Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kudos BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation)

The Bangaloreans may have dozens of complaints about their public transport service, known as BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) but living outside Bangalore and after experiencing other State RTCs, I give better rating to BMTC, compared to the buses I see in Chennai or Hyderabad.
BMTC Women special bus
Photo of BMTC's women special bus (Still driven by male driver...)

Below are the reasons why I rate BMTC better than city buses of Hyderabad or Chennai.

BMTC is the only operator among Karnataka, AP and TN to run Volvo city buses [Details on Volvo City Bus Service here][Update: Chennai also has got Volvo City buses-details](Pune is another city where they have Volvo City buses)

Both Chennai and Hyderabad have local train facility which takes substantial load off bus service. Also there is share auto concept in these cities; hence the burden on bus service is less. But in Bengalooru, BMTC city buses have to serve people single-handedly, as no other economic alternatives are available for passengers.
BMTC Curitiba bus

Most of the BMTC buses have pneumatic doors which provide additional safety. Though this concept was introduced in BMTC years ago other states yet to follow suite.

BMTC buses are relatively new and well maintained compared to most of the aged buses we find in AP and TN

BMTC has wide range of vehicle in its fleet. The Volvo city buses, The PASS BUS (for only those who have passes), Women only buses, Pushpak and PE (Pro Environment) coaches, Vestibules, site seeing Curitiba buses, Swaraj Mazda rural service buses, Swaraj Mazda AC buses, among other types. (Hyderabad comes very close to B’lore in this aspect with Metro, Veera coaches besides Set-win services and Chennai has cut root services and reportedly more buses have been inducted there.) Still BMTC scores higher.

Note: My information about Chennai is around 8 months old based on my experience during Nov-05 till July 07. I’m not aware of latest happenings there. Any update provided in this regard will be incorporated in this review with acknowledgement)

BMTC has launched “Yelli Iddira” a SMS based service which tells commuters location of buses.

Despite high fuel prices, BMTC daily pass is still costing Rs 25, pretty cheap and in fact cheapest of all (August 2007 update: Daily pass costs Rs 30 now)

Bus stands (Bus terminals or Bus stops or waiting places) in Bangalore are better than those in Hyderabad or Chennai and are very well maintained. The one at Corporation circle even has a ceiling fan, powered eternally by wind energy!!!

In Chennai the conductor will not move from his seat. Everyone have to go to his seat and buy ticket. Both AP and Karnataka is much better in this aspect.

I appreciate the patience of BMTC drivers as they need to drive such heavy vehicles in Bangalore’s congested traffic, struggling between rash autos and negligent two wheelers.

The down side:
The ticket prices are very high in BMTC compared to other states, for a given distance. This is mainly because diesel is most expensive in Bangalore compared to TN or AP and partly because BMTC needs to recover its huge investments (in buses and infrastructure) by charging passengers extra.

Most of the waiting spots in Hyderabad and Chennai have a board listing the Bus numbers which will pass through that place. Except major terminals, this info is missing in Bangalore. (Info on what all route numbers pass through that place to reach different places. BMTC can display additional information to aid passengers. (For example, at corporation circle I need to wait at one place to go to Basavanagudi/market etc where as to go to Jayanagar/ Lalbagh/ JP Nagar I need to stand at a different place. A newcomer will never know this and will keep waiting at wrong place.)

I somehow am not comfortable with BMTCs cost cutting strategy of making the driver work as conductor. This puts extra strain on driver as he needs to ensure that all passengers bought ticket, lot of time spent in issuing tickets, collecting money, returning change, increasing the time taken for commuting.

Update: Nearly a hundred new buses have been inducted in Chennai with Hydraulic doors. Details here. Info courtesy: Logesh T

July 17 Update: APSRTC has introduced Ashok Leyland made CNG buses in Hyderabad. I think this is first time a CNG bus is being run in South India.

August 2012 Update: KSRTC has launched Volvo buses with chemical toilet and kitchen.

Related post: Chennai gets Volvo City buses * Surviving a KSRTC Volvo bus accident *


logesh tamilselvan said...

Hi Shrinidhi..
Yes! Chennai Metro bus fleet was aged till date.. and now the fleet is been replaced by brand new buses..
Couple of months back, around 50-80 new buses were launched with hydrolic doors etc..
Now again its been announced that 150 buses will be launched..Here's the news-->

logesh tamilselvan said...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Logesh
Will update the post with this info

Sandesh said...

the women special buses are running under loss is what i heard! they are full only during office hours! IT'll almost be empty during the rest of the hours! They need to find a work around to solve this problem!

The price hikes are inevitable coz of the fuel prices. There were some news to reduce as the fuel prices were slashed but the transport minister blew it away!

There were talks to introduce a half day pass for 15 rupees way long back on Jan 26th, still not active! Dunno when it'll be brought to action. These were some of the points i wanted to add!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the update...
its natural that loading factor will be at its peak during office hours. Cant help it much.

15RS half day pass would be nice idea...

Anonymous said...

"Both Chennai and Hyderabad have local train facility which takes substantial load off bus service. Also there is share auto concept in these cities; hence the burden on bus service is less. But in Bengalooru, BMTC city buses have to serve people single handedly, as no other economic alternatives are available for passengers."

That is a handicap. Not a strength.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes. My point was that BMTC is able to make up for the absense of local train to a reasonable extent.

Kp_Sumesh said...

HI Srinidhi
You missed out one more thing about the MTC buses,they have clear display of destination names in English as well as tamil,and the Route number is not written in the 'vernacular numerals'as in the case of BMTC.

This I think is the main USP for a transport org which is in the trasportation of all kinds of people coming to the city.

Best wishes

Sumaesh Lakshmunan

bus to genting said...

Kudos to BMTC for providing such useful services. You can know all about it from the post here