BMTC launches new routes connecting Sarjapur Road with E-City; is this what residents need?

PUBLIC TRANSPORT FOR BELLANDUR WARD

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New BMTC routes launched. In the image - MLC Rizwan Arshad, MLA N A Haris, Bellandur ward corporator Asha Suresh. Pic: Montu Makadia

BMTC has launched three new bus routes along the IT corridor, to service Sarjapur Road neighbourhoods. In a mini function today, MLA NA Haris, MLC Rizwan Arshad and Bellandur corporator Asha Suresh flagged off the new service.

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Two of the routes run in a loop to Electronic City – one in clockwise and the other in anti-clockwise direction – covering neighbourhoods like Kasavanahalli, Doddakannalli, Haralur and HSR Layout. The third route runs in a loop to Carmelaram Railway Station, covering Doddakannalli, Kadubisanahalli, Bellandur Gate and Kaikondrahalli.

Residents along Sarjapur Road have been demanding BMTC services to these areas. The Kasavanahalli Development Forum – a federation of RWAs in Kasavanahalli and Bellandur – has been asking elected representatives and BMTC officials to provide a minibus-based loop service.

Last October, as part of the ‘Save Bellandur’ campaign, around 10,000 people had participated in a silent protest demanding better public transport in Bellandur. Campaigners had also submitted a petition to the state’s Chief Secretary, T M Vijay Bhaskar.

This February 22nd, MLC Rizwan Arshad submitted a letter to MLA N A Haris, Chairman of BMTC, regarding residents’ demand for new routes. Accepting the request, Haris tweeted, “We at the BMTC Headquarters accepted the request from Arshad Rizwan to add 4 new bus routes to aid the IT/BT sector. Buses to the new routes will ply from the 28th of Feb 2019. This will further help in reducing traffic congestions in those areas.” Launch of the routes was postponed to March 5th later.

New BMTC routes

505-RElectronic City Wipro Campus – Electronic City – Konappana Agrahara – Hosa Road – Central Jail – Matha Amruthanandamayi College – Kasavanahalli – Kaikondrahalli – Doddakannalli  – Jn of Devarabisanahalli – Kadubisanahalli – Citylights Apartment – Jn of Sarjapur Road (Iblur) – Agara – CPWD Quarters – Somasundarapalya – Harlur – Kudlu – Hosa Road – Konappana Agrahara – Electronic City – Electronic City Wipro Campus

505-RA – Reverse of the above route

500-CC – Carmelaram Railway Station – Doddakannali – Jn of Devarabisanahalli – Kadubisanahalli – Citylights Apartment  – Jn of Sarjapur Road (Iblur) – Bellandur Gate – Kaikondrahalli – Doddakannalli – Carmelaram Railway Station

505-R

500-CC

Are residents satisfied with the new routes?

Though BMTC acceded to the residents’ requests, it has modified the proposed routes, especially in the case of the two Electronic City buses, leaving residents unhappy.

Residents had requested for routes that would cover the only IT corridor, so that traffic congestion would reduce along Sarjapur Road. “Our route plan was Electronic City – Haralur – ORR – turn back from Kadubisanahalli – Doddakannelli – Wipro Office in Sarjapur Road – Kasavanahalli – Hosa Road – back to Electronic City. The other route to Electronic City would be exact inverse of this,” says Vishnu Prasad, a member of Kasavanahalli Development Forum.

One of the routes requested by KDF (left) and actual route launched (right). Credit: Vishnu Prasad

However, the final route approved by BMTC is much longer. It also goes through residential areas like Somasundarapalya and HSR Layout, and the heavily congested Agara junction. As per BMTC’s trip schedule, the bus would take about two hours to cover the entire route during peak hours. Prasad opines that the current route is a recipe for failure. “If a person who goes to Electronic City by car, finds that the bus would add another 40 minutes to his travel time, he would not take the bus,” Prasad says.

The forum had also requested trips at high frequency. They wanted 34 trips for each of the Electronic City routes, one every 15 minutes during peak hours. For the Carmelaram route, the demand was to have 19 trips, only during the peak morning and evening hours. However, BMTC has approved only 10 and five trips respectively for the Electronic City buses 505R and 505RA. For the 500CC Carmelaram route, 11 trips have been approved.

Also, residents had requested for minibuses, since bigger buses have difficulty turning at Haralur, Kaikondrahalli and Doddakannelli junctions. However, it’s not minibuses, but regular-sized buses that will run in the new routes, confirmed Vishwanath K R, Chief Traffic Manager (Operation) at BMTC.

Vishwanath says that currently the routes have been approved on trial basis. “We have to consider many factors including cost, during approval. We will look at the public response to these routes, and then make further decisions,” he says. Meanwhile, the forum plans to have further discussions with Haris and Vishwanath on its concerns.

While the residents are largely happy with the Carmelaram bus route, their concern is that the bus timings have not been synced with the suburban rail timings. “There are many IT employees who come to Carmelaram by train, and take the auto to ORR or to Wipro office on Sarjapur Road. By syncing train and bus timings, last mile connectivity can be provided,” says Vishnu Prasad.

Lack of public transport

Sarjapur Road area has not been serviced by public transport in a long time. The 2016 map below by Sajjad Anwar, a Bengaluru-based programmer, shows how Southeast Bengaluru is poorly serviced. Other than the 500 series servicing the Outer Ring Road, and 342 series and G2 on Sarjapur Road, large swathes of sub-arterial roads and inner neighbourhoods have zero connectivity!

Source: http://datameet.org/2016/02/14/analysing-bangalores-bus-network/

Until a few years back, there were a few routes such 341A to Harlur, 341B to Kasavanahalli, and 341C to Halanayakanahalli, in this area. But the buses were infrequent and unpredictable. When the Haralur and Kasavanahalli junctions turns got blocked, buses could not turn right into the inner roads, and were forced to take an inconvenient U-turn a little ahead. At this point, BMTC stopped those routes entirely, instead of considering alternatives like minibuses.

This forced thousands of residents who lived in new apartment blocks to take out their two wheelers and cars, worsening the traffic congestion on these roads. Those who could not afford their own vehicles, especially migrant workers and the poor, used the so-called “share autos” that are unregulated and illegal. Else, they walked kilometres to get to the main Sarjapur Road or ORR.

What do residents want?

Recently, a survey tried to identify the needs of citizens living in the neighbourhood. Around 250 residents took the online survey and the following pattern was seen.

The orange home icons mark origin (residences), and blue icons mark the destination (workplaces). The survey is created by Open City, and was shared by local RWAs in their networks. Survey is ongoing – Click here to share your info.

The data captured thus far shows destinations ranging from Electronic City, Whitefield/ITPL, core city areas as well as the stretch along Outer Ring Road.

The new bus routes could help those traveling between ORR and Electronic City, even though the commute could be longer. Those traveling from Kasavanahalli Road to Marathahalli, Whitefield or beyond would have to go all the way to Kadubisanahalli through Doddakannalli to change buses for onward journey. Those who need to go west or north-west towards the centre of the city, would also need to change buses on Sarjapur Road.

While new bus routes are welcomed by residents, only frequency, dependable schedule and improved route can ensure the plan succeeds and the commuters living in these neighbourhoods start using BMTC, and help reduce congestion.

Note: Navya P K contributed to this article.


15 Comments

  1. The more things change, (in the case of Bengaluru) the more things become worse.

    None of the software companies pay their fair share of taxes. We can also add the politicians owned tech parks and real estate conglomerates to the tax evasion mix; and moreover the government run bmtc is only around to make sure that they prove public transport is a complete failure. I saw someone asking for Namma Metro. Why would namma metro be any different from bmtc? Right now it is unavoidable that the metro just has to run on the track and on schedule. Have you noticed that in all these years the coaches are packed at all times? And the design of the coaches are still suitable for European conditions? And that there is absolutely no support from bmtc for commuters who wish to use the metro – how many bus routes intersect the metro stations? Moral – stop trusting the government, they are not here to serve you. All you do is give them the opportunity to use your taxes to fund their pet projects in the guise of providing “public service”

  2. Very happy that BMTC has introduced new Bus Routes. However Koramangala which contributes high Tax amount to the Exchequer, do not have a direct Bus service to Bangalore Cantonment Station till now. The bus routes were not reviewed even though a lot of changes in this subarb have taken place in Thirty years.
    There is no Metro line from Koramangala in the Plans. I wish authorities turn their attention to this part of the City

  3. We need metro train service. These buses will hang on road due to heavy traffic and narrow road conditions. Not a great thing to start new buses. Improve infrastructure and expedite metro work. That is what is required. Improve and wide all the roads coming from different colonies/villages and joining to Sarjapura main road. BBMP please wake up and understand civillians actual requirements. We are paying heavy taxes and spending time on roads in traffic.

  4. Marathahalli to Electronic City
    Sir please provide bus Marathahalli Kadubeesanhalli Doddakannell ivillge Dommasndra gate, Muthanaluru gate Goppasndra gate Chandhapura e,city
    which is very much useful who are travailing e,city chandapura to Marathahalli presently in this route no buss are running public are in chandapura traveling via silkbord and ringroad which is very much traffic roads if buss available in this route it is very much use full for public

  5. This route that BMTC has implemented 505R & 505 RA will just not work. Please implement what residents want. By deviating the route from Haralur junction to go to somasundara palya, HSR & Agara, it will add at least 30 mins of travel time. Why would a person who needs to go to ORR from Haralur take the bus?
    BMTC, please implement what residents need and not what you want. Soon you will say that there is no patronage for this route and will be completely stopped.

  6. Bringdown a strict rule to make the buses.

    1.Stop exactly at the bus stops.
    2. Waiting time should be lessthan 1 min.
    3. Not morethan 2buses should be waited at the point.
    4. Private and BMTC buses are the main reason for creating traffic.

    This avoids more traffic in the peak hours.

    • And for God sake DO NOT create bus stops within 100m of any intersection as it creates chaos in all directions at the intersection. This rule is common in all international cities who are known for great public transit systems like Singapore and most European cities.

    • Absolutely agree with your points..same rules are followed in Mumbai..and there you will find BEST buses run smoothly without much issues.

    • I have experienced many BMTC drivers driving rashly.Please Please ensure BMTC follow rules. Traffic policing should increase in the city – be it throough cctv or manual policing… It s menace in Bengaluru

    • 1 minute halt is too much. It creates a chaotic backup behind the bus, which quickly exacerbates when several buses are halting for such long times. Halt just as long as it takes for passengers to board and alight, not a second more! This will bring down the average wait time to 20 seconds (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but its a lot, trust me). Thats what BEST buses do in Mumbai (well, they’re aggressive in the opposite direction, they wait for max 8-9 seconds!).

      But for this to work, BMTC should revoke the incentive system to staff that exists for ferrying more passengers. Its because of this incentive that BMTC staff make a bus wait at a busstop needlessly long, in the hope of taking in more passengers.

  7. Well, BMTC only need revinue. I am resident of Arakere Bannerghatta road, we had several busses to KBS and Shivajinagar as well as Market, but all the services are stopped. When I inquired the officials, they said the roads are narrow and ask us to complaint for BBMP, they don’t come and widen, later gave a suggestion to have mini bus, still there are no signs of it. When election is there, they will ply 2 busses just to let the people know that, there are bus services. But, the next day you will not see any busses,commuters are suffering by this. Elected representatives are fit for nothing.

  8. Thanks for detailing the original ask. RWA’s have done lot of research and based on the data points route map was proposed. With name of last mile connectivity BMTC have totally changed the route and they are asking residents to make it success. When the requirements was not considered how the product will be successful? At the end they will blame Residents.

Comments are closed.