come up with a hundred different ideas. How well is your area served by BMTC? How far do you have to walk to catch a bus? How much time do you or someone you know have to wait? Has the Suvarna service helped you reach your office quicker? Maybe people who don't use BMTC take a few trips to actually experience the service.

If we can throw up ideas there are a few people among us that have the ears of BMTC and we can raise some of the feedback and suggested solutions/ideas to them. There is no guarantee that anything will get implemented, but if don't try then nothing will happen for sure.

If some ideas are really involved - then Tarle can open a new post for them.




tsubba's picture


i will try to comeup with some generic metrics later on. but one of the things we need to sort out explicity is the expectation from public transport. what do we expect from it? reduced congestion? reduced pollution? more structure? and so on. also i have been thinking about this for a while and want to get out of my system: how about bmtc simulating metro routes? that is bmtc runs services along the corridors proposed by metro with stops corresponding to metro stops. the expectation being it acts as a test of demand for public transit and a test for general flow patterns along the corridors. but there are a few caveats. bcoz buses are not right of way, they may not achieve reliability and speed of a metro. so many people may not take these corridors. on the other hand if these are indeed natural corridors, beyond statistical and even observabale perception, then the additional services will be patronized. also bmtc might not be able to replicate perceived and actual comfort level expectations of a metro. the reason i stumbled upon this is, when i read the transport survey on bmrc website, they were talking of running metro o roads where traffic > 20k pphdt or some value like that. the idea being you end up connecting 'valleys' but the problem with such purely statistical approaches is that you cannot guarantee that you have connected important sources and sinks. naveen has been shouting his lungs off that se bangalore has no coverage. (that is one of the reasons i say, we need a dedicated team a majority of whom are deeply connected with bangalore to plan these things. hired consultants wont just cut it.) infact if you ask me, while they sort all these court battles, bmrc should get some one in their ranks to work with bmtc and get the type of stats that you were mentioning, month long survey etc, and then check any other existing stats that bmtc has. naveen has also been talking of another important aspect, that of demand for varied level of service. this again brings us back to the expectation of public transport. if the metro aims to attract >2w and poach some of bmtc's traffic is it necessarily unworthy a goal? could bmtc use a breather?
tsubba's picture

a sobering observation

in an unfortunately silent thread, naveen makes a sobering observation about congestion and the limitations of pub trans ...

It is clear from the CTTP report (Table 6.3) that even if all recommended mass transit routes, etc. are developed, it would still result in the share of daily trips by cars & two-wheelers to increase from 2006 levels of 4.2 & 18.4 lakhs to 7.0 & 20.6 lakhs by 2025 due to increase in the city’s population & the corresponding increase in the no. of daily trips, although in percentage terms, they would drop to 5.5 & 16.2% from 7.5 & 32.8% respectively. A part of this increase will have to be absorbed with only the present road inventory within CBDs /ORR merely by augmentation of existing roads as creation of additional roads will not be possible within CBDs /ORR (the elevated CRR appears to have been abandoned). This implies that traffic congestion will worsen unless traffic restraints are enforced to bring down the no. of road vehicles.

it also highlights the fact that everyday day the city pussy foots on this, the problems will only grow.

when i asked kunstler about the cost of pub trans, he said something to the effect that it has never been cheap to build pub trans irrespective of when it was built and how rich the city was. people always have had to bite the financial bullet.

i think i agree. the cost is more than material. the cost is energy spent in moving the city, its people and politicians, from the inertia due set mode of thinking and entrenched interests. delhi took more than 30 years to get started. if they had got it done back then, metro would have been all payed for by now and a structure would have evolved by now. now pub trans in delhi is faced with the daunting task of taming an over grown hydra.

the question is when does bangalore start and how far does it go? 6.5 million we are. prolly the largest city with no dedicated planners and a dedicated pub trans system.

btw sri, do you game at work? any softwares for trying out games? we got to try a simple game on this and see how it pans out.

silkboard's picture

BMTC branded autos?

Broadly speaking, most would agree about the two urgent areas of improvement on pure people transportation front:

  1. Long haul services - predictability and perception
  2. Last mile connectivity to minimize "transit" gaps

Folks have discussed #1 - BRTS, semi dedicated bus lanes on important radial and ring roads, hub/grid vs matrix routing.

But we realize that big improvements in #1 will take time and investment. Meanwhile, working on #2 could make more folks switch over in the short term itself

How about BMTC branded auto (or similar small vehicle - Tata winger types) service that runs on solo or shared mode. Talking to a few who have switched to Volvos, and those who haven't, a switch is possible only when Volvo drops you almost to the office (point to point convenience). Or, if there is space to park private vehicle at the point where I get on to the Volvo in the morning.

How about making a small beginning by having BMTC branded local service that carries people to the destination on a single ticket or pass. No haggling with autos - Single point to point ticket. Fixed authority (BMTC) to go to if I have issues with service quality.

BMTC needs to run a branded service, not actually run it themselves. It could be private operators being regulated by BMTC. Existing LNG autos could consider converting to this, or could opt to compete instead like they do today.

This wont require any massive investment or policy changes, its a small beginning that would augment Volvos well while people thrash out the problem of predictability of long haul services. This is similar to cvikash's model (he specified earlier), but I am thinking small steps - one at a time - here.

With above in place, I can take a Volvo from whitefield, get down near Richmond Circle, hop on to a BMTC branded auto/Maruti van whatever which would be circling around Langford town, and get to my office. No GPS, no SMS based services. Those could follow in due time once we assess what consumers want.

Now, please don't call me elitist etc as I only talked Volvos here. For maximum difference in the short term, we want car folks to switch over first.

Bengloorappa's picture

Long term suggestions

Some long-term solutions towards improving BMTC,

1. Integrate smart-card based fare infrastructure into BMTC's Systems and ensure that the same can be used across BMTC, Metro, Monorail etc., seamlessly. 
This saves trouble for a lot of passengers and most likely will pull-in the not so affluent sections of the society into using it, because of its convenience and slickness.

We could start by experimenting it with the Volvo bus. Passengers get in and out by flashing the card.

2. Recognize responsibility it owes to the city traffic.
BMTC is partially responsible for traffic jams in the city. It has a direct responsibility to events arising out of actions by its bus drivers, including, but not limited to - Haphazard parking of buses for alighting and boarding, racing against other buses on the same route for maximising revenues etc.
Agreed that the BBMP has the onus of erecting and maintaining bus shelters, but BMTC is making profits out of it and hence should voluntarily help BBMP create infrastructure.
"BMTC with its financial muscle can helps carve bus bays out of commercial land, which go and long way in reducing slow-down and near stoppage of traffic following a BMTC bus".

3. Provide information to people when and where they need it.
For ex:
a.  Electronic display boards specifying current location of a particular bus and the ETA at bus shelters can allow people to relax instead of remaining constantly vigilant about an arriving bus.
b.  Electronic display boards inside the bus announcing the next destination, will allow passengers to navigate by themselves and be self-reliant

tsubba's picture


i totally agree on the 'auto' thingie. minibuses also perhaps running through the interiors of areas as bangalorean suggested. but the question is, will bmtc take on the autoraja unions? i think they can use some organization and structure. how about sweetening the pot with pension plan?
silkboard's picture

Show them the money

Money always talks Tarle. BMTC only has to invite tempting bids for the braded auto service, and these autoraja unions could break and form commercial interest groups. Autorajas could be sold on the promise of :

  1. Better predictable and guraanteed income
  2. More income as more people give up cars (bikes too?)
  3. More income if BMTC can help autorajas carry advertisements in an organized way.

The biggest thing here is, you wont have resistance from BMTC union itself. BMTC stays, just that it adds this extra job of "Auto Transit Authority" (just as you suggested in that post last year).

Here is an experiment  BMTC could start with. Try this last mile thingie with so many (600?) KSTDC taxies who are right now looking at uncertain future once airport moves to BIAL. Have 30-40 taxis each do the rounds of area near BMTC's BIAL Volvo service origin points. See how this works, and then slowly expand to other BMTC routes as well.

murali772's picture

government not cut out for business

Apparently, not many here have done business with government organisations, or even interacted closely with them. And, if they do, they never again will. I can write reams on why. A lot of it is on my personal blog-site www.muralidharrao.blogspo.... They just have to be asked to step aside.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

business vs regulation

This auto/small van service thing is regulatory, not business in nature. After all, you want sarkaari bodies to regulate, and not do the business themselves. Forcing BMTC to be a pure regulator and not run the buses at all would probably be perfect. But, letting them regulate the last mile transport might be more practical to achieve. You never know, may be BMTC and public will like the regulation job (sampler) so much that they may want the next step (full meal) as well.
Vasanth's picture

Keep it simple to start with - Add more buses to existing routes

Basically, the frequency of the existing bus routes should be improved. Then we will add on.
Vasanth's picture

Connect Buses to newer IT CBDs

Earlier days, it was Majestic was like the CBD with Government employees mostly working in and around Vidhana Soudha Area. Now, the next generation IT offices are located in Whitefield Area, Koramangala, Bannerghatta Road, Airport Road and Electronic City and very few in other areas too. Although few companies do have buses, their frequencies and routes are not that attractive for many of the employees. Many big companies such as even IBM are not having transport services.

BMTC has provided service to Vidhana Soudha during peak hours. Similarly BMTC needs to do it for these areas too with good frequency during peak hours. Ideally, BMTC should have a Shanthinagar like Bus Stand one in Whitefield, one in Electronic City and have Bus Services like Market and Majestic. The Buses needs to be aesthetic and attractive here to attract the 'rich' techie.

I was just thinking of few routes

1. Nagarbhavi Layout to Electronic City via Chandra Layour,Vijaynagar, Mysore Road, Ring Road, right on Bannerghatta Road and after crossing the CBD area of Bannerghatta Road, turn towards Hosur Road and Reach Electronic City Bus Hub. There should be local Swaraj Mazdas  to roam around EC to give door to door service from the Hub.

2. Nagarbhavi Layout to ITPL via same route upto Bannerghatta Road and turn towards North of Bannerghatta Road towards Diary Circle, pass through Koramangala, reach Domlur Circle, take right on Airport Road, reach Marathalli and finally reach the ITPL Bus Hub.Same like EC, there should be local roaming Swaraj Mazdas. Even in thee case of Koramangala, where the offices are wide spread, there needs to be similar arrangement. Ofcourse, Nagarbhavi Layout to ITPL via Majestic is shorter, but, this gives connectivity to Bannerghatta Road, Koramangala and connectivity to people on the ring road to ITPL.

There are offices on the Sarjapur Road also, people should be able to take a Bus somewhere on the Ring Road to move to Sarjapur Road.

3. BTM last bus Stop to ITPL via Hosur Road, Koramangala, Airport Road, Marathalli.

4. Peenya to Electronic City  all along the Ring Road, Bannerghatta Road and Hosur Road or Peenya to EC via Yeshwantpur,Malleshwaram, VyyaliKaval, Corporation Circle, Shanthinagar Bus Stop, Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road and EC.

5.Peenya to Whitefield via Ring Road and KR Puram.

6. Yelahanka to EC via Domlur, Koramangala and Bannerghatta Road.

7.Yelahanka to ITPL via Ring Road and KR Puram.

Let us keep on adding to this list. Finally we will forward the same to CTMO BMTC. I already sent a mail on Suvarna Peak Hour Service for giving connectivity to CBDs giving the example from Nagarbhavi Layout. I insisted a bus like KSRTC's sheethal or SRS travel's A/C bus instead of Volvos since Volvos are too expensive and at the same cost we can have 2 or 3 normal A/C buses which gives us more frequency.

Vasanth's picture

Copy of the mail sent to BMTC

 Dear Vasanth
  Thank You for your valuable suggestion.
With regards

Dear Sir,

I saw the Suvarna Peak Hour Buses. I felt few things about this:

1. Buses are not low floor rear engine like Volvo - I thought after having bought Volvo, you would build it just like Volvo. Volvo Vajra buses are very easy to get in and comfortable. Similar coaches should have been built with non-A/C Tata or Leyland engines.

2. It operates on the same routes as the existing bus routes.

Most of the IT offices are located in Bannerghatta Road, Electronic City, Whitefield, Koramangala and Airport Road. Just like your Vidhana Soudha service, please start Suvarna buses to these IT areas from all the major areas.

One route that comes to my mind is Nagarbhavi Layout to Electronic City - Route to be Nagharbhavi Layout, Chandra Layout, Vijaynagar, BHEL Circle, Nayandahalli, Ring Road upto Bannerghatta Road, take right on Bannerghatta Road towards Bannerghatta, proceed till the IT area is there and take left towards Electronic City near Anekal / Jigani.

Second route would be to start from the same Nagarbhavi Layout upto Bannerghatta Road on the same route as said above and take left towards Dairy Circle from Jayadeva Circle, on Dairy Circle take right onto Hosur Road, again take left and right onto Koramangala Raheja Arcade side, enter Koramangala, pass through Koramangala inner ring road reach Domlur Circle, take right on Domlur Circle pass in HAL Airport Road reach marathalli and finally reach Kadugodi area.

Basically, the eastern portion of Bangalore - Bannerghatta Road, Hosur Road, Koramangala, Airport Road, Marathalli, Kadugodi Whitefield area are the main IT density area. We need bus connectivity during peak hours to these areas in 2-3 trips in the morning and 2-3 trips in the evening from the opposite direction with a definite schedule from all the possible areas. Currently, these areas are covered from Majestic. Travelling to majestic in this traffic is just waste of time.

Please enable YI tracking of these buses like the Volvos earlier. Currently, sudden removal of YI services for Vajra has put lot of its customers in problem. Also, the current location of the bus should be displayed on

Please do not run these buses on the same routes as the existing buses. I saw 201 and 60A suvarna buses. It doesn't make any sense. It should attract car drivers and 2 wheeler drivers travelling to eastern areas to buses.

A/C buses would have been preferrable seeing the nature of people who work in these areas. Please develop a non-Volvo A/C bus model just like the Sheethal of KSRTC and run to these eastern busy areas.

Please start running pilot service by removing Suvarna buses from 201 or 60A like routes and adding it to IT locations with YI and web tracking. Please give a big ad in the newspapers like TOI and Deccan Herald to give it publicity.


tsubba's picture


vasanth, changed the emails to images to prevent spam.
Vasanth's picture


Thanks TS
surajshekar's picture

Basics first

Hi all,


While a lot has been done to increase passenger comfort in buses, I think a few basic aspects need urgent attention of BMTC. Two well accepted parameters may be used to judge the transport system - (a) efficiency and (b) effectiveness. While (a) is OK type, (b) still has a long way to go. (Please excuse me if any of my points are a repetition of what has already been discussed)-

  1. Routes to be rationalized and re-planned: Making better use of the buses currently dedicated for short routes (<10 or 12 kms). Ex: 61 series,12,18,131,31E and several more. These routes are for the Bangalore of 1960s…!!! I am sure a sizeable fleet is dedicated for these routes. Why not run the 61 series from Vijaynagar till ITPL or Marathalli(ie, Vasanth’s idea) instead of just KBS? This bus can just touch Anand rao circle and follow the path of 333 or 335 without going inside KBS. As pointed out by majority members repeatedly, the major hubs of KBS, market and Shivajinagar are now too close to act as efficient transit points for different directions of the city. The newer hubs should be points like EC, ITPL, Marathalli, BTM,Yelahanka, Peenya, etc… instead of Koramangala, Domlur/Indranagar, yeshwantpur, Jayanagar,etc…  Each of them to be inter-connected with direct buses. Buses running between the new hubs will also service the important old areas enroute. I will elaborate this point sometime later.
  2. Ref to Vasanth’s point on suvarna buses not being low floor buses, I wonder why BMTC is not procuring semi low floor buses (of Leyland). These buses have rear air suspension and hundreds of them are successfully running in Mumbai and Chennai. Low floor buses are essentially rear engine buses and rear engines are difficult to service/maintain; but semi low floor provides the benefit of ‘lower’ floor and an easily serviceable front engine. Price difference is also less compared to the currently used model. I am sure BMTC must be aware of the product, still no idea why they haven’t tried it (inspite of having the credit of making bold moves like introducing Volvos for intra city routes!)
  3. Suvarna will run only for 8 hours in a day as per BMTC. What will these buses do for the other 10 traffic hours? Is this not capacity under-utilisation? Can suvarna (plus few Pushpaks) not be dedicated for school/college students from 6.30 to 8am and 2pm to 4pm  ? (Considering Mr.Tripathys statement that no standing passengers in these buses). I would also suggest that these buses can have lady conductors or call them “pass inspectors”, since they can handle the students a little more gently than their rough male counterparts
  4. Buses with driver-cum-conductor arrangement to be totally snapped: Everybody knows that these buses are a real nuisance to onboard passengers, other road users, other BMTC buses and the driver-cum-conductor himself. Inspite of countless letters in the papers about this, BMTC seems to be least bothered.
  5. Number/Route boards of BMTC (specially red boards) look like ancient “shaasanas”. Its better to have route info in both Kannada and English in nice “gundu aksharas” :) so that it benefits everyone.
  6. Position of doors: I think the middle wide door concept is not a sound one. This door can be moved towards the rear (Presently its front door+2 windows+wide door+3 windows) People always tend to stay close to this wide door which is a nuisance. I suggest they can stick to the old model (front door+4 windows+wide door+1 window)which will result in better space utilsation within the bus. Further, left side of the wide door can be used for alighting and the right side for boarding.
  7. FM radio be made compulsory in all new buses: I don’t know why all transport corps of Karnataka are complacent when it comes to entertainment in buses. For BMTC, FM radio running at a soothing volume (like in Vajra) will help commuters overcome monotony during travel. Moreover, it is not a costly investment also. In many tamil nadu state buses, the TVs (Many times, two in number) are always up and running. I have observed in many inter city ordinary services of TN govt buses - seats are not that good, luggage rack span and leg room is small. Nothing has been done about this in new buses also. While the look of KSRTC ordinary services has changed leaps and bounds from the old “red bus” to Suvarna Karnataka Sarige with semi bucket seats, better leg space and all that, they are not caring about the entertainment for atleast long routes.
  8. Dear Vasanth, CTOs mail looks like only an acknowledgement for all the pains you have undertaken in elaborating your suggestion. Will they disclose it to you if any of your suggestions are seriously considered? If so, will they involve the person/group who suggested it and do more R&D? Only if it comes to that stage, I think we can hope for some improvement. This question arose since Murali Sir has constantly been narrating his bad experiences in such affairs with BMTC. Otherwise, your suggestion is absolutely logical.
  9. Treatment to regular pass holders, especially students is very bad. How to tame the crew and make them realize that it’s a public bus and not their personal vehicle?
  10. Regular services should extend upto atleast 10.30 pm after which night service can run till about 1 am. Presently, buses vanish after 9pm and it is a disgrace to see the plight of commuters(even in KBS)

Finally, a bit of concern for me is this- Praja members are discussing almost endlessly about so many problems and workable solutions. Are there any success stories so far that the solutions discussed in Praja were accepted by the respective govt dept and implemented.? (It will be a morale booster for a lot of new-comers like me). If so, what is the method of effective representation on behalf of the public? What best can we do solve this public transport problem?




murali772's picture

too heavy a price to pay

text of the letter sent to the press:

The reports (and accompanying pictures) in the press over the last week on the bus accident in Bodeli, Gujarat, leading to the death of 45 people, 41 of them school children, made for extremely sad reading. Whether it resulted from poor maintenance practices or driver negligence, repeat incidences of similar nature, across the country (there were two involving our own BMTC in the 3rd week of March), are a clear indication of the moribund state of the public bus transport services sector, languishing as they remain largely dominated by the state. Even where private players have been allowed, too many controls remain for the organised sector players to be interested in making an entry. And, the fact of he matter is that unless the organised sector players come in, there is no salvation for this key infrastructure sector. And, we will continue to pay a heavy price.

Safety is just one aspect. The other costs on account of incapacities and inefficiencies can be valued at a zillion.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
tsubba's picture


excellent list suraj. thanks for posting this. between your, vasanth's, murali sir's and navshot's observations, hopefully we get to really sink in to bmtc. thanks again.
s_yajaman's picture

Reserve seats on BMTC Suvarna!

Saw some press on the Suvarna services. 

I am afraid that they are a bit off the mark in saying that reserving seats will bring customers into the fold.  Are we small children that we want window seats or some special seat on the bus (favourite number??)?

People I would think want reliable services, not more than 500 m from their house and not have to keep changing buses at Majestic.  BMTC needs to be a bit more creative in route planning for sure.  For Suvarna really has the potential to take cars and bikes off the road if executed well.  If E-City, Peenya and ITPL are not covered from Koramangala, Indiranagar, JP Nagar and Vijayanagar then it seems that they are missing a big part of potential customers.  Where I live there are about 2000-2500 apts and more along the way - Suvarna does not operate here.  I really wonder how they planned the routes. 




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

murali772's picture

just another gimmick

Just another gimmick to get into the news, very typical of BMTC. I am sure no thinking has gone into it whatsoever, and even if some body has put in some effort, it will all be abandoned after it has served the purpose of getting them some publicity mileage. I am talking from the "Yelli Iddira?" experience, which incidentally was a very useful service.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Motive and the basis

I think the motive here is to attract those who fear BMTC buses because of crowds. The problem they are trying to attack is good, what is debatable is the solution, and whether this is the highest priority problem to put money on. Volvo project will go places only if "last mile" solutions and conveniences are planned for commuters. Since such a solution will increase Volvo's reach - this is higher priority than crowding.

Transparency in operations and decision making is badly needed here. May be that BMTC has a solid think tank with real data from the field that validates their decisions. But how do we get to know and praise them if they indeed operate in scientific ways? Forget praises or brickbats, I just need to know how they plan and decide their new projects. Its our money after all that they spend.

How does BMTC decide where to invest its budgeted money? How did they conclude that seat reservation is going to get them more customers? What is the profile of customers they are targeting here? Any parallels for this seat reservation scheme? If nobody else in the world does it (for city transport), then is BMTC being innovative or foolish?

PS: Reservation is a truly Indian way of solving capacity problems. We like working on the demand (choke it, make quotas), because increasing the supply (which always is the real solution) is not that easy.

s_yajaman's picture

Tweaks to Volvo?

Here are some timetables for the Volvo Service from

V2 - JP Nagar 6th Phase to KBS - 4 buses -  about every 25 mins

V333P - KBS - ITPL via Varthur - 4 buses - about every 35-40 mins

V333R - KBS to Marathahalli Bridge - 2 buses - about once in 1 hr

V335E - KBS to ITPL via EPIP - 15 buses - every 10 mins

V340P - KBS to Parangipalya (towards Agara) - 1 bus - once every 2.5 hrs

V356C - KBS to E-City - 7 buses - once in 25 mins

V365 - KBS to Bannerghatta Park - 4 buses - once in 30-40 mins

V500K - Vijayanagar to ITPL (via Banashankari) - 5 buses - once in 30-40 mins

V356N - KBS to Narayana Hrudayalaya - touches E-City Entrance - once in 30-40 mins

It's striking that almost all these buses go to KBS.  Why?  Only one starts from a residential area and goes to ITPL. 

There are no services from say Koramangala/Jayanagar/Indiranagar to ITPL or E-City. 

The service that seems reasonably well patronized is the most frequent - 335E.  I can see standing in this bus quite often.

One route that I can think of is from Jayanagar 4th block (the new TTMC) --> T-Block--> Dairy Circle -->Forum-->Koramangala-->ORR-->ITPL (once in 10-15mins)

One more is Domlur-->Indiranagar-->Thippasandra--> JB Nagar -->HAL-->ITPL

Then Jayanagar 4th Block --> 9th block --> BTM-->Silkboard-->E-City.

Then Koramangala -->Wilson Garden -->Double Road --> MG Road --> Queens Road --> Shivajinagar





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

tsubba's picture


awesome post SB.
murali772's picture

don't rely totally on the info on the web-site

Volvo buses are parked at KBS overnight because the other depots do not even have the capacity to clean them, leave alone servicing or undertaking minor repairs. Even the buses operating on the route commencing from the residential area (Banshankari), ply the first and last runs, from and to KBS, as dummy runs.

When I was associated wih the "Yelli Iddira?" service, I invariably found that the info on BMTC's web-site and the situation on the ground were considerably at variance. I am not quite keeping track today, though, I can bet it won't be any better.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Volvo city bus routes - A gamble

Well, few Volvo routes operate profitably such as between KBS and ITPL, few operate under loss such as V2. Major problem is only one section of people may or may not use this service. The cost of the ticket is very expensive and only comparable to car commute, not to the bike commute.

Buses are also expensive nearing to 70+ lakhs. 

On the other hand, a normal bus which costs around 10-15 lakhs or may be even less had definite number of commuters since lot of people especially ladies, aged and the poor people whose main mode of commute is BMTC will definitely use it. Pushpak and Suvarna Peak hour service is in between these two. Normal people also use the Pushpak services. Earlier Pushpak service was with limited stop and now it has just become a normal bus.

Volvos should be put only to the areas where there is demand such as ITPL, Bannerghatta Road, Koramangala, EC directly from different localities. These routes should also be backed up with Suvarna / Pushpak buses so that people get alternative to Volvos if they don't get one.

s_yajaman's picture

Capital costs the cuplrit?


If what you are saying is true and if BMTC's overall profit number is right then we have a funny situation where the poor are subsidizing the rich!

If the Volvo-Vajra service cannot make a profit after charging those sort of fares, then it is probably due to the capital costs involved. 

BMTC needs to overcome the Volvo fixation (even though they look great and all that).  What we need is a premium bus service (air-con for sure) to get cars and bikes off the roads so that the overall traffic speed (including that of normal BMTC) increases from the average of 13-14 kmph to 20 kmph during peak hours.  If there are good TATA or Leyland buses at 30-40 lakhs that can do the job those should also be used.  I know it is easier said than done.




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

Vasanth's picture

Mumbai has discovered KingLong City Buses


As you said instead of fixing on Volvos, we should have alternative. Ashok Leyland recently introduced iBus with more features, but, it costs around 60 Lakhs, cheaper than Volvo but marginally. Tata has got Globus and Starbus. Delhi has gone for Starbus Non A/C and will be introducing similar Starbus A/C in its BRTS corridor. I didn't get the cost of it.

MSRTC and BEST on the other hand has gone for KingLong buses of China hich costs around 30 Lakhs. MSRTC has got Intercity Volvo like KingLong buses and BEST has got Intracity Volvo like KingLong Buses.

GreyHound in USA who is the premier bus service provider like our KSRTC  is running after money since the introduction of FungWa, a Chinese Bus  service provider company who uses these KingLong buses. A Bus travel from Boston to NewYork on Fungwa costs only $15 as against $40+ tax in a GreyHound bus and $75+  in an Amtrak train. Run times are the same.

blrsri's picture


yes they are the cheapest way to get to NY from boston..

but there are lot of saftey concerns..I know of incidents where the busses break down in the middle of the freeway for hours..the a/c going for a toss..some brake failures too..


malini's picture

public transport in Bangalore


The BMTC has completely failed in providing an adequate bus service in Bangalore. The BMTC can be called the greatest curse on Bangalore. The BMTC is responsible for the proliferation of personal vehicles, and the consequent pollution, accidents and deaths.

In the last five decades  the BMTC must have killed 10,000s directly and indirectly thru accidents and pollution.

The only way out of this conundrum is to allow private bus operators (after due checks for road worthiness of both men and machine). Private operators are doing a good job in cities like Mangalore and Cochin. Once thousands of buses enter the roads the public will voluntarily give up their PVs and will opt for buses, thereby declogging the roads.

States like Madhya Pradesh have disbanded their RTCs and have allowed complete freedom of operation to private operators. Why can't we at least allow private bus operators to enter the transport scene in Bangalore?


pradeep's picture

Malini, I completely

Malini, I completely disagree with this. Its the private buses which drive like manaics..Moreover that they dont have time sense...they stop the bus until its fully filled.I still dont understand why Bangaloreans hate BMTC.. Its just that our feeling or mentality that whenever we want to go somewhere and go to bus stand the bus should be ready and empty..Whether you go in Private bus/car or BMTC finally you have to go on the same road and along the traffic no matter u go in private or public mode of transport.....On any holidays have you ever driven in Bangalore..infact you can reach any corner of blore in30mins or 1 hrs. or max 1.5hrs..Recently I had a chance to ride on bike from ITPL to EC within 1 hr that too on weekdays. I left ITPL exactly 11AM and reached my office in EC at 12.05 PM....

When we compare US traffic to Indian traffic..Indian traffic is much better....



“An act of charity by the citizens questions the worthiness of the government.” 

s_yajaman's picture

Malini - I would hesitate to go the Cochin way

When I used to go to Cochin in 2000/2001, the buses there used to drive recklessly.  In fact the only thing the buses were scared of were the fish trucks who drove even more recklessly.

The buses used to race each other to bus-stops to get a bigger share of passengers. Even if they did not kill anyone, their very presence on the roads does not engender a sense of safety. 

(Indians have  a very different sense of safety - as long as you don't knock down or kill someone, you have driven safely.  Defensive driving is non-existent.  Driving slowly through residential areas is for "sissies".  I have told off several people who drive fast in residential areas, including one driver who was taking me around and doing 70 kmph in a residential locality in Mysore.  They are offended that I underestimate their driving skills, but so be it).

Mixing profit,  illiterate/semi-literate drivers, congested roads is a deadly cocktail.  Many people in Delhi wish back for the days of the DTC.  Unless you bring in a regulation that for every death a private operator cause he pays up a fine of Rs.1 crore and a 30 day imprisonment for the CEO, you are inviting trouble. 




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

Naveen's picture

Suvarna Services


SB - Yr post about Suvarna services - when I had met CTM /Sharieff, he had stated that they had received many suggestions from the public (in response to ads) & they wud be finalising all aspects including routes /frequencies based on the same.

Thus, I think public have been involved in the process & hence the reserved seats, etc.


Gautamrao's picture

Heavy fines and compulsory use of speed governors

The only way for all commercial vehicles is the use of speed governors and heavy fines for any kind of violation. There should be checkings on a everyday basis and these squads should have residents of the locality as their members. This will prevent corruption. Volunteerism is the need of the hour!
Gautamrao's picture

I certainly dislike BMTC

Sir, I am a Bangalorean and was born and brought up here. I agree with you that private buses are driven recklessely and are filled to the maximum. They wait at stops until more people get in. But, this cannot be an excuse to perpetuate a monopoly in the name and style of "BMTC". Because, BMTC drivers (With exceptions) are no way different from the private drivers except that the private drivers want to make profit and the BMTC crew want to make fast bucks selling counterfeit tickets or by taking half the ticket cost and not selling the tickets at all! The also want to go home as soon as possible by cutting short the journey and trips. I am telling you this from my own personal experience and from the experience of my parents who have lived in Bangalore since 40 years now! The erstwhile "Awatar" of the present BMTC was called BTS and it was a rotten service.

So, what is the difference between the private drivers and BMTC fellows? The private drivers are courteous when it comes to their own passngers and the fare structure is reasonable when compared to BMTC which is a monopoly and has to face no competition. Also, private buses have no social obligation whereas BMTC caters to remote and non-profitable areas.

 So, what is the solution? The solution is to create a public transport regulatory body on the lines of the TRAI and IRDA and have an Ombudsman and the like. Private players should also be allowed to compete and they should have their roles cut out and their social obligations need to be spelt out. BMTC would continue to exist but as an independent corporate public body like BSNL or SBI and they should float shares. This is the way to go.

Gautamrao's picture

Agree with you partially

I agree with you partially. I agree that BMTC is a failure when it comes to encouraging public transport usage but I also don't agree the way Cochin is going. I have travelled in private buses and also in RTCs. Both are driven recklessly, however, the reasons for reckless driving are different. In the case of private buses, it is obvious - profit making. In the case of RTCs and BMTC buses, it is sheer boredom of drivers who look for some entertainment and hence indulge in races with their fellow drivers. Also, being Govt. employees, they care a damn for profits and hence they want to make maximum trips in the shortest time or avoid trips so that they can escape work and go back home to watch IPL matches!

 BMTC is ridden with corruption right from procurement of spare parts to selling of tickets and bus passes! So, the solution is to form a Public Transport Regulatory and Development Authority and make the rules and social obligations of both private and RTCs/ BMTC very clear. RTCs should be made into a public sector corporate like BSNL and SBI and shares should be floated. The entire regulatory structure should consists of Resident welfare associations and their members apart from the general public and the passengers. Checking squads should consist of RWA members and passengers.

Gautamrao's picture

Ideas Galore But The Govt. Is Unwilling To Implement Any

A long time back, I had written a letter with my suggestion to the BMTC comfort advisory board and I got a reply from one of the committe members that there are plently of ideas but there is no will to implement them and there is also a lot of politics.

So, can we decide on how to go about? An action plan rather than mere armchair discussions here. I have plenty of ideas and I see many people where who too have a lot of good suggestions.

BTW, I will give a few here:

1. If Volvos are undergoing loss, let BMTC come out with an integrated pass system for all its buses, ordinary, pushpak, suvarna, volvo etc. These passes should be much cheaper when compared to the actual fare.

2. Let the BMTC adopt the upgradation system followed in the Indian Railways and let Pushpak pass holders who buy a pass for a continuous period of 3 months get a FREE Volvo pass for the fourth month. Similarly, let there be a lottery scheme which is open and transparent that gives free Volvo passes for passengers for a period of two months.

3. Let the BMTC come out with 6 months and yearly passes apart from the regular daily, weekly and monthly passes. Let the cost of these yearly passes be very cheap and about 50% less in terms of proportion of expenditure when compared to the regular monthly passes. For example, if the monthly pass of Pushpak costs Rs500/-, let the yearly pass cost Rs3000/. Such passes taken for a continuous period of 2 years should be eligible for a FREE Volvo pass for a period of 3 months. INNOVATION IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL.

4. Let the Govt. bring in a rule to make it mandatory for BBMP tax payers and their spouses to buy BMTC passes irrespective of whether they use it or not. This is because of the traffic situation and to encourage public transport. Similarly, let registration of land be linked to BMTC passes.

5. Form a Public Transport Regulatory and Development Authority and open the doors for reputated companies to start private buses. Make the rules and social obligations clear to both private buses and BMTC.


Many More Ideas But Who Listens?

GNT's picture

A few more suggestions..

After travelling in BMTC buses for the last one week or so, I strongly suggest BMTC/Police/City officials to engage all the corporations that provide transportation to its employes to adhere to some basic rules of picking up and dropping off the employees.

 In my humble opinion, these company buses also should have designated bus stops and the corporation names that stop at these points be displayed. Right now, the buses seem to be stopping everywhere.

If you stand near Sun City and observe the BMTC buses, corporate buses, autos, and private taxis weave in and out of lanes, you will not know if you are watching Formula 1 racing or rush hour traffic in Bangalore.

I am not sure about BMTC buses having a separate lane, but autos should definitely have their own lane. The way some of these auto drivers are driving in this city is just pathetic. If you travel in these, you will think of Religion, God, your loved ones and your general health like blood pressure more than a few times before reaching your destination.


GNT's picture

A couple more suggestions

I am not sure what kind of rest areas BMTC provides to the drivers and conductors, but that should be looked into. I have seen a few times the drivers and conductors answering a nature call in public and that should be a total NO NO.

 Not just the 25 or so big bus stations, but even a smaller bus station (like RVCE bus stop, where some buses originate and end) should have provisions for these things.

And the Spitting by the drivers, conductors and the general public. If some one watches me from a distance while I am walking either from bus station to office or from home to bus station, they might think that I am training for triple jump or something. Man, that habit is so disgusting.

As Mr.Murali pointed out in another thread, CAN SOME ONE FIX THE BUS NUMBER BOARDS PLEASE? AND THE LIGHTING AROUND THESE BOARDS? (sorry for shouting.) I boarded a wrong bus recently because the front had a number and the back board had a completely different number. Is it really that difficult to have a good numbering system?

If the governing council (if such exists) of this body travels by city buses every day, they will improve such trivial issues fast.


Vasanth's picture

Fuel Cell Buses for BMTC

Most of the european countries are investing a lot on Fuel Cell Technology especially for buses. London has got around 100 fuel cell buses so does amsterdam, stuttgart etc.

Volvo does manufacture fuel cell buses. BMTC was the first organization to introduce Volvo city buses in the entire country. Most of the other cities all over country and even Mysore followed suit. Can BMTC be the first to introduce Fuel Cell powered Volvo.  Every other city will follow suite.

If you are thinking what is fuel cell technology, it uses hydrogen as the input either liquid or gas form, clubs with oxygen available in environment to produce electricity and heat. This electricity is used to charge the battery and run the car or bus. Output will be water freshly generated. No gases.

Gautamrao's picture

What can be done to improve Public Transport? These are my sugge

Friends, these are my suggestions. Please do comment on them. Many of them could be a repeat of what has already been expressed.

1. Formulate a Public Transport Regulatory and Development Authority [Like IRDA and TRAI] that will co-ordinate, regulate and popularise public transport throughout all urban centers including Bangalore.

2. Allow private sector to compete with BMTC and other similar RTCs in urban Karnataka. Let these urban RTCs float shares in the stock market to generate funds and reserve a quarter fo those shares for its own employees. [Finer modalities need to be discussed further and indepth with experts]. This would make the employees interested in the welfare of their RTCs since they would financially benefit from the profits.

3. Seperate/ dedicated lanes to be provided for buses in Bangalore and other cities where the road width is 80ft or more. This would ensure faster movement of buses, lesser accidents and popularisation of public transport along with more profit for bus companies.

4. Consider introduction of electric buses in Bangalore along the dedicated lanes. This would reduce pollution, improve speed and comfort. Transportation would become cheaper as the fuel that is powered is not fossil based. We don't have to worry everytime diesel becomes costlier.

5. Introduction of yearly, half-yearly passes along with monthly passes [Comprehensive]. These yearly passes may be linked to property ownership in the respective cities. In otherwords, if a person own a property, he/she is mandated by law to buy a yearly bus pass when he/she gets the porperty registers and when paying property tax. These yearly and half-yearly passes should be extremely cheap [Below Rs1000/- for a yearly pass payable in installments]. This becomes very economical for the public because of the low cost and companies can afford to sell them at that rate because of the economy of numbers/ scale.

6. Storm water drains run throughout the city. They are misused and dirty and are used for littering. They should be cleaned, de-salinated, and used for elevated Mono-Rail or any other form of railway system that it suits.

7. There are already many main-line railway tracks in Bangalore. One track leads towards Mysore, another towards Yeshwantpur from Bangalore city. Similarly, tracks run along Bangalore city - Cantonment, K.R.Puram, whitefield, Hosur, etc. Another loop from Yeshwantpur leads to Hebbal and beyond while the main line from Yeshwantpur leads to Tumkur. The railways should build atop these existing railway lines elevated train systems. This is a quick solution. The govt. need not acquire land at all. The existing railway system along with the train stations can be used. All they have to do is build atop these railway systems/ lines a seperate metro line system. It costs a fraction of what the Govt. is spending on Metro Railway.

8. Make an independent study of the railway systems across the world. Let the Govt. not stick to "Metro Railway" and "Mono-Railway" because there are better systems of railway in today's world. A google search will lead us to several railway systems that are in existence in the world.

9. To de-congest Bangalore and bring down the high cost of living, one important factor is transport. And, the govt. should extend existing railway systems [As expressed in point No.7] to nearly cities such as Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Hosur, Kolar etc. This would help in de-congestion and easing land demand in Bangalore city. Housing would be accessible to public because they can afford to travel long distances and still commute to Bangalore because of the improved railway system.

10. The existing Ring-Roads [Outer, Inner, Peripheral etc.] can be used to support a Rail System like MONO-RAIL or any light railway. Care should be taken not to disturb/ evict, or acquire properties of people living along the route. This is very important. Hence the idea/ suggetion of a MONO-RAIL or a Light Rail so that it is beneficial to both the public and same time doesn't disturb the residents.

11. Staggered office timings and school timings.

12. Encouragement of communication technology in the place of transport. This means that, local phone calls should be fixed for an hour, say, Re1/- for an hour of talk. This would restrict unnecessary travel within the city. People would prefer to talk over phone which costs a fraction of what they would have to spend by travelling.

13. Rationing of petrol and diesel. [Care should be taken that there is no misuse and corruption. Ambulances, Taxies, and others should be exempt from this or some other alternative should be made for them]



ssheragu's picture

hello vasanth your idea of

hello vasanth

your idea of fuel cell technology appears to be excellent with mostly pros & no cons

as you suggested BMTC which was the first to introduce volvo should also be the first o introduce fuel cell buses.

again praja can lead the way in this

Srinath Heragu

shashi kumar y's picture

old Practice by BMTC



Hi to all,


Well I agree with almost all of the comments posted regarding this article. 

The problem is becoz of the old practice followed by the BMTC senior officials regarding new routes introduction and survey.

BMTC officials are still thinking or imaginig the situation as that was present in the late 1990's.

For example: Consider the JP Nagar (3rd,4th,5th,6th,7th) phase at present. This area is lot improved and lot of apartments have come up along with PG's. Most of the residents who are located here now are IT people. 

But BMTC still think that the residents located here move towards so called MAJESTIC/MARKET/SHIVAJI NAGAR.

Not a single service ply to E-CITY or ITPL or for that matter to any other part of bangalore excepot the 3 location mentioned. 

When I called them(BMTC) and asked to introduce buses to that sector, the reply was " Their is no passengers from that locality to those places".


The same applies with the Bannergatta road(sector) that is between Bilekkahalli to Gotteigere. Between this strech, we see there are many apartments and PG's but BMTC is still in its old practise of route analyse.


Ther is many example like this to qoute.

Is any one hearing?????????? 

What I personally feel is, it is waste of time for us in posting comments or blogs as long as it is not read or considered seriously by the concerned officials of which ever dept it be.

dvsquare's picture

Exactly with Koramangala same problem... & other observations


I stay in koramangala, and earlier had to go from near Maharaja hotel to Outer Ring Road. And I am pretty sure that they are a lots and lots of people who have to either go to Outer Ring Road and Hosur Road (E. city), but irony is that there is not at all any good connectivity from Maharaja hotel or Koramangala 1st block to either of the ORR or E. City. To go to ORR, one has to take an auto or some other bus to Agra Lake and then take some 500 volvo bus. Similarly, to go to E. CIty, one has to go to Madivala. And when we talk about encouraging people to come out of their private 4-wheelers and tell them to board a fully-crowded bus till Agra or Madivala, to avoid that, if we tell them to board an auto and pay more than double the meter price or otherwise fight with that auto-guy, who will be encouraged to go by public transport. Govt has to make its own things a little attractive for those people who want a little comfort, they just only see AC, but as well they see the behaviour of the buses on the road as well. Here are few observations -

(1) If you give them good AC buses, but no last mile connectivity or even connectivity to the major residential areas, the purpose is defeated.

(2) If you give them good AC buses, but no shelter at the bus-stops, I am not talking about AC shelters, I am just talking about the shelters enough to protect them from sun and rain, if not much clean, atleast free from unwanted garbage. Again no point of those buses.

(3) If even you build those shelters, not 1 per stop but many of them(illegal), and even after that buses don't stop on those stops, now where would those people go.

(4) Good buses, but sometimes, lack of planning, I see many times, no AC buses on the road, and sometimes, a lot of them going empty, and many a times, I have seen 2 buses of the same 500C number at the same signal, and if that is not enough, I see another one coming just in 1 minute.

(5) Even the metro going to come, will not be able to serve the ORR office people at all.

There are many more such observations, I just pointed a few of them above.

bharatm's picture

Question is Effectiveness and Efficiency


As you have rightly pointed ( last comment) the issue is structure in which service is provided.  With this structure there are always gaps and hence we need to think in different way to provide the service at least some tools/applications to make it easier. One most important thing is schedule. 

Schedule is difficult to maintain as traffic is unpredictable(will need some IT systems and solvable issue). But can we stop 335E for standing idle at Marthahalli Signal ( for 5-10 mins, not sure of the reason). They start as soon as they see another one coming from behind.  Or Can we stop overtaking at the bus stops when it not only take lot of effort to take over a standing bus at bus Stop, it also obstruct other traffic for 30 secs or so. At peak time these are most inefficient because they waste lot signal time( Green Light time). These are some operational issues.

We should measure frequencies on actuals.Since average frequency is just proof that we are running buses. We forgot that we are running buses for public Transport and they should be evenly ( in specific pattern) spread.

Based on my observations there are lot of simple ways which can help BMTC to improve their efficiencies. It will also improve the effectiveness.


shashi kumar y's picture



@DVSQUARE & to all


Sir, the need of the hour is that BMTC needs first take all the area surveys and based upon the the observation(only realistic not imaginary or assumption), they need to deploy routes and the required no. of bus shelters. I have thought of a idea where with the help of COMPUTERIZATION & with using IT , we(praja) can certainly improve if we get backing from all the dept's(BMTC,BBMP,BDA,BTP).

Please don't quote that it is difficult to maintain trips with the traffic. It is the responsiblity of the BMTC to allot time(duration of travel) based on the reality.



Vasanth's picture

Mini A/C Buses to IT Areas

Why not BMTC not looking into Mini A/C buses. They had it earlier with Swaraj Mazdas, but had few issues. Why don't they take up with Major operators like Volvo / Mercedes / Marcopolo.

These mini A/C buses should connect to as many localities as possible. Bangaloreans are not willing to change buses due to bad footpath conditions, fast moving and pedestrain uncaring vehicles, bad junctions etc.Interchanges needs to be reduced as much as possible.

Also some of the buses which are connected to Market / Shivajinagar from every locality can be routed to these IT cenres. comment guidelines

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