BENGALURU: Thanks to advertisements on the side panels of BMTC buses, commuters have been finding it increasingly difficult to identify their alighting point.
It’s twice as much tougher for commuters who aren’t lucky enough to find a seat. The problem is further compounded by the lack of audio-visual announcements in most BMTC buses plying in the city.
With a yearly revenue of Rs 15 crore from advertisements, BMTC is in no hurry to lend an ear. “BMTC is charging one of the highest fares in the country but passengers who are standing in buses are unable to see the bus stops because of the advertisements on side panels. It’s just not worth it,” says Vanitha M, a regular BMTC passenger.
Many commuters complain that audio-visual announcements are restricted to AC Volvo buses. “This causes inconvenience to passengers, especially to those who are new to the city. We have to ask either the conductor or a fellow passenger to check if a stop has arrived,” says Rama Gowda, a resident of Shivajinagar.
In May 2016, BMTC had launched Intelligent Transport System which enables them to track buses on a real-time basis. However, most of the buses still don’t have an internal audio system to announce the next stop. The announcement facility is also expected to help differently-abled commuters. When contacted, a senior BMTC official admitted that advertisements on side panels of BMTC buses are causing inconvenience to passengers.
“We have given contracts to some firms to advertise on buses including side panels and back panels. The contract will expire on 2018. We are unlikely to allow them to put advertisements on side panels in future,” the official said. He said most of the AC buses have audio-visual announcements. “A few ordinary buses also have next stop announcement facility. We are planning to expand the facility to all the buses,” he said.