BMTC wakes up to impact of traffic congestion

For lakhs of commuters who take public transport daily, the wait at the bus stand is one of uncertainty: when will the bus come?

Despite an app by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to help commuters plan their travel better, the problem of buses not following their schedules remains.

The reason, believes the public transport corporation, could be the gap between expectations and Bengaluru traffic.

To reverse this, BMTC is undertaking a ‘major exercise’ to synchronise its schedules with the issues faced by bus drivers in traffic-prone areas.

Out of the 6,300-odd schedules operated by BMTC, buses in over 3,000 routes exceed their ‘scheduled’ time, says V. Ponnuraj, Managing Director, BMTC.

An example cited is the Kempegowda Bus Stand to Kadugodi route, which is among the busiest for the transport corporation, but also passes through some of the most traffic congested areas in the city. While BMTC expects one bus to traverse the distance of over 25 km in 110 minutes, the actual travel time is close to 150 minutes.

“On many routes, the schedules had been decided nearly three years ago. They are now completely off-track… with increase in traffic, bus drivers are just not able to adhere to the schedule,” he said.

Pilot system

Using the Intelligent Transport System, BMTC has collected data on the time taken by buses on their routes, depending on the hour of the day (considering that Bengaluru’s traffic grinds to a halt during peak hours) and day of the week, and averaged it out over six months.

“We experimented with 175 schedules, and more than 95% of the routes adhere to the new schedules.

“We expect to complete the process for all the other routes within two months,” said Mr. Ponnuraj.

It is only after schedules are ‘rationalised’ that citizens can get some sort of certainty on their commute while BMTC can enforce better time management among their drivers.

This is not the only grouse that the public service has with Bengaluru’s infrastructure. Cancellation of trips due to blockage — either owing to road digging by civic authorities or other issues — has risen from 3.6% of all trips in April 2017 to 5.2% now.

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