press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
The lack of public transport options after midnight is a major irritant for a city where millions of employees work late into the night. While most offices arrange for cab services to drop employees home, people say that these are not the answer as they are restrictive and route based.
“Sometimes, I want to visit a friend or a relative, but our cabs follow a given route, which I cannot change. On days when I don’t travel on my route, I don’t have any option but to hire a cab,” said Ravikiran, a financial analyst.
Due to the high volume of traffic in the morning peak hours, some companies are changing their work timings. Those that do not have time critical operations now insist on a nine-hour workday regardless of what time the employee shows up. This often results in late work hours. “It is a rush to leave office in the evenings on days when we are late. The last company transport leaves by 9 p.m. and we often have work pending. I am forced to take my work home and finish it as the alternative is to pay hundreds of rupees for cab services post 11 p.m.,” said K. Rajesh, employee of a private firm.
However, with the Metro not yet fully operational, officials argue that there is no market for keeping services operational throughout the night. Once Phase 1 is complete, it makes sense to operate the Metro for longer hours, they say.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation does operate night services, but the number is limited. With some services operational till midnight and beyond, there are no plans to introduce more services. “We need to consider several factors like cost and ridership besides availability of buses and staff. We do operate on certain routes but we don’t plan to run 24-hour operations for now,” a senior official said.
Demand for late-night services
While officials might say that operating late night bus or metro services is not feasible, there is a sizeable population which needs transportation through the night, experts say.
“They must conduct a survey to see how many passengers would avail of such services. Hotel employees and even people who watch late night shows of movies would benefit from late night services,” said Vinay Srinivas, member of the Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike.
The keyword here is reliability, people say.
“I cycle to my workplace every day. Sometimes, we are assigned to places far away from my house. It would help if there were all-night services so that I could travel in a bus instead of cycling,” says 50-year-old Loknath N., who works with a security firm.
“Look at the hawkers at KR Market. They reach the market early in the morning. They would have a hard time getting there without buses. If buses to the airport can be operated late at night, why not for these passengers,” Mr. Srinivas questioned.
It becomes very difficult when we work late at night. Even going out late at night for recreational purposes is impossible because of a lack of buses. The only option is to pay extra for autos or hire taxis
– Rajendra Prasad, HR manager
They should start more buses and charge a little more than day time rates. I would not mind paying more for a reliable bus service post-midnight rather than rely on autos and taxis
– Pruthvi Reddy, businessman
The real solution would be to have 18,000 buses on the road but till that happens, they can look at operating the Big 10 routes and arterial routes till midnight and resume services at 3 a.m.
— Ashwin Mahesh, urban mobility expert
From: The Hindu