Much ahead of the November 1 deadline set by the Karnataka government to begin operations on dedicated bus lanes in Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Tuesday announced that the initiative would be functional from KR Puram to Marathhalli from Sunday itself as a pilot project.
BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar tweeted, “BBMP is building a priority bus lane on 12 high-density traffic corridors. On Oct 20, KR Puram-Marathhalli bus lane will be started. Request citizens to embrace public transport & leave behind their vehicles at home. A priority lane ensures faster commute and reduces congestion.”
#BBMP is building a priority bus lane on 12 high-density traffic corridors. On Oct 20, KR Puram-Marathhalli bus lane will be started. Request citizens to embrace public transport & leave behind their vehicles at home. A priority lane ensures faster commute & reduces congestion. pic.twitter.com/IaNozeqBx6
— B.H.Anil Kumar,IAS (@BBMPCOMM) October 15, 2019
The pilot operation as part of the joint project implemented by the BBMP, Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), and Bengaluru City Traffic Police (BTP) is expected to help the government assess problems on the ground prior to the commencement of full-fledged work from November 1.
BMTC MD C Shikha said, “We will be introducing 45 more buses from November 1 as full-fledged operations will begin via dedicated bus lanes on the Central Silk Board-Swamy Vivekananda Road route.”
A public consultation for the same was held last week where citizens, transport experts and activists aired their recommendations and suggestions.
According to BMTC officials, an increase of 1.5 lakh in daily ridership is expected once the entire bus priority lane is operational. At present, nearly 3.5 lakh commuters rely on public transport in Bengaluru, one among the few cities in India infamous for traffic congestion.
Experts have observed that the average speed of a bus driven via dedicated bus lanes might enable them to move at an average speed of 20 kmph during peak hours from the present 8-10 kmph.
According to the plan, the extreme left lane of high-density corridors will be dedicated to bus movement and other private vehicles, except ambulances, will be barred from entering them. However, officials behind the project have clarified that buses would be allowed to ply outside the dedicated lanes as well.
Physical segmentation of the lanes has been made already with small barricades and cones being laid across the route to prevent other vehicles from encroaching the lane.
At the same time, transport expert Sanjeev Dyamannavar pointed out that sensitising road users and bus commuters on the new initiative was quintessential before the full-fledged implementation of the scheme.
“Dedicated bus lanes will now disallow many to park vehicles on the side of the busy Outer Ring Road. Police personnel should ensure that such violators, including those carelessly leaving private rental bikes, are fined and confiscated promptly. Waterlogging on these roads should also be avoided as even a 10-minute blockage would worsen the situation for thousands of people,” he said.
Meanwhile, police officers from KR Puram traffic station have been asked to keep a check on encroachers on bus lanes. “Once the pilot runs begin, we will get to know better on the practical frequency and number of buses that ply on these roads and accordingly more personnel will be deployed to ensure smooth vehicular movement,” a traffic police officer said.
Earlier this month, Karnataka deputy chief minister and transport minister Laxman Savadi had instructed BBMP officials to build bus shelters and to provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure passengers have a smooth commute via dedicated bus lanes.
“The Bengaluru City Traffic Police (BTP) will look into the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act to decide on violation cases that will be charged on other private vehicles entering the bus priority lane,” he had said.