With bus priority lanes in Bengaluru set to be fully operational soon, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) Wednesday branded buses running on the proposed routes as ‘Nimbus’. With the tagline ‘Commute Better’, all buses in these lanes will carry the Nimbus logo.
Explaining the initiative, Anupam Agarwal, Director of IT, security and vigilance of BMTC told Indianexpress.com that the branding was picked after top officials of the corporation came together to brainstorm ideas for the same.
“Branding our buses running on bus priority lanes would help to set the right mindset among drivers and conductors operating in the route. With the logo engraved in over 800 buses that would run on the routes, once it is fully operational, commuters will also be able to identify buses to these routes easily,” Agarwal said.
Meanwhile, the BMTC has also set on a digital outreach programme, trying to create a social media image on all major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“We observed that digital outreach is essential to ensure real-time contact with commuters using our services. This would enable users to share various concerns, suggestions and recommendations to us as well and would also help us take public-friendly decisions. While issues such as better routes, timings and frequency of buses deployed, the behaviour of staff, innovation in management, and many such will get a platform for discussion, we believe most concerns would be alleviated effectively,” he said.
The BMTC has also decided to paint all buses running on these lanes green “for uniformity reasons”. However, the AC Volvo Buses will remain blue in colour, according to officials.
Pilot run on bus lanes underway; challenges aplenty
As the pilot project on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) between KR Puram and Marathahalli is underway since Sunday, officials are now developing the infrastructure for the first phase of the project which is scheduled to begin from November 1.
However, bollards separating the bus lane, situated on the extreme left side of the road, have not been effective with other vehicles easily encroaching the bus lanes, resulting in minor accidents.
“While buses run faster than usual on these lanes, two-wheelers that try to cut across the bollards often get into accidental situations colliding with the buses. The tapes that were there between the bollards have come off after the first rains on Sunday itself and this seems to be ineffective,” Raja S, a bus commuter said.
Other problems identified in the pilot include lack of spaces for private vehicles to stop in between for passengers to enter. “Slow-moving vehicles are often in trouble these days. Also, there is hardly any space for cabs to pick up commuters now,” another person pointed out.
Many bollards have already been damaged by trespassing vehicles and removed by public disposing them on footpaths.
When contacted, BBMP officials said that the bollards will be chained when the lanes would become fully operational. “More bollards will be placed to reduce the gap disallowing other vehicles to encroach the lane,” the officer said.
“System is a joke in this city,” a user wrote on Twitter uploading a video showing other vehicles encroaching the lanes demarcated only for buses in Bengaluru.
Priority bus lane in #Bengaluru 😂😂😂
Wise from #BBMP to come up with priority lane for buses? Did they take into consideration these wiser mass who owns the streets of Bangalore?
— Barun Singhania (@singhaniatweets) October 22, 2019
According to the Bengaluru City Traffic Police, police officers from K R Puram traffic station have been asked to keep a check on encroachers on bus lanes. “More officers will be deployed to ensure smooth vehicular movement and to avoid untoward incidents till all road users get used to the change,” a traffic police officer from K R Puram traffic station said.
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.
The bus priority lane project is jointly implemented by the BBMP, Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), and the Bengaluru City Traffic Police (BTP).
According to Karnataka deputy chief minister C N Ashwathnarayan, the move is aimed at encouraging public transport among the growing population of the city in a bid to decongest traffic in Bengaluru. “With a dedicated bus lane made functional via key corridors of the city, more buses will be in service to ferry commuters easily, in lesser travel time,” he said.