I recently joined a new company which involves me to travel from one end of Bangalore to the other (west to east or Nagarbhavi to ITPL, Whitefield, a mere 38 kms). I am sure the lack of infrastructure in Bangalore has been discussed over and over again. But, these have been stories of others and had no impact on me. While my previous company also involved long distance travel, I must agree it was pretty decent travel. My first day of travel to my new work place has been a real eye opener as to how woeful the travel really becomes in Bangalore when traveled from one end to another when there is no direct connectivity between the two points. My saga took place on August 2nd 2010, which I believe will be etched into my memory as the day I traveled more than worked. To be exactly it took me 3 hrs one way to travel in a BMTC bus from Nagarbhavi to ITPL.
It started with me searching out options for travel. In the onward travel, I decide the best option would be for me to travel till cubbon park with my sister and take a Volvo bus from there. I decided to go in a Volvo bus for lot of obvious reasons, it is air conditioned and given the fare is fairly high, I expect that not many will travel in it and more over given that we are paying so much there would not be much crowd in the bus. Oh how wrong I was. I realized what the population of Bangalore was on that day. Travel to cubbon park obviously was great, given it is the personal mode of transport. Reached the bus stop safely and found a scrolling display of the next bus timing to ITPL. A mere wait of 5 mins, and the bus was here. Oh wow, I was impressed, in Bangalore timings are more or less maintained and a display with valid information in it. But, wait, there ended my happiness. The bus is overcrowded. The only place available is a standing seat next to the driver. I say fine, there has to be someplace where people get off. But, I find, as the bus goes further and further, lots of people are getting in, while very few get out and the bus stopping at every 1km either for a bus stop or a traffic light for atleast 2 to 3 mins. To be very realistic, I travel standing the distance of 25kms, holding on with the force of my stubbornness to the only comfortable standing place near the driver, ensuring no one pushes me away from my comfort for a duration of 2 hrs. I have started from home at 7:45 am, I reach office around 10:00 am!!!!!
Work at office obviously on the first day everywhere, goes with running around for machines, filling up papers, getting ID cards and so on and so forth. So am on my feet the whole of the work time, my feet are killing me, but I hope I have one comfort. I can take the ITPL bus back home. But, as luck would have it and a very tiring security process which is another saga for another blog, I am forced to take the BMTC again. Here obviously I have no sister to take me home from any point, I am forced to take the BMTC for the whole journey. I take a bust o majestic in the similar manner as the morning standing (minus the comfort of the standing seat next to driver, since that is already taken), bus stopping at every 1km for a bus stop, traffic light and now add traffic jam also. Add to it I am forced to travel 10 kms etc, since I cannot get either a direct bus or a direct connecting bus. By the time I am on a bus from majestic to home, I am thoroughly tired, I don’t care where I am seated as far as I can get a seat and now I am lugging around a laptop along with everything else. It took me a travel from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm to get home.
After all this, I wonder anymore why and how does the BMTC officials expect that we should leave the cars at home and travel by bus!! Isn’t it a requirement that long distance travel time be reduced in a public transport as opposed to short distance travel? Isn’t it easier to travel shorter distance with cars and personal transport while longer distances need to be traveled by public transport? What I wonder is in the minds of the BMTC officials, that we have a high frequency of buses between some select points in the city, which stop at each and every stop, and no buses that are fast buses that travel long distances with lesser stops. Luckily for now I am on ITPL buses which take half the time to travel to and forth, but I fret the time I might have to do what I did on the first day again of taking a BMTC bus for long distance travels!!!!