Kalasipalyam is a thriving hub for outstation and intra-city buses alike. However, an array of horrific sights await the unsuspecting traveller - you survive the traffic snarls (as well as the stench) only to find yourself ankle-deep in filth. And the less said about the toilets, the better! Authorities say a world-class BMTC terminal is on its way, but private transport companies need to get their act together, say Rohan Ramesh and Shrinivasa M.
As the road curves into it, the muck is repulsively evident. With garbage strewn everywhere and an ever present traffic jam, the Kalasipalyam Bus Station is not the most inviting of landmarks in the city.
Opened in the 1980s, the bustling bus terminus sees tens of thousands of people boarding or alighting from buses every day. While it is a vital hub for for outstation passengers, a semi-circular terminus is reserved for intra-city buses.
The first thing that strikes you on entering the bus station is how derelict it is. The once paved roads inside are now just broken stones and jelly and the Sulabh toilets near the entrance have padlocks on their doors. Worse, a stable right next to it gives off a stench and is an eyesore. The pre-paid auto stand just outside has no one manning it.
As a steady stream of buses enters the terminus, Mohammed Shamim, working at an automobile service centre in front of it, is all too willing to talk about the chaos people around here experience every day.
“I grew up around Shivaji Nagar and have been doing odd jobs here for the past seven years. If you haven’t noticed already, the traffic is bumper to bumper here and the road is narrow. Private buses too stop outside , adding to the chaos,” he complains.
Walk into the terminus and among the passengers milling around are Ram Babu and his wife. “Our son wants to relieve himself, but the toilets inside are in a terrible state,” he grumbles, adding ruefully, “Here we are waiting to board a bus to Chitradurga and there is not a clean toilet in sight.”
He is only one of many inconvenienced passengers. Take Mr Kiran, who is touring Karnataka before getting into a job after bagging an ITI diploma . To him the terminus seems huge, but not very impressive. "It took me over 10 minutes by auto to get here from the city market, which is hardly any distance away due to the heavy traffic. This bus station is badly in need of renovation. I can’t believe it is a major station of a modern city like Bengaluru,” he says.
Walking away from the bus station, a whiff of horse dung stench from the nearby stables follows you, leaving you in no doubt that he is right and it could do with a major makeover.
Fortunately, the government seems to agree and if all goes well the Kalasipalyam Bus station could eventually be transformed into a swanky modern station. But until then, the status quo remains.
- Over 4000-5000 public buses use the station on a daily basis
- Over 250 private buses ply from the station daily
- Over 8,00,000 passengers use the terminal daily
City Market station to get a new look
The city is waiting to welcome the new look Kempegowda Bus Terminal or Kalasipalyam Bus Station as it is popularly known, with the CM laying the foundation stone for the project in August this year.
The promised more modern and comfortable terminus that will occupy over four acres in the same area, is expected to cost Rs 200 crores to build and ease traffic conditions in the roads around with both the BMTC and KSRTC getting the help they need to streamline their respective services.
Both corporations will have separate floors in the multi-level complex to station their buses and commercial operators too will get their share of space in its grounds, reveal BMTC sources. And there's more. The upper floors of the complex will have eateries, shops and basic amenities such as toilets and drinking water for the convenience of passengers, who are having a hard time in their absence today. While welcoming the new complex, Mr. Pawan Mulukutla , manager, urban transport, WRI India Sustainable Cities, says it must be planned and constructed to be all inclusive and cater not only to normal passengers but the disabled as well . “Feeder services for the Metro Rail need to be integrated into the planning of the new terminus. Also a separate auto lane and parking area must be created and pedestrians given ample space,” he stresses.
As for other creature comforts, he adds, “The terminus must have people-friendly amenities . A bus station of this size should have proper toilets, eateries and may be even a waiting room. The state must look into providing basic amenities which the current bus station lacks.”
BBMP must find alternative for existing pvt station, says MN Shrihari, traffic expert
Around 20 years ago I had suggested major changes in the Kalasipalyam bus terminus to ensure smooth flow of traffic here as the KR Market area is very congested. Private buses are allowed to park on government property and end up causing traffic snarls. Only if they are moved out, can the traffic troubles of Kalasipalyam be resolved.
While BMTC buses are parked in the dedicated space and a new bus terminus is expected to ease traffic conditions, unless and until the BBMP find an alternative for the existing private bus station, the congestion on the roads here will only continue.
Also,now that Namma Metro is arriving in the KR Market area with a station near Victoria hospital, I feel a bridge should be built connecting the BMTC bus station to it for the convenience of passengers.