What does data tell Bengaluru on investing in public transport?

Congratulations to Namma Metro on completing one year of service on Phase I. Phase I has been a boon to (South-West) Bengaluru and with the addition of two new coaches to every train, it will lead to even more passengers using metro. Our gratitude to all the staff of Namma Metro for working hard to make this milestone happen.

We all know that the root cause of traffic problems in Bengaluru is the massive growth and lack of corresponding investment in public transport – other big cities had multiple modes of mass public transport – local trains in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata for many decades, for example; but, here we just had the bus until metro started running.

Even with Namma Metro now completing one full year of operations, the bus still reigns supreme in terms of carrying the load of Bengaluru.

Most people are still not aware of the numbers. Numbers are key for solutions.

The Metro carries 3.5 lakh footfalls/ number of tickets every day. The bus? 49 lakh every single day.

Revenue per day
Metro : ₹89 lakh. BMTC: ₹5 crores

The Metro carried out 12 crore personal trips in last year.
The bus? 180 crore!

How many buses do we have? 6800.

Just after a Metro train on Green line leaves during peak hour, a lot more people wait for the next train. Pic: Shree D N

When will metro reach Whitefield and the IT corridor? Airport? 2022 is the earliest estimate.

So we need more investment in the bus. Now, we need to get lot more buses and make them go faster and become cheaper.

Why faster? People use Metro because it is faster – way faster than car or bike. We can make bus go faster too, with priority lanes and preference at signals etc.

Why cheaper? When AC bus fares went down by 37%, BMTC had 42% more passengers and more revenues.

Imagine if all bus fares are cut by half as CfB has been demanding, it will lead to a lot more people using the bus and also bring more revenues to BMTC. The recent reports of increased fares due to diesel increase are depressing.

Our other demand was to double the bus fleet. It was partially accepted – 3000 new buses were promised including some electric buses but there is very little or no progress on this. This is one of the worst things our government has done all these years, while all the data and experts are screaming for lot more buses, we haven’t got any new buses in almost five years. Criminal negligence, in my humble opinion. The cost of doubling bus fleet is negligible compared to the tens of thousands of crores we are investing in Metro.

I see lot of people commenting “what took metro so long to get two new coaches?” Well, it is the same attitude. Lack of planning, lack of using available data for making decisions.

We also need suburban train and better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians and we need that central agency, UMTA which will look at all these modes of transport holistically and create strategic sustainable mobility plan for our city.

Is the new government going to do this?

It will, if we ask for it. LOUDLY.

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About Srinivas Alavilli 24 Articles
Srinivas Alavilli is a citizen activist based in Bengaluru, working on a variety of issues. He is the co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, and is currently Fellow at WRI India.

1 Comment

  1. The revenue generated in cities like Bengaluru is required to be ploughed back in reasonable proportion to make the lives of the city livable if not comfortable.
    Popular schemes to serve political interests are draining away resources from the City. This should be stopped.
    In a way life in villages is more comfortable today than in cities with citizen getting free doll out of almost all essentials like water, ration, electricity, education and on top of it the schemes for huge loan wavers periodically.
    4 to 5 deaths every day by accidents in Bengaluru alone, due to bad roads, traffic nightmares callousness of utility services is no issue for the Govt. as compared to few farmers suicides a year, which often are controversial for the cause of the death. While not to belittle the death of anybody especially the innocent farmers , all that is needed is to take seriously the accident deaths as well which are huge in numbers like 1000 plus an year.

    Even poor villagers coming to the city for selling their produce or buying things are put to lot of difficulties due to poor transport that turn deadlier at times.

    The city corporations should be given full powers to decide things for themselves with democratically elected representatives.Worldover big cities like London, New York , Tokyo etc are like a state/province for themselves with full power to decide rather than depending on the state government for all major policy decisions on infrastructure. This successful model should also be followed for Bengaluru and other cities of India.

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