If Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has its way, there is a solution in sight for commuters tired of BMTC’s unreliable services. The public transport agency is planning to introduce priority lanes to ensure its buses reach destinations faster. It has prepared a blueprint to set up the lanes on four road stretches in a phased manner. The lanes will come up on the extreme left of a road.
BMTC officials feel that priority lanes will also ensure buses stop at bus stops and increase fuel efficiency.
BMTC chief traffic manager (operations) M P Prabhudas told Bangalore Mirror, “We feel there is a need to prioritise public transport. In Bangalore, where more than 43 lakh people rely on BMTC services, priority lanes will make our buses more reliable. In the beginning, other drivers may find it difficult but gradually they will get accustomed to it.”
To start with, BMTC wants to establish a priority lane from Vittal Mallya Road to ASC Junction on Old Airport Road. The route of the 3.5km lane is Vittal Mallya Road–Richmond Circle-Cash Pharmacy-Ashirwadam-Brigade Junction-Mayo Hall-Garuda Mall-Hosmat Hospital-ASC Junction.
It is estimated that more than 150 BMTC buses will move on this stretch per hour. Prabhudas pointed out that ambulances can also use the priority lane to reach the four hospitals on this route.
Depending on the response received on this stretch, priority lanes will be put in place in other parts of the city.
The second priority lane has been proposed from ASC Junction to Hudson Circle. The route of the 5 km lane is ASC Junction-Lifestyle Junction-Mother Theresa Junction-Richmond Circle-Hudson Circle.
The third priority lane will be extended from ASC Junction to Marathalli. The fourth priority lane will come up from Marathalli to ITPB.
There’s quite a bit of groundwork required if priority lanes have to become a reality. Separate signals must be set up at some points and temporary structures must be installed to separate mixed traffic.
BMTC must also get on board the city traffic police, department of urban land transport and the BBMP to get the priority lanes going.
This is not the first time Bangalore will have priority lanes. Some years ago, BMTC had tried out separate bus lanes on the Majestic-Hebbal stretch and the traffic police also came up with exclusive autorickshaw lanes. Both these experiments failed for want of space and the impatience of motorists. This apart, bus lanes on the Outer Ring Road also remained non-starters. Public money used for earmarking lanes went down the drain as the lanes slowly disappeared.