Bengaluru: Spurred by the partial success of the priority bus lane, citizens have hit upon the idea of NimBus Express Yatra beginning Wednesday to encourage increased use of public transport. A consortium of citizen groups has given a call to all the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and private vehicle users to shun their vehicles and to catch the buses which ply on the lane.
The bus priority lane is seen as a fight against Bengaluru’s burgeoning traffic and the objective of NimBus Yatra is to raise awareness and encourage compliance so that bus commute becomes a habit and success of which can be a model for adoption across the city. Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), along with Bus Prayaneekara Vedike (BBPV), Whitefield Rising (WR) and Bellandur Jothege (BJ), has announced #NimbusExpress Yatra initiative.
The bus priority lane runs along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in what is known as the IT corridor which is notoriously jam packed with private vehicles. The stretch experiences long delays in traversing the distance but also in exiting to parking lots causing pollution and thereby affecting health, morale and productivity.
Citizen groups are eager to see the success of ORR bus priority lane that encourages use of public transport to work.
Volunteers seek support
A large number of volunteers and techies held placards as they took part in a pre-event on Tuesday urging people to leave their vehicles behind and to catch the buses which are safer. Looking at the enthusiasm, a large number of people readily agreed to the request and were ready for the challenge to be part of NamBus Yatra to make it a grand success.
Mr Srinivas Alavalli from Citizens for Bengaluru told Deccan Chronicle that a country can be called a developed nation not when poor people drive cars, but when rich people commute in buses or trains. That should be made a success in Bengaluru too, he said.
Buses carry a lot more people (70 at a time) and they deserve to have more access to the road space. Each bus takes up space of three cars, but carries the capacity of 30 cars. Buses are the best available solution to ferry more people, he explained.
This allows more commuters to reach their workplaces faster, improve their morale and productivity and their work-life balance, he added.
Appeal to CEOs
An appeal has been sent out to all the CEOs to leave back their swanky and long cars behind to be part of NimBus Express Yatra. Can CEOs ditch their cars is the challenge. Already, a huge bunch of IAS officers have confirmed their participation. Some of the officers who have given their assent include MD and Chairman of BMTC, City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, officials of BBMP and DULT along with noted musicians.
Advantages of using bus priority lane
As car and motorbike users realise this, they may also be incentivised to switch to the faster, less-stressful buses. This will reduce the volume of vehicles and reduce traffic congestion and jams. As the speed of buses improves, they can complete more trips and be available to commuters more frequently.
This in turn, directly improves air quality along that entire 22 km corridor, reducing pollution and positively impacting health.
Buses serve a majority of travelling Bengalureans. They also serve all demographics of commuters, including daily wagers, security guards, vendors, students and IT employees. Prioritising a lane for the bus ensures a more equitable use of road space, which is a common, public resource to all, regardless of economic strata. Cars and motorbikes appropriating all the space starves other passengers unfairly. More bus lanes are needed in all major road corridors.
Recent commuter experiments, conducted over multiple days of the week, have shown that the buses running on the priority lane take less time than a private car to travel from K.R. Puram to Ecospace on the ORR, during peak hours in the morning.
This validates and confirms the need for dedicated bus lane corridors to reduce congestion, improve commute time and air quality.
The NimBus Express Yatra will raise awareness about what the government can still do to improve the Bus Priority Lane project and demand the same - provision of signages, last-mile connectivity and solutions for safety of pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheelers....