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BMTC - It is all in the numbers

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BusPublic Transport

One of the easiest scheduling problems to solve is when time and route are known.  If the time and at least one (pickup or destination) is fixed, then it is even easier to schedule.  If a pickup and drop schedule for 100 people going to an office has to be designed, simply get the pickup points and put it on a map.  If the points are scattered, try to consolidate them in small groups based on the proximity to each other so that the route does not become a zigzag puzzle.    If the company has 5 vehicles with 25 people capacity, you have to create 5 optimal (best route possible in given conditions) routes which will bring the employees to work at a given time and drop them on given time.  This is what routinely done by school/company buses.

When this is implemented, at least 15 to 20 people will not use the company vehicles because of various reasons.  The stop is too far, the bus takes longer than personal vehicle, the schedule is rigid etc.  But, other 80 to 85 people are using the transport religiously.  Now, how do we solve the issue of people not using the bus?  Are we to see if the route can be changed?, or schedule is made flexible to accommodate everybody?     Or we just ignore them?.   It is all in the numbers.

If 80 percent of the people are happy with the service, then, don’t disturb that schedule.  But, it is not wise to ignore the other 20 percent also.  It is possible to carefully evaluate the problems of the other 20 percent and solve it.  For example providing the last mile connectivity and optimizing the routes etc.  This may bring another 10 percent people to company vehicle.

Now how does it apply to public transport? If 70% to 80 % of the travel is for work purpose, and if there is a fixed schedule for this large population, it is prudent to concentrate on this fixed schedule commuters and provide reliable service to them.  Other 20 to 30%, who do not fit the bill, may use personal vehicle or some other solution can be found.  But, the concentration of mass transport should be for this large population.  Now question arises, how to identify the time, pickup and destination points? The answer is, simply ask them.  Is it that simple? Yes.  You see, for a database system, 5,000,000 records is chump change.   A massive campaign can be done to collect that data, plotting this on the map, consolidate it zone-wise so that it gives fixed schedule transport requirement.   

Next step would be to find out if the BMTC has capacity to cater to this population.  If not, it is possible to use the spare capacity of company/private buses (there are 6000+ BMTC buses and 91,000 private buses in Bangalore).   Ok, is it too big a task to accomplish? Then start with IT corridors (there are only three major ones) and IT/BPO crowd which goes there about 4 to 5 lakhs in which 50 to 60% already use company transport.



idontspam's picture

Trunk & feeder system

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Maybe once the UID comes out it will be easier to make a geographic heat map using home & work pin codes. But regardless, it makes sense to first move into a trunk & feeder system. Once the trunk is on stream the feeders can be tweaked to connect areas in between 

Here is one example of how a crossways feeder while being a non-loop point to point service can connect trunk routes along the way.

Naveen's picture

Quite Right, but.....

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Yr articulations appear quite correct.

I think the no. for private buses (91,000) appears to be an error - this is a very huge number (9100 is more like it, I guess).

Anyway, the concern is that it's not 20% that have opted out of public transport. BMTC caters to about 42% of all daily trips. Whilst car users are about 6.6%, two-wheelers account for 29.4%, IPTs 11.6% & Bicycles /Walking account for the remaining 10.4% (as per CTTP-2007 report).

The problem is that the percentage of car & two-wheeler users is too high, & efforts have to be made to bring down their numbers.

ashfaq syed's picture


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@naveen you may be right about the buses but I read some report where 91,000 HTV's that may include trucks etc.

Actually, if the BMTC remains unreliable for long, even the 42% will come down. trunk and feeder system is the one they need to implement soon.    it is important to use the autos for the feeder system and confine them to local areas (some model needs to be worked out where the cost is reduced). 


there are 100,000 autos in bangalore and they drive about 120-140 kms per day.  25 -30% of the time they do empty runs.  they carry at an average 1.5 persons almost same as the two-wheeler but, take up double the road space.  A two-wheeler may run average 25 -30 kms and with so many autos, it is as good as having another 10 lakh two-wheelers on the road.   

kbsyed61's picture

Demand based services

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Thanks for the post. This is my summarization of your post.

  1. Routes, frequency and schedules should be based on demand rather than present day policy of arbitrary basis or populist measures.
  2. Autos/Taxis/Cabs all need to be align with mass PT system (Bus, Metro, CRS) etc. Define each one's role and territory.

In essence you are also of the same opinion as many Praja members in saying that:

  1. City needs a comprehensive Urban PT authority, plan and structure.
  2. Identify and define the needs
  3. Align the service providers for each of these needs based upon their capacity to handle the numbers.



ashfaq syed's picture

excellent summary

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@Syed,  you have summerized it very well.  as far as the urban pt authority is concerned, it should include NGO's, private and organizations like praja to be effective. if it is government only, it will go in the same way as BMTC bogged down in red tape.

murali772's picture

some more numbers

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@ Ashfaq - I expect you may find these numbers also quite relevant here.

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