26th March, Bengaluru: Greenpeace India activists today created paintings on the outer ring road, with a clear message to “Protect the Bus Lane”, demanding protection and expansion of Bus Priority Lanes in Bengaluru city.
Recently there have been a few disturbing media reports that representatives from companies located in Outer Ring Road are urging BBMP to reconsider the Bus Priority Lanes. Perhaps, the 22-km ORRC stretch between Silk Board and KR Puram set up in 2019, is one of the revolutionary citizen’s movements for efficient public transport.
Bangalore has been experiencing very critical air quality for the last many years. Greenpeace India’s recent report found that the annual average of PM2.5 and PM10 exceeded WHO revised standards in bangalore. The previous source apportionment studies identified the transportation sector as one of the major sources of air pollution in the city.
“Like many other Indian cities, public transport in Bengaluru also caters to the majority of citizens and the Bus Priority Lane particularly has reduced travel times, improved predictability, increased the service supply along the corridor, and also resulted in improved bus ridership and revenue. In fact, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Traffic Corporation (BMTC) which comprises just 0.15% of the total vehicle population, helps 50% of the human population in the city access mobility.
Instead of companies encouraging their employees to adopt public transport or allowing them flexible remote and hybrid work policy and thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, they presumably are trying to reduce the possibilities of mass transit systems. The opposition to the BPL threatens the availability of an accessible, efficient and sustainable means of transport for many Bengaluru citizens.
Commenting on the importance of efficient public transport, Avinash Chanchal, Campaign Manager at Greenpeace India says: “The private vehicles dominated mobility is putting us in a dangerous position. There is an urgent need to bring a paradigm shift in the present transportation sector. An efficient public transport system, with a focus on buses, can help us reduce the air pollution as well as the congestion in the city. It would benefit the working class, connect people to work, education and community.”
“It is unfortunate to see that instead of asking to strengthen the public bus system, the representatives from companies are asking to reconsider the Bus Priority Lane that has been helping to reduce the travel time, congestion and improve the ridership along with the corridor. The authorities must take concrete steps to make the BPL permanent feature along with expanding the current bus priority lane to other road networks and improve the bus operation in the city,” added Chanchal.
In the long run, companies would benefit from their employees using an efficient public bus transport system which will both reduce travel time and also reduce the stress of traveling daily in traffic-congested roads. Hence, it is required that BBMP works towards expanding the priority bus lanes and make it a model for other cities across the country and not bow down to any untoward pressures.
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