BENGALURU: Friday saw significantly lesser traffic on the roads, and it is not just going to repeat on Saturday, but with a bigger problem. With much fewer public transport buses, cabs and autos on the roads, the commuters are bound to face a problem getting around the city on voting day. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which has diverted 1,493 of its total fleet of about 6,000 for election duty, will have disrupted services on Saturday. It has given out its buses to transport men and material related to the voting process, including transporting security personnel to the location of their duties across the city.
There are around 1.8 lakh autorickshaws in the city and a large number of these are likely to be unavailable in the morning as many auto drivers said they would be heading to the voting booths to cast their vote, many among them will be out of Bengaluru. Although autos are likely to resume their runs by late morning or early afternoon, it is likely that there would still be much fewer of them plying than on normal days.
Compounding the transport shortage is the fact that cabs attached to aggregators like Ola and Uber, too, will be in much shorter supply for the people to move around, despite it being a weekend. Although, there is no official statement from the cab aggregators, Ola driver Dinesh Kumar said, “There will be cab shortage due to election duty. It is a holiday tomorrow and a board will be put up. Those who still want to do duty can come but there are very fewer cabs expected.”
The aggregators have allowed their drivers from Bengaluru or other parts of Karnataka to take half or full day holiday to allow them to go and vote. Driver Raghuveer Meesi from Gulbarga, who has his car attached to Ola, said, “I am leaving tomorrow morning along with four more friends, we are going by car and will be returning the day after tomorrow. There are many more among us from Mandya, Mysore, and Ramanagaram who will be leaving today and returning on Sunday to resume duty. Many are going by train to their respective natives and will return after 2-4 days.”
Besides moving about the city, even leaving town by bus will be a problem. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which has a fleet size of over 8000 buses, has given between 3900 to 4000 buses for election-related duties. Services across several towns and cities in Karnataka will remain disrupted until counting is over.