BENGALURU: All measures to reign in errant BMTC drivers seem to have failed, as the number of traffic violations involving the transport corporation’s buses have only been going up.
Padma Sreenivas, a frequent traveller on BMTC buses, said, “Despite repeated warnings the buses don’t stop at designated stops, and there are times when the buses stop in the middle of the road to pick up or drop passengers.”
BMTC buses have gained a notorious reputation among commuters in the city: Whenever a bus nears them in heavy traffic, a sense of danger envelopes them. Time and again, the buses have been tagged as ‘killer buses’.
However, the BMTC official spokesperson refuted these claims. He said, “BMTC services are regarded as the best in India. Year after year, we have won prizes for our performance. It is sad that despite the quality of our services, people tag our buses with adjectives like ‘killer’.”
Traffic expert M N Srihari, who is also an adviser to the State government on traffic issues, says that maintenance of buses, training of drivers and conduct of the crew has always been an issue with the corporation. “Till date, they have been unable to fix the problem of buses not stopping at designated stops,” he said.
BMTC claims that there are 8,000 bus stops within BMTC limits. Of them, only around 1,000 have bus shelters and about 300 have bus bays. Most places where there is a designated stop, the roads are narrow, and hence, whenever a bus halts, there is a traffic snarl.
“To top this, we have constantly been complaining to the traffic police about autorickshaws, two-wheelers and taxis stopping at BMTC bus stops, due to which buses are unable to turn properly. The buses have to operate under a schedule and they can’t wait for other traffic to clear and then use the bus stops,” said a BMTC spokesperson.
Srihari also agrees on this. He said the smooth operation of traffic is a collective responsibility, and bus stops should not be blocked by other vehicles. He said it is the duty of drivers to follow the rules, but BMTC drivers take pride in flouting norms.
BMTC officials claim that there are more than 10,000 drivers working with the corporation, and more than 6,500 buses operating on various routes within the city.
“The BMTC is doing its best to improve its reputation and over the years the accidents rates have come down,” they add.
An exclusive drivers’ training centre has come up at Vaddarahalli near Bengaluru to impart training to drivers to adopt the best driving skills. The fine for traffic violations is also paid by drivers and not the corporation.