BMTC’s new terminals miss the bus

A recent report by state government’s Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has exposed several problems with BMTC’s massive Traffic and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) project. TTMCs are jargon for the swanky new terminals BMTC is building around the city, 45 in all, of which 10 are completed. The cost of these 10 terminals is over Rs 450 cr. DULT comes under the Urban Development Department (UDD) of the state government.

For instance, only 15 buses can park in the Banashankari terminal at a time, giving each bus only 31 seconds in the bay during peak hours. This is considered stressful and much less than acceptable time to offload and load passengers.

The Banasankari Traffic and Transit Management Centre in southwest Bangalore. Two onlookers caught in the picture having the same colour combination on their shirts as BMTC choice of colours for the swanky new buildings. Pic: Pranav Nandan.

BMTC built ten TTMCs in 2007-2010 with partial JNNURM funding. The DULT report focuses on eight of these and highlights several problems with them. Design for the TTMCs was done by Bangalore-based Sundaram Consultants.

JNNURM

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was announced by the Government of India in 2005, to solve infrastructure problems in cities. TTMC got 35% of its funding from JNNURM, 15% from state government and 50% from BMTC.

All 10 terminals, except Banashankari TTMC, are functioning already. Banashankari TTMC is likely to be inaugurated by end of this month, says Palanetra Naik T K, Chief Civil Engineer at BMTC in-charge of TTMC projects. "Inauguration date will be decided after consulting New Delhi, as it has funded the project. Currently the bus stop in front of TTMC is operational," he says. In the next phase, five TTMCs will be built under PPP model; tenders for these are under process.

DULT report identifies issues like lack of pedestrian crossings, signage, poor design of entry/exit points, and lack of demand for car parking in TTMCs. Though there are Metro or railway stations close to some TTMCs (like in Banashankari, Vijayanagar and Yeshwanthpur), there is no pedestrian access to connect TTMCs to them. "When many Metro passengers alight in a station at a time, it will be difficult for them to cross roads to reach the TTMC, hence connectivity is necessary," say DULT officials.

Naik says that BMTC Managing Director will decide on implementing the recommendations. "TTMC is a new concept, so there may be mistakes. We will incorporate DULT’s recommendations in existing and upcoming projects," he says.

The swanky ten TTMCs

The first eight in this list were studied in the report.

Banashankari (located at the junction of Marenahalli Road and Kanakapura Main Road)
Bannerghatta (off Bannerghatta road, near Bannerghatta National Park)
Jayanagar (at Jayanagar 4th block adjacent to Eidgha Masjid)
Koramangala (adjacent to 80 ft road that connects Vivek Nagar and Airport Ring Road)
Vijayanagar (at the junction after Maruti Mandir, along Vijayanagar Chord Road)
Yeshwanthpur (at existing Yeshwanthpur junction bus stop)
Domlur (at Ulsoor road, off Old Airport road)
ITPL (at junction of Kundalahalli main road and Saibaba Hospital road)
Kengeri (along Mysore road, Kengeri Satellite Town)
Shantinagar (along KH road)

TTMCs are built in existing depot sites, or in the sites marked for Transport & Utilities in RMP (Revised Master Plan). "Sometimes site conditions are not compatible. The preliminary studies on TTMCs were done in 2005 and city has grown much since then," says Naik

TTMCs have dedicated bus terminal, depot, private vehicle parking facility and commercial establishments. Bus terminals are on the ground floor, except in Yeshwanthpur TTMC, where both ground and first floors are used for buses. Ground floor also has passenger amenities like shops, toilets etc. The upper floors may be rented out for commercial establishments or used for parking. Vijayanagar, Yeshwanthpur, Domlur and ITPL TTMCs have separate buildings for Multi Level Car Parking (MLCP) next to the bus terminals.

Lack of space within TTMC is an issue. In Jayanagar bus terminal, there are five passenger platforms, of which two are very narrow, about 1.5 m wide. Narrow platforms force passengers move across bus bays, heightening accident risk. The widest platform in this terminal is occupied by a separate seating facility for airport passengers. Though the number of airport passengers is far lesser than regular passengers, they are allotted more space.

Jayanagar, Banashankari and Vijayanagar TTMCs are located at junctions and the exit is such that buses join the junction directly, causing congestion and risk for pedestrians. Junction improvement is recommended in these cases.

In addition to this, the report says that the shape of some sites is odd (like in Banashankari and Jayanagar TTMCs), making it difficult for buses to move through. Many are not equipped to handle enough number of buses during peak hours. DULT recommends that Traffic and Transportation study should be done considering the impact when TTMC becomes operational. Purpose of trips – work, interchange, park n ride etc – should also be assessed to calculate demand.

Pic: Pranav Nandan.

 

Land acquisition and change in building structure has been proposed in Domlur and Vijayanagar TTMCs to facilitate smooth turning of buses. Domlur TTMC violates the RMP rule that a buffer zone of 50 m should be left around primary drains – the TTMC is located right next to a primary drain. Domlur TTMC is also located in the one-way Ulsoor road, off old Airport road. Only vehicles coming from the relatively less used Ulsoor road can use TTMC, causing it to operate below capacity.

The report also says commercial usage should be secondary to transit – a market study should be done before allocating commercial space. Parking space should be leased out separately rather than providing it for usage of commercial establishments.

BMTC’s response

In February 2011, BMTC responded to DULT’s recommendations, agreeing to accept some of them. It has agreed to provide pedestrian markings and signage, and in some cases proper entry/exit points. In Koramangala TTMC, BMTC has added a new bus bay and passenger platforms as per recommendations.

But majority of the responsibility has been shifted to other organisations. BMTC says BBMP is responsible for undertaking junction improvement and TTMC’s integration with Metro/railways. BBMP has been asked to build skywalks and subways to facilitate pedestrian road crossing. In cases where land acquisition has been proposed, BMTC is non-committal. Regarding the parking and transport studies that DULT recommends, BMTC says that the studies will be done once the TTMCs become operational.

A senior officer at DULT says on condition of anonymity, "various traffic studies are mandatory before and after constructing TTMCs, and these were not done. BMTC is an operating agency and not a planning authority, and were not aware of many studies. It has agreed to make small changes now, but not major capital investments to remedy the situation. Instead they shift this burden to BBMP, which already is a cash strapped agency."

Issues highlighted in the report

Pedestrian pathways

There are no proper pathways for pedestrians at entry and exit points, causing people to move in all directions. There is no signage to indicate direction of movement either. For example, in Jayanagar TTMC, there is no barricade between the TTMC and the main road (30th cross road) next to it. The TTMC in fact extends into the road – the footpath of the road is used as passenger platform and a part of the road is used by buses to load and offload passengers.

DULT Recommendation: Pedestrian entry and exit points should be marked and signage provided in and around TTMC; skywalks can be built. Subways are proposed at Koramangala and Yeshwanthpur TTMC for pedestrians.

Lack of proper entry and exit points for vehicles

Some TTMCs, like Yeshwanthpur TTMC, have the same entry/exit points for buses and private vehicles, creating conflict. In Vijayanagar TTMC, separate routes are provided for buses and MLCP, but the entry route for MLCP cuts across the exit route for buses.

Recommendations:
Traffic surveys to be done at all junctions and roads around TTMCs. If TTMCs are in junctions, junctions should be improved and direct exit of buses into junctions can be avoided.

No parking lots for Intermediate Public Transport (IPT)

IPT like autos and taxis are not given separate parking space. There is no separate parking space for non-motorized transport, like bicycles.

Recommendations:
Parking for two-wheelers, bicycles and IPT should be demarcated.

Parking lots remain unused

Parking demand assessment was not done – whatever space was left in TTMC, was allocated for parking. Opinion surveys on public willingness to use TTMCs were also not done. Parking space remains unused in many TTMCs and its MLCPs. Parking is often allowed in the streets near TTMCs, so demand for parking lots is low.

In Jayanagar, TTMC is opposite Jayanagar Shopping Complex which allows pay and park in its basement and ground floor. Public prefers the shopping complex’s parking lot, compared to TTMC’s less-accessible parking space on third floor.

On the other hand, parking area is inadequate in Koramangala TTMC. This TTMC has eight floors for commercial use, but only one basement designated for parking. This is violation of zoning regulations which mandate one parking lot per 50 sq m of built-up area (commercial built-up area here is 34,440 sq m).

Recommendations: Dynamic display should be done on number of parking lots available. Demand assessment for parking should be done and on-street parking prohibited on nearby roads.

Lack of integration with Metro/railways

Recommendation: Any TTMC proposed along Metro line should integrate Metro and TTMC – they should ideally be in the same building, with different levels for bus and Metro. Else they should have pedestrian connectivity through foot over bridge or subway.

About Navya P K 241 Articles

Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

1 Comment

  1. A good article and it portrays the poorly planned approach to most such infrastructure projects in the city. I hope you follow this up with the aftermath – how much of the DULT study influences / or gets implemented in the current /new such buildings.

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