Enforce bus lane discipline, things will work out
As part of a decongestion strategy, the city was granted a bus priority lane on the outer ring road, and this was to be extended to other roads. However, there is now a huge demand to remove bus priority and even cycle lanes to free up more space for private vehicles on the outer ring road.
What should the government’s response be? The lane has the potential to transform public transport in a city struggling with an unprecedented increase in private vehicles. DH interacts with a cross-section of Bengalureans to get their perspective.
Shweta Kannur, a resident of Bellandur, has this to say: “I feel there is a serious lack of communication between government departments. I wonder how they expect the priority lanes for buses and bike lanes to work when construction of the metro line continues on the outer ring road.
She believes this indicates a lack of planning and a sheer waste of public money. “Bus drivers drive erratically, sometimes even in bus lanes. Improved and more public transport facilities with GPS tracking, proper training of bus drivers to follow lane discipline and the establishment of strict rules for drivers and the general public are some of the simple and easy solutions. .
Veeresh Shetty, Raptor Visa and Licensing Manager, notes, “This priority lane for buses on the Outer Ring Road and free lanes for bikes is a huge motivation for everyone to switch from private to mass transit.”
He shares one of his unpleasant experiences: “I used to go to the office by bike. But after an accident, I completely stopped using the bike. If more bike paths are created, people like me will be motivated to use them. I can also motivate my employees to do the same by giving them incentives. It will be a great benefit for their personal health, nature and it is also a way to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles.
“These days, I take the metro because it’s an easy means of transport. The same logic applies to bus priority lanes. Commuters will move to the bus if these lanes help them travel faster. Certainly, they wouldn’t want to take their cars out only to get stuck in traffic. Priority lanes for buses and bicycles will be a game-changer and will definitely be good for nature, traffic, health and, above all, will save everyone time,” he explains.
Jasmine Maani, Assistant Professor, says: “Creating a bus priority lane on ORR was commendable. But the emphasis must now be on the proper use of the lane and the discipline of other vehicles, despite the congestion.
Now that metro construction is accelerating on the ring road, bus travel has become a challenge, notes software engineer Roshan Amal. Construction sites are always clouded with dust during the summer. “These days we cannot find suitable bus stops on the ORR. People literally have to stand on the road in the middle of all that dust. Imagine how difficult it would be for old people and children.
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