Traffic in Bengaluru has always been a worrying issue for its residents over the past decade, and there seems to be no solution in sight for this long-standing problem.
This traffic congestion has been attributed to the growing number of private vehicles in the city over the years. Successive state governments and the numerous Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) councils have not floated workable solutions.
While experts have always stated that the humble bus can be used smartly to tackle the problem, there has been little effort to increase the fleet of buses in the city or optimise the existing routes.
While statistics from the Transport Department reveal that the number of vehicles rose on Bengaluru’s streets by over 23 lakh in the last four-and-a-half years, only 20 new buses were added to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s fleet in this time period.
In addition to the depleting fleet of the BMTC buses, the issue of high-ticket prices has also been an issue for worry for advocates of sustainability.
In fact, Bengaluru has the highest bus fares in the country, which make it unaffordable for many people.
While close to 50,000 vehicles were added on to the city’s streets in November 2019 alone, the number of buses remained still the same as older ones were pushed out of the fleet.
According to its own report, BMTC ridership dropped from 51.3 lakh in 2014-15 fiscal to 44.37 lakh in 17-18. Incidentally, a period of average discount of 29% in tickets resulted in the ridership shooting up by 43% within 15 days’ time for its AC buses.
This trend has forced the BMTC to be unreliable and led to a steep decrease in its patronage. The length of cancelled routes increased almost 200% over four years, from 241.6 lakh km in 2013-14 to 717.9 lakh km in 2017-18.
In fact, even when it comes to expanding the metro work, there have been multiple delays. Twelve years since the metro rail began , the ridership is only 4.5 lakh.