In a bid to popularise the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the state government-run transport agency on Friday announced that Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar will be its brand ambassador.
To mark the occasion, the actor was visited by BMTC top brass at his Sadashivnagar residence. According to BMTC officials, NS Nandiesha Reddy, who is the chairman of BMTC had floated the idea. Based on that, the BMTC MD C Sikha, and Director of Vigilance and Security Anupam Agarwal along with Reddy approached the star who readily agreed.
Officials said the actor will support the cause of public transport on a pro-bono basis.
This move by the BMTC comes amidst proactive steps surrounding the city’s bus system.
On Wednesday, the BMTC along with the traffic police and BBMP had held a bus yatra to promote the ‘Nimbus’ which runs on the bus priority lane (BPL) on the Outer RIng Road between KR Puram and Silk Board.
Under this BPL system, the left lane of this entire stretch is reserved only for BMTC Nimbus buses. Nimbus is short for Nimma Bus, meaning ‘your bus’ in Kannada. This is done to ensure that BMTC buses travel faster, and people are motivated to ditch private vehicles in favour of the bus. This is aimed at ultimately reducing congestion and pollution. Vehicles, other than ambulances and fire engines, are liable to be fined if they stray onto this road, as per a notification issued by the Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao on November 15.
At present, with low awareness and lack of sufficient enforcement, the priority bus lane system has run into some issues, like instances of non-BMTC vehicles in the bus lane.
While efforts are on to sensitise people about the initiative, traffic police are expected to start levying fines on those violating the bus priority lane rules from next year. They will have to pay Rs 500 for the first offence, and Rs 1000 for subsequent offences.
The move for bus priority lanes also comes at a time when the daily ridership of BMTC was steadily falling over the years, from 51.3 lakh in 2014-15 to 36 lakh in 2018-19. At the same time, 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.