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Public Transporation - Is there a better way to handle it?

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BusPublic Transport

Why do we see a huge number of people waiting for the bus at certain stops?

Why are people not opting for public transport?

Why is public transport not popular? Why do people choose to take their Cars and Bikes instead of the bus?

I am sure all the experts in this area know the answer to these questions.

Here are my observation and a possible solution to popularise public transport and make it the choice of everyone's convenience to travel.

VOLVOs, Big-10 are a great addition to BMTC. But a fundamental re-look at some of the following points will definitely make this mode of transport a great hit.

1. Can we move away from Hub-Spoke transportation system? And switch to Grid transportation system?

That is run big busses on the trunk routes all over Bangalore city and run smaller / mini busses in the inner / interior routes. Gird can run North-South-East-West direction covering the entire city. The grid should feed the mini but routes. Grid buses can ply at a regular frequency where people do not have to wait for a particular route bus.

The current problem is people have to go to KBS or Shivaji Nagar or KR Market to go to any other place. We need to move away from such a system of transportation. This puts a heavy load on these centers. For example, the bus terminals constructed in Shanti Nagar, Mysore Road are so deserted, I wonder how much of our hard-earned money has been wasted as tax there!

2.  Ticketing system: Let the ticketing system be based on duration of the journey. The validity of ticket can be 1 to 3 hours from the time it is issued and any number of transfers should be allowed within that time frame.

Let us issue the tickets before boarding the bus so that it eliminates the problem of not having adequate change in the bus and the subsequent fight with the conductor.

Of course there are other issues such as not having good footpath will discourage people not to take the bus as they do not prefer to walk on a bad footpath after getting down from the bus. Which is withing the reach of transportation reform??



srini_mr's picture

I can't agree more on

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I can't agree more on charging based on duration instead of length. Currently BMTC either indirectly forces you to buy expensive daily passes or shell out more money when you need to change a bus. More often than not people need to change buses and each change cost lot of money.

If you look at private buses operating in south Karnataka, they charge 30-40 ps per km while BMTC charges sometimes as much as Rs 5 (because of stupid stage concept). Even travelling 5 km distance with 3 buses can cost you as much as Rs 20-25.

I have strong objection for Volvo buses, they are highly cost in-effective. No one has looked at the cost benefit analysis. So called intra-city/low floor buses cost 80+ lakhs while Pushpak buses cost 16-17 lakhs. i.e 5 pushpak buses for every single volvo!!!

Isn't it ridiculous to pay 80+ lakh's on these called "low floor" buses? Same volvo inter-city buses (used by long distance operators) charges 40-45 lakhs. Incidentally both intra-city and inter-city volvos are B7R models. Inter city B7R have more luxurious interiors like recljning seats, music system/TV etc.

Low floor buses also have very uneven floor, have big steps inside, need to climb a step to get into seats, have very poor legroom, hand rail is very high for standing passengers and with frequent breaking, standing and travelling becomes hell as you will start swinging.

Obviously Volvo's have nice AC, good shocks but definitely these features doesn't justify sky high prices for these. You can easily put A/Cs for Pushpak's (perhaps might cost additional 4-5 laksh?).

Pushpak's have better seats (more reclined, softer), better leg room, even floors.

BMTC should stop burning money on white elephants called Volvos, instead run -

1. Ordinary buses 2. Pushpaks (with double doors like ordinary buses) 3. A/C pushpaks.

Fair prices for these buses is Min Rs 5 for AC Pushpak, R 3 for Pushpak,  Rs 2 for ordinary. For every 2 km addition, fare can be increased by Rs 2, 1, 1 for 3 kms.

Alternatively Rs 15/10/8 for 2 hour pass. 

Big10/Suvarna/Atal Saarige etc need to be discontinued as they are confusing the travellers. Despite the claim of BMTC of having "Air Suspension", Big10 or Suvarna have no better shocks or seats.

Did you observe that Big10/Suvarna are trying to mimic volvo on exterior design but have goofed-up on the windows. They have small sliding windows and makes extremely hot during summer. Also the sliding support bar for the window comes right at the eye-level and people sitting can't easily see the outside.



silkboard's picture

2 point prescription - perfect

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Wecome to Praja, and that is a pretty mature post. Instead of getting distracted into deeper prescriptions of sort many fall far, you have summed it up nicely via 2 basic and most important prescriptions - routing and ticketing reforms.

Move to a matrix model seems to be in progress as we speak,though instead of multiple N-S and E-W lines making a matrix, BMTC has a radial/angular version in the works. Big10 (radial arms) need the rings and possibly the "through" (radial routes become diameter routes) routes to give us a matrix of sorts.

Of course, there are tons of things to fix - local area/last mile, consolidation/elimination of differential types, quality of bus stands/pavements, facilitating interchange at points where routes cross/interconnect etc.

Liked the way you called out 2 areas, one of which, every analytical mind on this forum thinks to be the first thing to fix (routing).



skumaras's picture

Some pluses of low floor buses

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I will agree with a number of points that have been raised about the Volvo such as it being expensive compared to the pushpaks. I also agree that the seats could be more comfortable than what it currently is. But I need to point out a couple of advantages that Volvos have which really makes a difference.

The Volvos are low floor at least from the point of view the passengers getting in and out of the bus (even though you need to climb some steps to reach the rear seats). And they have really wide doors. This allows the passengers to get in and out very quickly. They also have a much more powerful engine than the Pushpaks. This allows them to make frequent stops and yet maintain a good pace. I use the Volvos regularly and have found that during my journey from ITPL to my home that they can easily keep pace with the two wheelers and most of the four wheelers on the road in spite of making frequent stops.

Please note that I have no particular preference for Volvos. If any other company can produce at a lesser cost, a bus with a low floor and a powerful engine comparable to the Volvos, then BMTC should certainly go for it. But my understanding is that they evaluated the TATA Marco-polos and were not happy with its performance.

And we cannot just assume that it is possible to replace one Volvo with 5 Pushpaks, There are lots of costs to running a bus other than the initial procurement costs. There are significant costs related to running each schedule like the wages of the staff, cost of fuel, maintenance etc.

BMTC have been running Pushpaks for the past several years. However only after introducing the Volvos were they able to get a significant section of two wheeler and four wheeler users to switch to using public transportation. It may not be very evident to everyone that this is happening. But you just need to stand somewhere near Marathahalli in the evening to notice this. Between 5:00 and 8:00 in the evening there are a large number of Volvos running on this route and all of them are fully packed with hardly any space to even stand in the bus. I am surprised that people are willing to pay a premium price and yet stand through most of their journey. I am sure that if you replace these Volvos with regular Pushpaks, half of their regular users will switch back to their private vehicles.

By the way I need to point out that BMTC already runs many services which doesn't touch KBS. The 500 series running on the outer ring road and to ITPL are an example. And if you count the Big10 serivi ces they seem to have made a start with providing grid like services.

sanchitnis's picture

volvos are good, but sohuld not be at the expense of other buses

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Volvos are definitely good for a specific segment of commuters. However, investments, subsidies paid and the cost of operation (inclusive of depreciation etc.) for volvos Vs Ordniary buses should be transparent to everyone. 


nagrajprabhu's picture

Transportation - My response.

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Dear All:

I think it is not about how the buses are designed, be it Volvo or Big-10 or the good old plain old Blue BMTC buses..

If the system itself is good, none of the above really matter.

Volvo as one of us mentioned is good of a certain segment of the society. But when the time is so precious people do not hesitate to take the 25 Rs ticket instead of the 7 Rs ticket to reach the place sooner in the comfort of the air condition of Volvo.

The matrix grid system is something that if implemented will definitely avoid the swelling crowd at key junction points and in the BMTC must have a citizen charter where they define that the average wait period at any junction point to change over to another feeder system is not more than 4-5 minutes at the max. Is it impossible? I really do not think so.

I am very sure the traffic advisor Sreehari will read this post and I am more than willing to join a brainstorming session to implement such a solution.

I am very sure if such a system is implemented, where customer is the key focus to deliver the service it definitely is going to be a success even if it costs a bit more.

Also, I am sure if we request great personalities like Rahul Dravid, Kiran Majumdar or Anil Kumble etc to ride the bus to show how convenient the new system is, everyone would like to try it out.

The areas such as fixing the footpath etc is definitely that we should look as part of JNNURM, ABIDe and many such forums where the great people put their mind together.

I think it is at the end of the day the political will to implement any suggestion that flows from the wise men.

Let us be the change we want to see!



Nagraj Prabhu
Be the change you want to see!

srini_mr's picture

Actually there are buses

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Actually there are buses already plying in grid (201 etc) , circular (205, 500, 501, 600, 601), spiral (410, 411) etc - it is not quite well publicized or not convenient from cost point of view and inconvenient to change buses frequently during peak hours as they are extremely crowded.

To make people to use of switching buses instead of going to KBS/Shivaji Nagar/Market -

1. Fare need to be based on duration allowing unlimited switch within that period (2 or 3 hours). Such 2-hourly pass needs to be reasonably priced.

2. Increase the buses during the peak hour (7.30AM to 10.30 AM) and 4 to 9 PM. Currently maximum buses ply between 10.30 AM and 5.30 (General shift is 10-6) PM which was peak period 20 years back when Govt was main employer, people could reach places within 20-30 mins.

My main point is that capital needs to be used wisely otherwise BMTC will keep increasing already high fare (please note that vast majority have take home income of 10,000-15000 unlike IT and other few well paying jobs/businesses and can't afford high fares). 

I can't agree more on wasting money on bus stations like Shanti Nagar and Kengeri. Only benefit is that they are giving some additional income in commercial rents. Despite their least effective use why is BMTC still building so many fancy bus stations? Good thing I see with these new bus stations is you will have decent toilets, some sitting place when you are really tired and better bus bays

Another waste is new bus shelters built by BDA/BMTC - they don't give any protection from sun, wind or rain, some brain dead architect has designed these shelters. The roofs need to be more traditionally sloped and wider to do their job.

I think priority should be to build smaller but more functional bus stations with good toilets, bus bays and reasonable seats/standing place at major junctions - Silk Board, Marathahally, Jalahally cross, Hebbal junction, KR Puram, Jayadeva Hospital, MG Road etc.

On Volvos - definitely they are very powerful and sometimes that power intoxicates the driver. They tailgate other vehicles and scare small vehicle drivers. I don't think having more power is cutting down the travel time.

Yes, Volvos have converted many personal vehicle users to buses but vast majority of the users of these buses are from other buses (like riders of company, ITPL and other BMTC buses), they are ready to shell out some more money for A/C and less noisy ride.

I am extremely sympethic to BMTC drivers, they are doing tremendous job driving heavy vehicles with age old controls in narrow, congested, crowded roads. All buses at least new buses should have power steering, power breaks and smoother gear boxes, BMTC can spend little more money and push suppliers to do it.

BMTC can give near (or better) Volvo level comfort at much lower costs to company and commuters.

Note that traditional buses from Ashok Leyland, Eicher, Tata have proven track for several decades, they run very cost effectively for long periods ( 5+ lakh kms without major overhaul). Volvo is yet to prove that. Also these local manufacturers have higher powered engines though not comparable to Volvos. Traditional buses struggle bit when they are overloaded with 80+ passengers.

My main crib about Volvos is that they are extremely cost in-effective and in order to make-up loss with these expensive buses, BMTC will jack-up prices for all buses. Essentially it will punish lower middle class/poor which form majority bus users for the benefit of minority upper middle class who are really minority users.

murali772's picture

sure about the figures?

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@Srini_mr -

Isn't it ridiculous to pay 80+ lakh's on these called "low floor" buses? Same volvo inter-city buses (used by long distance operators) charges 40-45 lakhs. Incidentally both intra-city and inter-city volvos are B7R models. Inter city B7R have more luxurious interiors like recljning seats, music system/TV etc.

Are you saying that BMTC is being billed almost double (compared to the private long distance operators) for the low-floor modification, but, minus the better seating, interiors, etc? How sure are you of these figures?

Further, 'public bus transport services' is a subject that has been discussed widely on PRAJA, from inception, almost two years back. May be the participants in this debate would like to go through some of the earlier debates - to begin with this.  

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

  srini_mr, please have a

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please have a look at this hotly debated version on how BMTC is going in the wrong direction in its misadventures through invdesting in hi-end red dragon Volvos, Macropolos and Mercs for pleasing a section of commuters who use these services as 'a spare tyre' and majority of these road space gobblers will be running half loaded.

According to BMTC sources these behemoths (Rs.80 lacs, Rs.52 lakhs, Rs.45 lakhs etc.,) are actually making BMTC bottom ..... red for the third year in succession with Rs.3.48 crores loss - AND AT WHOSE COST?

- Instead of catering to the minimum needs of aam aadmi who is the major 'rotti and chutney' provider for BMTC, subsidising Volvo at the cost of that poor man is one thing that is not fathomable.

- Vasanth Mysoremath

pathykv's picture

BMTC Costs

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Will any one in the know of things respond?

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