Of the 1,40,000 techies and non-technical staff working in the city’s IT hubs, only a minuscule 7,000 have responded to the campaign undertaken by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to popularise public transport by observing February 4 as Bus Day.
About 90,000 employees work in Electronic City, while firms on the Outer Ring Road employ 50,000 people (techies and other employees).
The idea behind Bus Day is to promote the use of public transport and thus help reduce pollution and traffic congestion.
“The BMTC has received more than 7,000 registrations for its Bus Day campaign, which started 15 days ago,” Mithila Jha, urban planner, BMTC, told DNA. “From now on, the BMTC will observe February 4 as Bus Day. In case, the day happens to be a public holiday, the next day will be observed as Bus Day,” Jha said.
The BMTC said it would increase bus services on February 4. “At present, 1,100 Volvo buses go to Electronic City and 900 buses go to the International Tech Park, Bangalore (ITPB),” KS Vishwanath, chief traffic manager of BMTC, said. “On Bus Day, we will have 50% more services. About 1,500 Volvo buses will operate to and from Electronic City and 1,300 buses will be put into service in the ITPB route,” he said.
Many companies in Electronic City had urged their employees to use mass transport on February 4, Prakash Rao, CEO, Electronic City Industries Association, said. “The campaign will become successful only when the companies themselves encourage their employees to travel by bus,” he said.
“We have contacted about one lakh people through e-mail informing them about the campaign,” Vishwanath Seetharam, general secretary of Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA), said. “So far, about 7,000 people have confirmed their participation. The response is neither excellent nor poor,” he said.
Seetharam said to popularise the use of public transport, the first Thursday of every month would also be observed as Bus Day. “The number of takers will surely increase in the coming months,” he said. One of the main reasons for employees shunning public transport is the lack of adequate services after 8 pm.
“Many BPO employees work late into the night,” Bhaskar AE, a software professional, pointed out. “If the employees come to office by public transport, how will they go home if there are no buses late at night?” he said.
Bhaskar, however, is not one of those who rides his own vehicle to work. He said he was inspired by the concept of Bus Day and that over the last few days, he had been commuting to office by public transport. “Bus services on Old Airport Road and Outer Ring Road have to be increased, especially at night,” he said.
Jha said a survey to assess bus services in the major corridors, including the Hosur Road and Old Madras Road, would be carried out soon. BMTC would then be able to see which routes need more services, she said.