With the public objecting to a recent move to pull down old bus shelters and replace them with new ones, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has now ordered the private firms (who were awarded the contracts) to stop dismantling these shelters temporarily. (Bus shelters are also called bus stands.)
In a decision taken about ten days ago, after media reports and objections from citizens, the advertisement department of the BBMP has decided to first conduct an inspection before proceeding with the work. Says Hari Narayan, Assistant Executive Engineer, Advertisement department, "We have told them not to dismantle until joint inspection. Wherever they have already removed, work will continue."
Narayan says the BBMP’s plans were to change all the bus shelters to a similar model and that was why these bus shelters were being pulled down. These new bus shelters are Model D which comes with a kiosk and side panels. The older ones are Models A, B or C.
In October 2009, the BBMP’s Advertisement department had called for tenders to build 288 bus shelters in the city. Of these 230 bus shelters will replace old ones while the remaining are at new locations. These tenders were awarded in December 2009 to five firms – Skyline, Vantage, Movva, Ripple Media and OOH.
The traffic police objected to putting up a bus shelter close to the circle on Museum Road. Work has been stalled temporarily, on BBMP orders.
Even as the advertisers began work on them, members of the public started objecting to it. Narayan explains that there have been several objections to the location of the bus shelters. While in some places, shopkeepers objected to bus shelters in front of their shops, in other places drainage work has prevented the advertisers from installing the bus shelter.
On Museum Road, near the head office of the State bank of India, the advertisers had already started work on erecting the bus shelter. But Narayan says that the traffic police objected to this as it was too close to the circle and will affect traffic. "They asked us to build it a few metres behind", he says. Previously, the bus shelter on this road was on the right hand side. Since the road is a one-way, the BBMP decided to build it on the left hand side.
Similarly on Brigade Road, Narayan says that a developer objected to the bus shelter proposed to be put up just outside his property near Eva Mall.
On Cunningham Road, businesspersons and shop keepers are objecting to the bus shelter opposite Sigma mall.
The BBMP has therefore decided to stall the work. "We will do an inspection. This can be done only next month after the elections are over", says Narayan.
The BBMP has also received complaints from citizens that bus shelters that are in good condition are also being torn down.
So far around 50 to 60 bus shelters have been replaced with these new models. The remaining will be completed once the BBMP meets next month.
BMTC in-charge of bus shelters after contracts expire
Meanwhile, these are also the last set of bus shelters that are being constructed and will be managed by the BBMP. The state government has recently taken a decision to hand over responsibility for building and maintaining bus shelters to the BMTC. Once the current contracts expire, the BMTC will take over and call for new tenders. Narayan confirms that the BBMP’s advertisement department will not be in-charge of the bus shelters after that.
For these 288 bus shelters, the private firms will maintain it for the next five years. This includes arranging to clean the bus shelters and surroundings twice daily, repairing any damage, illumination at night and to protect the shelters from vandalism by arranging security to protect them with all amenities, fixtures and advertisements.
For the time being however, the BBMP has taken a decision to stall work on this project temporarily.