BANGALORE: After severe criticism by road users and traffic police on Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses’ penchant to break traffic rules, the BMTC finally introduced the concept of bus bays. Unfortunately, this has failed to regulate the parking of buses on the roads.
Bus bays are present at junctions like Corporation Circle, P Kalingarao Road, Mission Road, Residency Road (Near Mayo Hall), Bishop Cotton School, Nrupathunga Road, Jayadeva Hospital and BTM layout among other bus stops in the city. When City Express visited some prominent bus bays, it was found that only a few buses bothered to enter the bus bays. The others zoomed away after stopping in the middle of the road.
A student of SJBIT College Prakash Murugan narrated the everyday occurrence of having to sprint to catch the bus which for no known reason decided to stop outside the bay. It is a Catch-22 situation for them on most days. “If we wait inside the bus shelter, the buses we need never come towards the shelter; and if we wait outside the bays, the buses stop,” he says.
Dr K Mohanan Nambiar, the chief of Bangalore City Traffic Wardens Organisation explained the importance of buses halting in the designated bus bays. “Drivers must utilise the bus bays provided to them as the others on the road drive under the assumption that the buses are going to enter into the bay. But, if the drivers suddenly stop the vehicles on the road, then the traffic flow is affected and vehicles behind the buses are forced to brake suddenly, leading to accidents.”
When K Srinivasan, Managing Director of BMTC is questioned about this issue, he says, “Our drivers have to manage several things simultaneously while driving in this big city. They are forced to cross many hurdles through their journey. During peak traffic hours, some buses might cross the bay and halt if the bay is already lined with buses. We are conducting workshops and training sessions for our drivers regularly to increase awareness.”
He feels that the workshops will educate the drivers and create awareness on the possible traffic hazards of not halting in the allotted area. “Sarathi vehicles will monitor the city during the wee hours. They will slap fines on the drivers who do not follow the traffic rules by not entering the bays. The fines will be paid by us initially and which will later be recovered from those who violate the norms,” he adds.
Stressing on the importance of the Sarathi vehicles, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Dr M A Saleem says, “During the morning peak hours, Sarathi vehicles will keep a watch on the BMTC buses. In case of any violations, they will note down the number of the buses and impose the fine. This is one of the ways to lay stress on the BMTC to halt at the provided bus bays.”