BENGALURU: Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is living on a hope. Already reeling under huge losses in its feeder bus services and with no assistance from the government, BMTC says it is willing to lease buses to BMRCL for the feeder services.
The current projected annual loss of feeder buses stands at `18 crore and BMTC may soon have to cut down on the number of buses if this continues. Left to rely on private vehicles, shared cab services and autorickshaws for last-mile connectivity, commuters too are hit by inadequate feeder services.
BMTC is hoping that BMRCL will operate feeder buses on the lines of New Delhi, where Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) operates feeder buses.
Among the many benefits of BMRCL operating feeder buses would be allowing passengers to use the same smart card for both Metro and feeder service. Also, Metro might have a free hand in charting routes of these buses and synchronising them with Metro timings.
Also, BMRCL is yet to provide enough parking space or bus bays for BMTC buses in most Metro stations. “We cannot halt buses at Metro stations for a long time because of inadequate parking space. If we stop buses for long, then it will create traffic congestion,” a BMTC driver near Trinity Metro station said.
BMTC and BMRCL are also at loggerheads over installation of passenger information system (PIS) at Metro stations. “We have been requesting BMRCL to set up PIS boards for estimated time of arrival of feeder buses in all Metro stations but they want us to install these,” the official added.
However, BMRCL is unlikely to implement the proposal since operating feeder buses will be an additional burden. When contacted, a senior BMRCL official said they have given parking spaces for buses in stations that have adequate land.
BMTC operates only 205 feeder buses in 29 routes and 3,142 trips to connect major Metro stations. However, it is small number for nearly 3 lakh passengers travelling in the two Metro lines daily.
CONDUCTOR-LESS BUSES TO CUT LOSS?
BMTC is also planning to operate conductor-less Metro feeder services to reduce operational loss. These buses will offer incentives to passengers with smart cards. This is not the first time BMTC has come up with the idea of conductor-less buses. In the late 90s, BMTC had introduced Pushpak buses. The driver would double up as conductor. But BMTC was forced to withdraw this after commuters complained that it was distracting the driver. BMTC officials says the driver-cum-conductor system will be effective this time because of the smart cards.