BANGALORE: The decision by Bangalore International Airport Limited to close down the airport between 10.30 am to 5.30 pm till April 3 has affected not only airline schedules but also the plans of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) as well.
BMTC, which runs an extensive service for passengers travelling to BIAL, has also had to take a long and hard look at its schedules in order to continue making a profit on the service. As the Airport is closed during the day, there is a definite drop in the number of passengers making it non-viable for BMTC to continue a similar service. “We have taken some steps to counter this issue. While the number of buses and trips remains the same, we have changed the frequencies to include more evening and night time schedules,” said M P Prabhudas, Chief Traffic Manager, (Operations), BMTC. According to him, The bus corporation currently runs around 600 trips to the Airport and he added that there has been no drop in profits until now. “We are still making a profit on the service. The only step required was to change the timings a bit until the airport opens again,” Prabhudas added. However ground realities show other pressing problems being faced by the BMTC at BIA. “I have been waiting for more than forty minutes for a bus now. I feel foolish that I let the previous bus go because there were no seats,” said Arvind, a visitor at BIAL.
Another issue being faced by the Corporation is poaching of passengers by ever vigilant taxi drivers. “They come into the bus stand and scare the passengers by telling them that there are no buses for the next hour. With their share rates more or less similar to our fares, a lot of passengers just share a cab instead,” said an official at the bus stand.
“The timings haven’t been updated on the website as well. This leads to a lot of confusion for people wanting to take the service to BIA. Thankfully, phone numbers have been provided for each route,” said Anbalagan, a regular commuter to BIA.
With around 15 days to go before services are scheduled to resume fully at the airport, BMTC is confident of being on top of the situation at hand. Passengers, who regularly use the service, however are hoping for a little more clarity on changed timings and services.