Jump in, BMTC buses have a social life

Short film on the city bus-service is seeing good response online. CE chats with the filmmaker

Published: 19th February 2017 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2017 03:13 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Love it or hate it, but admit it! You cannot call yourself a true-blue Bengalurean unless you have not taken a BMTC bus. BMTC is undoubtedly the lifeline of the city. But, most people, especially outsiders, have one question:”Why are the tickets priced so high?”
When compared to public transport systems in cities of other states, one must admit that the prices of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation are very high.

Dr Govind Gopakumar, an associate professor at Concordia University, in his documentary ‘Social Life of A Bus’ has tried to narrate the story of transport system in Bengaluru from a different perspective. He is also keen on getting the researchers to engage more closely with social stakeholders.
The film, which is available on YouTube, has so far received a good response from people.

Lack of Public Interest
The filmmaker says, “Buses are the single-most important mode of transport in Bengaluru but unfortunately in popular and official imagination urban mobility is largely defined through capital intensive projects such as metro or through private automobile-centric developments such as the recent steel flyover. As a result BMTC buses (except the airconditioned ones) rarely figure when we think about the city.

This lack of popular interest in bus transport has contributed to a predominantly managerial/administrative outlook to bus transportation in the city.”
“Bus transportation is run to maximise efficiency,” he says, adding that given the vital role of this transportation service, he thought it necessary to shed some light on it. “Film is such a powerful medium... I thought a film focusing on buses in Bengaluru would be appropriate.”

Diversity in Buses
Govind, through the movie, wants to catch the  attention of political leaders, policy makers and the general public. “Too many of them are enamoured by the glamour of metro and elevated roads to realize the value of the bus system they already have. A vastly more inclusive bus system that is budgetarily supported by the government (at a fraction of the cost of the metro) would eliminate the need for metros and elevated corridors.

Also, it is high time we get a bus system that reflects values other than the dominant utilitarian ones. We require a bus system that reflects and appreciates our diversities - urban poor, women traveling at any time of the day or night, mini buses in smaller roads and neighbourhoods etc. However, as a result of the shooting for this film I now have a much greater appreciation for the hard work and dedication of bus drivers and conductors who keep BMTC buses running,” he adds.
Watch a film Social Life of a Bus’ on You Tube.

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