Yesterday (Feb 4th) was Bus Day in Bangalore.
We were supposed to use public transport and I had been flooded with mails/forwards/pamphlets about Bus day. So much that I thought it would go pretty well and maybe there would be lesser traffic on the roads (if not cleaner, less pollluted air etc, as the pamphlets had suggested!).
Morning came, and I went to office as usual (in company bus, which I thought was public transport enough) and we were stuck in Airport Road for the same number of minutes that we are stuck every morning (if not a few more). We nearly hit (but never really hit) the same number of vehicles and pedestrians who were callously crossing the road few cms in front of our vehicle.
And did I see crowded buses? Nah! If you have stood at Adyar Depot at 8.30-9 in the morning (Aside: Why is it that we Indians can never tell the time accurately? I have never heard anyone say 4PM, only 4-4.30!), and tried to squeeze yourself into the lopsided 21H, you would know what a crowded bus is. But even by Bangalore standards, I don't think buses were any more crowded than usual. Not noticably.
Which makes me conclude the Bus day wasn't a success at all.
We know that, don't we? Lack of direct buses, infrequency, and of course, the fares. In Chennai, I can go pretty far (as in more than just walkable distances) on 5 bucks. Here, it takes me 5 from just Bhima Nagar to CMH (which I sometimes walk). Plus the conductors never know where to go. I have some infamous experiences of landing in the wrong places (and being late for office) because of misguiding conductors. And after 8.30 PM or so, the bus frequency drops to 40%, I think (I have waited for long long long times to get buses on otherwise popular routes!), which makes it necessary to take an auto.
Besides, there was no incentive as such to take the bus on Bus Day (unless you wanted to prove to your friends you were environment-friendly or something, which I don't think is all that motivating). BMTC could have subsidized rates for the day. Or increased frequency of buses. (I would prefer them to give a toffee to every passenger, but that is not economically feasible :( )
I don't know if BMTC is listening, though they have this survey. Since govt organization surveys are pretty much treated equal to kadalai-madikkara-paper, I guess not. But if they are, I hope they change Bangalore bus services at least slightly, so that Bus day is not just an over-hyped ineffective fiasco, but a real Bus Day.
And I do wish they start a follow-traffic-rules day! My heart is really exhausted with the BP shoots every time we are about to dash into a scooter gone mad on the roads.
Too much to ask for, I guess ....
Update--Check this link... I am surprised!