BMTC to add a 1,000 buses

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is planning to increase the number of buses, as part of an ongoing fleet expansion, by another 1,000 next year. Already the operator of the biggest public bus fleet in the country, the BMTC is rolling out more buses when issues like absence of dedicated bus lanes remain. The idea, though, is to combine accessibility, frequency and efficiency.Dastagir Sharieff, chief traffic manager (operations), BMTC, said that the expansion is part of a drive to increase the modal split of public transport in Bangalore. According to the BMTC, public transport accounts for about 48% of the total number of trips made in Bangalore. With more buses added to the fleet, the BMTC looks to take the figure to 70%. According to a report on traffic and transportation policies and strategies in urban areas by the Union ministry of urban development, the BMTC has been expanding its fleet from 2000 to 2007 (only standard buses) at an impressive annual rate of 9.4%. This, when Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai were registering a cut-down in the number of services. In 2000, the BMTC had 2,110 buses and by 2007, the number had risen to 3,967. The report puts the public transport share in Bangalore at about 35%, behind Kolkata (54%), Mumbai (45%) and Delhi (43%). The figure, though, gains perspective when viewed against the fact that all the three cities, unlike Bangalore, have metro rail or suburban rail networks. The BMTC runs about 5,000 buses and it’s estimated that about 38 lakh passengers avail of its services, every day. The BMTC is set to announce a new list of about 3,000 drivers for its services. Sharieff said as part of the long-term expansion, the corporation will also increase the number of Suvarna buses from the present 76 to 500.

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