Bengaluru Buzz: 100 Ashwamedha buses flagged off | Uniform rates for cabs … and more

Other news of the week: Bengaluru world's 6th most congested city, Safe City project delayed and Cauvery V and VI Stage issues.

Bengaluru world’s 6th most congested city

Bengaluru was ranked the sixth most congested city in the world by the TomTom Traffic Index 2023. TomTom is a Dutch technology firm. This is an improvement from the second rank in 2022, when travel for a 10-km drive took 30 minutes. But in 2023, the time was brought down to 28 minutes for 10 kms, with the congestion level at 63%.

The ‘worst day’ last year was on September 27th, when it took 33 minutes to cover 10 kms, mainly on the Outer Ring Road, where a number of private vehicles from tech parks were exiting at the same time. It was a Wednesday, when many citizens planned to go outstation for an extended weekend.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

Read more: Looking back at 2023: A review of public transport developments in Bengaluru

100 Ashwamedha Classic buses flagged off

About 100 non-AC Ashwamedha Classic buses were flagged off from the Vidhana Soudha by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The rest of the 800-strong Ashwamedha Classic fleet will be deployed by April. They will help school-and-college-goers and pilgrims, especially as the Shakti Scheme has encouraged a lot of women to commute. About 5,000 buses will be inducted by four Road Transport Corporations (RTCs) by April end.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses provide a ‘point-to-point transport service’ from other cities to Bengaluru. Each 52-seater has two security cameras, a panic button, wider leg rooms, mobile battery charging slots, emergency stop buttons, and a centre mirror.

KSRTC plans to add 948 diesel and 300 electric (G.C.C. Model) buses this year to encourage more commuters for mass public transport.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

BMTC introduces four new bus routes

The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has introduced the following non-air-conditioned bus routes in the city:

285-MN: Hebbal to Tubagere via Yelahanka, Rajanukunte and Doddaballapur. One bus will make five trips both ways per day.

267: Shivajinagar to Hesaraghatta via Mehkri Circle, BEL Circle, MS Palya, Veerasagara, Byalakere and Shivakote. Five buses will make 28 trips both ways per day.

405: Yelahanka NES to Hesaraghatta via Attur, Veerasagara, Byalakere and Shivakote. Two buses will make 28 trips both ways per day.

NICE-4: Vijayanagar TTMC to Electronics City Wipro Gate will depart at 6.30 am. from February 5.

Source: Deccan Herald

Uniform rates for cabs

On February 3rd, the Karnataka government issued a notification of a uniform fare structure for all cabs, whether they be city taxis or cabs attached to ride aggregators such as Ola, Uber and Rapido.

They were categorised into a three slab structure, based on their purchase price. The base fare (first four kilometres) for a cab costing up to Rs. 10 lakh is Rs. 100. For every subsequent kilometre, it is Rs 24. For cabs costing Rs. 10-15 lakh, the base fare is Rs Rs. 115 and for every subsequent kilometre, it is Rs. 28. The base fare for cabs costing more than Rs 15 lakh, is Rs. 130 for the first four kilometres with each additional kilometre priced at Rs. 32. There were also luggage, waiting time and night-time charges. Taxi drivers and aggregators could collect GST and tolls, but could not levy per-minute charges.

The revised fares were welcomed by cab drivers and passengers, as the uniformity would ensure fair prices for all. But aggregators were concerned and said it was ‘illogical’. One source said that it would make cab passengers pay higher than what they pay now, even for short distances. Removing time spent from the equation of fare calculations would disincentivise drivers, while inconveniencing riders who would not be able to find a cab for long.

Tanveer Pasha, President, Ola Uber Drivers and Owners Association, said that it is a win-win situation for both passengers and drivers, who will now be aware that the fares are regulated by the government and there is no room for excess charges.

Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Safe City project delayed

Only 5,000 out of 7,500 CCTV cameras installed in Bengaluru, under the Safe City project, are working. The remaining 2,500, facing technical problems, are expected to be functional by the month-end.

The second phase of the Safe City Project (SCP), funded under the Nirbhaya scheme, is facing challenges. The Rs. 661.5-crore initiative was deployed by the police and a private automation company in 2021, with AI cameras and infrastructure. A state-run telecom firm was overseeing operational aspects. Bengaluru was the first city to complete the initial phase in March 2023. The second phase, which was slated for December 2023, faced a roadblock due to technical glitches and external constraints in network functionality.
Telecom connectivity in the city is challenged. Pic: Thejesh G N

Due to a number of electrical accidents, the Energy Department directed that aerial cables should transition to underground infrastructure. Hence, the telecom company had to revamp its connectivity routes, leading to a number of issues.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald

Read more: Want to make your city safer? Don’t be a passive bystander!

Cauvery V and VI Stage issues

The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has called for bids for the draft of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Cauvery VI stage, to supply towns around the city. This project followed a recent order by the government to utilise drinking water. Water will be supplied to two new BDA layouts — Dr. Shivaram Karanth Layout and Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout — apart from towns around the city, including Nelamangala, Devanahalli, Hoskote, Bidadi and Anekal. The total usage of Cauvery water after the VI stage will be about 35 tmcft annually.

The DPR is estimated to be prepared at Rs. 95 lakh. The last date for submitting bids is February 21st.

Meanwhile, the final stages of the Cauvery V stage are coming to a close. BWSSB will have a trial run in April, while the supply line will be commissioned in May 2024. About 110 newly added villages to the civic administration in 2008 will get piped water.

But of the targeted 3.5 lakh properties to benefit, only 1.5 lakh property owners have paid the Beneficiary Contribution Charge (BCC) and Establishment of Tools and Plants (ETP) charge and leveraged the water. Many had paid in 2019 and are still waiting for supply, sceptical of the BWSSB meeting its deadline of May 2024. A number of people said that the ETP charge was hefty and should be abolished.

Hence, not too many residents have opted for the Cauvery water connections. Only 1.5 lakh residents out of 3.5 lakh have reached out for it.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald 

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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