BMTC, KSRTC, Namma Metro resume services in Bengaluru, Karnataka
A lot of passengers turned up at Majestic bus stand on Monday morning, leading to complaints about lack of adequate number of BMTC buses
Public transport, which was halted for over 50 days to contain the spread of the second wave of COVID-19, resumed on Monday morning. In the morning, passengers at Majestic bus stand accused the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) of not running adequate number of buses and forcing them to wait for hours.
Gurumurthy, a passenger, said, “Due to the lockdown, I could not consult a doctor. On Monday, I got an appointment. I reached the bus stand very early and waited for one hour for a bus to Bannerghatta Road. The BMTC should have operated more buses, as they are allowing a limited number of passengers. Besides, no passenger is allowed to stand even if all the seats are taken.”
As per guidelines of the Karnataka government, only 50% of seats in buses can be filled.
Sangeetha, a commuter, said, “For the last one week, I had been relying on autos to reach my workplace, which was very expensive. BMTC resumed bus services, but they are not running too many buses. With one bus every half-an-hour, commuters fight their way inside, with no thought for social distancing norms, to get a seat.”
BMTC officials claimed that more than 1,000 buses had left depots up to 9 a.m. A senior official said, “We allowed only staff who had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to operate buses. Those who received a single dose had to produced a COVID-19 negative report to operate a bus. In the morning hours, there was some rush at Majestic bus stand. Many trains had arrived at KSR Bengaluru in the morning hours bringing passengers who headed to Majestic to board a bus to their destinations in Bengaluru and nearby places. This could be one of the reasons for the rush. We will run adequate number of buses.”
To minimise contact between passengers and conductors, QR based ticketing systems have been introduced in buses.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) plans to operate trains with a frequency of five minutes during the peak hours (7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Passengers are allowed inside stations after thermal screening and sanitisation.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had operated 1,100 buses up to 10 a.m. Officials said that buses were operated as per demand.
Prabahakar Reddy, Chief Traffic Manager of KSRTC, said, “Barring Mysuru and Dakshina Kannada, we have resumed services in all districts coming under the jurisdiction of the KSRTC. On Mysuru route, we are running buses up to Srirangapatna. Buses going via Mysuru to other destinations will not allow passengers to board or disembark in Mysuru.”
KSRTC is not operating any bus service between Mysuru and Bengaluru, but the South Western Railway (SWR) is running many trains between the two cities.