BENGALURU: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) seems to have put an 8-year-old tradition on the backburner for the near future.“Bus Day”, which was started amidst much fanfare in 2010, has been inconspicuously gone off the schedule for the past two months. While the monthly programme to boost the use of public transport could not be celebrated in May owing to the election code of conduct, the BMTC skipped bus day in June as well.
Since its start in 2010, for nearly 98 months, the BMTC observed the day without fail. Scheduled ideally for the 4th of every month, Bus Day was the result of brainstorming by the BMTC and civic groups like Praja.in who contributed to the start of the programme.
Since then, every month, the BMTC operated extra buses, announced new routes and offered discounts and other offers to entice people to leave their vehicles behind and take the bus to work every Bus Day.
Now, officials say that the entire programme needs an overhaul. “We are thinking of roping in some agencies to make Bus Day more prominent. Till then, it has been put on hold,” said a BMTC official.
The official further said in the past few years, Bus Day was failing to attract more passengers, which was one of the reasons for the move.
At one point in 2012, it was found that on Bus Day, BMTC’s ridership went up by as much as 10% and the city also witnessed a drop in air pollution and traffic on these days.The move now to temporarily stop the project has attracted its fair share of criticism. “What is the point of running a successful programme to the ground? It is good that they are looking to make it better, but stopping it is not a solution,” said a former BMTC official, who was involved in the project.
According to V Ponnuraj, Managing Director, BMTC, Bus Day has not been shelved, but is simply going through an overhaul. “We are not stopping it altogether ... but looking at ways to make it effective. If we do something, it must have a measurable impact, else there is no point in doing it.”Suggestions on how bus day can be made relevant again can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.