BENGALURU: With the aim of monitoring permit violations by private buses and also easing traffic congestion in residential areas, the Transport Department will soon draw up fixed routes for intra-state stage carriage buses.
Most private operators got permits to operate as stage carriers at least six decades ago when there was mostly one trusted route to reach a destination. As the city expanded over the years, private operators have been diverting routes, passing through residential areas and picking up passengers along the route adding to congestion. Sometimes, they even serve as a parallel service to BMTC.
“We have decided to come up with dedicated route maps for intra-state stage carriage buses for the first time based on the recommendation of the Bengaluru Traffic Police. The routes will be finalised at the State Transport Authority (STA) meeting,” said Additional Commissioner for Transport H G Kumar.
However, this rule will not apply for contract carriages as the permits are not issued by Regional Transport Authority or STA. There are more than 260 intra-state and inter-state operators who have permits from RTA and STA.
A private stage carrier with a permit to ply between Bengaluru and Anekal doesn’t need to go to areas like HSR Layout, Puttenahalli and Banashankari to pick up passengers and then reach Anekal. “Private operators cannot deviate from the fixed routes once STA approves the proposal. This will reduce congestion, particularly in residential areas in the city,” said Kumar.
The city traffic police have welcomed the proposal. “Some private buses have been changing routes and stopping buses in congested stretches to take more passengers. And, they claim that they have the permit to operate from one point to another as there was no mention about a mandatory route,” said a senior traffic police officer.
Ban on entry of long-distance buses only on paper
While the city traffic police are pushing for a complete ban on entry of long-distance private buses in the city, it is unlikely to take off because of inadequate government land on outskirts to set up bus terminals. “We have identified parcels of land in the outlying areas to set up bus terminals for long-distance private buses to reduce traffic congestion in areas like Majestic and Kalasipalayam. But the government doesn’t have the money to purchase acres of land,” said a senior Transport Department official. Traffic police say private buses should be allowed to pick up and drop passengers only from the outskirts. However, private operators say this will cause inconvenience to passengers. But traffic police say, “The East-West Metro corridor is operational and North-South corridor will be functional by June-end. Private buses can stop in places where there is Metro connectivity. BMTC can also arrange feeder buses from Hosur.”