I had written an email to BMTC Managing Director, K R Srinivasa, IAS, regarding various issues related to BMTC buses on June 29th. On July 8th, I got a reply from CTM Operations for the same. He replied, “BMTC appreciates your concern about the matters related to its operations and thanks for your valuable suggestions”. He provided a point by point reply with details of action taken.
1. General lack of punctuality with unreliable services: Bus timings are rarely maintained. Drivers are forced to follow the old time sheets in spite of the worsening traffic conditions and hence many drivers indulge in rash driving.
BMTC response: The scheduling of services is being done very scientifically and the frequency is distributed based on the actual requirements. Due to severe traffic congestion, there may be variations in timings of the operations. BMTC is deploying Traffic Controllers at high potential traffic origin and destination control points to monitor the timings and regular operation of the schedules. BMTC has more than 700 traffic supervisory staff to monitor the operations physically, besides monitoring by Sarathi Patrol Squads. In the last two years, we have revised the timings of 3500 schedules reducing the number of trips based on the actual requirements.
2. Services during early mornings, late evenings and off-peak hours are too few, erratic & unreliable. There are no school bus services (except contract buses) hence school children especially middle and lower middle class wait for long hours and commute with general public. Similarly many office goers would be waiting for buses for hours between 6 pm to 7-30 pm at places like MG Road, BBMP offices etc.
BMTC response: The distributions of trips are reduced in the nonpeak hour particularly in the early morning. Sufficient care has been taken to cater the needs of commuters, particularly during the late hours. Both the bus stops mentioned are highly density corridors and we have deployed Sarathi Road Patrol squads to monitor the operations.
3. Buses follow non-regular routes; no actions have been taken in spite of complaints. Some buses do not stop at designated stops.
BMTC response: BMTC operates 6000 buses with around 80,000 trips all over the city. We have a system of monitoring the operations through our 30 bus stations, 60 control Points and 10 TTMCs which all are manned by traffic supervisory staff and traffic controllers. Apart from this BMTC has recently introduced 3-tier system bifurcating the area into 5 divisions to have close monitoring of operations through the Divisional Officers. We have also 11 Sarathi squads to monitor the operation besides proper vehicle parking, discipline the crew, monitor the route deviations etc.
4. Too many routes and route numbers that confuse users. Alternative routes can be explored with consultation of public and traffic police.
BMTC response: Bangalore City unlike the other cities has developed radially. We have villages and suburban towns all around the city who expects identical bus (service) to their places. These buses are only concentrated on 12 Big-10 Routes which are going in & out from the city to different places. Though we have more route numbers numerically, around 350 of them are major routes. BMTC is making efforts to bring in destination-oriented buses through big-10 Services on 12 radial routes supported by Big Circle and feeder services.
BMTC has started the feeder service operations on 19 routes with 70 buses with effect from 26/06/2011 to improve the last mile connectivity in the outlying areas of Bangalore city. BMTC has drawn an action plan for operating feeder service to Bangalore metro.
5. Bunching up of buses – at a time many arrive and after that, there are no buses for long periods, especially on Sundays and holidays
BMTC response: Due to severe traffic congestion, we observe bunching.
6. TTMCs already in operation or those that are being built are at locations where BMTC has “land available”, and is not based on commuter needs.
7. Lack of information to commuters about when a bus will arrive (no GPS sets installed on buses to facilitate scroll boards at bus stations that announce arrival times, tracking, etc.).
BMTC response: BMTC is making several attempts to improve the PIS (Passenger Information System) by upgrading the Bus Stations, providing information at Bus Shelters. BMTC in coordination with BBMP (which owns the Bus Shelters) is embarking on an ambitious scheme under which all the bus stops will have a basic directional map and service information specific to that bus stop. This is being taken up on a phased manner in view of its mammoth nature.
8. Senior BMTC officials (except ticket inspectors) hardly travel in buses – except on Bus days hence they do not understand commuter’s problem in depth.
BMTC response: BMTC has already taken steps to deploy their field level officers on all important corridors & junctions to observe and monitor the operations.
Regarding Deployment of Volvo Services since they are high-end vehicles profitability and the load factor are the only criteria to operate such services.
9. Insufficient publicity & information on services, routes and other BMTC facilities, including on-line information.
10. Some destinations have too few Volvo services, whilst others appear to have too many, no proper survey is done. Before a route is introduced and there is no public consultation being held as there are no Commuter Forums in each depot.
BMTC response: BMTC is having “BMTC Commuters Advisory & facilitation Committee“, comprising of representatives from the BMTC management and representatives from the public. BMTC conducts meetings once in two months and also has interactions with the local residents associations individually and also along with local area representatives, MLAs, Corporators etc.
11. Rough Behaviors: Many bus drivers and conductors behave in a rude manner.
BMTC response: Having realized the importance of courteous behaviour on the part of BMTC staff who come in direct contact with commuters on a daily basis viz. the conductors, drivers etc., BMTC has instituted an in-house system that conducts reorientation courses. The aim is to inculcate commuter friendly attitude and polished, courteous behaviour in them.
12. BMTC runs many conductors less, single door buses, where it is difficult for passengers especially for ladies to enter and exit .The driver would be driving in one hand and issuing tickets in other hand which will lead to accidents.
BMTC response: Regarding Conductor less services, out of 5891 schedules BMTC is operating a very few of (only 200) chartered service schedules with Janapriyavahini Vehicles. These services are operated with exclusive trips to factories and schools. Only a few trips out of these services are operated on the routes during the nonpeak hours.