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BUS City Bangalore
by Deepa Dumblekar

March 24, 2010

Not many outside Bangalore would be familiar with the variety of buses plying in and around the city. The traffic authorities have been consistent in their efforts to woo people away from their private vehicles, in a bid to ease the traffic congestion in the ever-growing city. Daily and monthly passes available for frequent travelers, students and senior citizens,  avoid the strain of purchasing ticket every time and save quite a bit of money for the commuters. Buses devoted to women only and for pass-passengers only, must be first of their kind across states, not to forget seats reserved for women, physically challenged and senior citizens too.

Most of those who have traveled vide the state owned BMTC buses will vouch for the fact that the travel is quite comfortable if not sheer bliss, with buses available to suit all tastes and wallets, beginning with those coloured soothing-to-the-eye blue going on to the premium fare red-hued Volvo comfort coaches. Even the not-so-premium buses have had wonderful makeovers to provide comfort – fans, melodious music from popular radio channels, public address system to announce destinations to mention a few - and speed at nominal rates. Recently, I saw a bus with ‘business class’ plush seats in the front half and regular good ones in the latter half for those using passes. Reminded me of a single train with multiple compartments.


Many write travelogues after they return from exotic places, describing their experiences for others to ‘feel’ the pleasure they had. Commuting in these buses has provided me with a lot of insights into human behaviour, all of which I consider precious and worth sharing with my brethren – those who have not been able to experience this first hand. This is my travelogue, based on what I have observed, liked ...or disliked.

To start with, commuting by bus offers a lot of privileges which are indeed blessings in disguise. For one, the commute time is a totally private time (read leisure time) which lends itself to several creative uses. While the majority of ladies listen to music on their mobile phones or ipods, a few eat breakfast, or make pending calls or take a power nap. A handful of tech-savvy executives work on their laptop even as the bus is meandering through traffic jams, while some are engrossed in reading a gripping novel or the latest bestseller. During a trip to Mumbai in my school days, I had watched women in local trains, busy knitting, oblivious to the chaos around them. These days, I see women in the long distance buses, especially those originating from the market, stringing the flowers they bought there. They would rather use the time on hand instead of ruing lack of free time.

The buses offer a lot even for those who wish to just ‘take in’ this free time. A new bus I took sometime back had graffiti all over the front panel around the driver. They preached - Be Positive, Friendship – and advocated action against noise pollution depicting animal pictures with a message Be Silent. As I looked around, I was amused to see a bird cage hanging from the roof of the bus – it had four lovely birds including two blue-shaded love birds. For once, I did not feel like alighting at my stop.

Another bus had money plant growing out of water in a bottle fixed to the corner besides the driver; yet another had a dove near the steering wheel. I silently admired the nature lovers, though I wish they did not subject the hapless creatures to the stress of moving amidst of traffic congestions and crowds.

Travelling in buses continues to intrigue me. Even on days when getting a seat is impossible, just being there refreshes me a lot. Makes me feel I belong to an entirely new family each time. During Sankranti festival, I partook of the ‘yellu’ that was distributed to all the commuters and the bus crew by an enthusiastic lady. I have had co-passengers fussing over me and offering their seat, when I boarded a bus with bruises soon after a small accident near the bus stop.

Like all experiences, these also can be quite hilarious. I remember reading a board near the driver saying ‘karnatakadalli aadalitha bhashe kannada’ and another one near to it saying ‘vaahana nintha mele door thegeyiri’. Jai Karnataka!

The choice of buses in ‘Namma Bengalooru’ would be the envy of even bigger cities of our country. Those who have not taken the common man’s (and woman’s) mode of transport in Bangalore, I would urge you please do. I bet, you will emerge an admirer of Bangalore’s public transport and soon become a frequent traveler with rich experiences to speak about.

Bangalore has been named Garden City, then Silicon City of India, even Air-conditioned City on a smaller scale for the wonderful cool weather we enjoyed till recently. Seems like it is all set for a brand new title - that of a Bus City.

Deepa Dumblekar - archives:


Comments on this article
Anuradha Uchil, Kadri/Mangalore/BangaloreMonday, May 03, 2010
Hi Deepa.. Indeed the buses at bangalore are the best.. I second ur observations... It feels like a real family to travel in public transport..Even if the buses are crowded and I've to stand near the doorstep(with the door closed i.e),peple would be friendly and having a nice chit chat with the driver/conductor which is fun to listen.. But also I have to mention the bad things going on.. Beware girls, there are pickpockets all around, and a crowded bus is their heaven. I've been a victim and also a witness. Had I not stopped it, the lady would ahve lost her purse. If there are no such ppl cauing harm, then its truly a bliss to travel by these BMTC buses. But even in the bus type, there are also old buses being run on certain routes, my advice is to avoid those if they are crowded. They wont have proper ventilation, and its a nightmare stuggling to stand in it.
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amrit, MidwestThursday, March 25, 2010
nagesh welcome to banagalore, im guess from your message you are new to the city, pushpak was introduced more than 10 years ago by the then chief minister JH patel, BMTC to day has to fend for itself, there is nothing special BJP has done, its simple economics in a transport system tending towards capitalistic porfits, which is good for all... cheers
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VINOD, MANGALOREThursday, March 25, 2010
dear mr. nagesh, i think you are now seen bangalore. i seen the volvo city buses four years back. and that time BJP govt was not there. dont write anything blindly.
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georgy , mloreThursday, March 25, 2010
Mr. Nagesh Nayak, As per your tradition, Bail Gaadi is more than enough for you. Why do you want buses?
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Anupama, BangaloreThursday, March 25, 2010
A very well written article. I have been commuting to office by bus. What Mr Sunil has said is right. The bus drivers need to be taught how to drive. I have been in buses, where the drivers were competing with the other bus drivers and driving recklessly. I have also seen accidents that was about to happen because of the drivers, which were avoided by 1 inch. Until and unless every person driving makes a conscious attempt to make sure that they drive carefully, none of us walking on the roads will ever feel safe.  Cheers!
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shahabaz khan, bangaloreThursday, March 25, 2010
mr.nagesh nayak..............i fully agree with you
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M Sunil, BangaloreThursday, March 25, 2010
All said and done, the Drivers should be thought lessons on discipline. They never stop the buses at the designated place. They never stop at the side of the road. They are the main reasons for causing traffic jams. They overtake from the wrong side. They jump signals. They are least bothered about the consequence of their above acts.
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Simon Francis Lasrado, sullia/BangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
Very good article dear Deepa Dumblaker.I rarely use BMTC buses. I have been residing in Bangalore since 30 years.I use my own mode of travelling.After reading this article I feel like travelling in these Govt.Owned different kinds of BMTC buses.Hats off to Mr.Ashok the present able transport Minister.
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Royster, MangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
Nagesh and Nikhil,

Please dont start off praising the BJP government for these services. I have lived in Bangalore for 3 years. I left that place 3 years back and I remember these buses plying the road of bangalore even then. I dont think the BJP was even dreaming of winning the elections back then. Plus there is nothing much the BJP has done to improve the bus services in Bangalore or for that matter the rest of the state. the shiradi ghats atleast used to be motorable when the Congress was in power now it is a night mare to travel on those roads. so get your facts correct before jumping around with joy like idiots.
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Nikhil Puthran, MangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
yes!! credit goes to the ruling BJP goverment in state...keep up wht good work yediyurappaji..hats off to u...
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ravi , sulliyaWednesday, March 24, 2010
this is good we get so many variety of bus. keep up . plz improve road in bangalore.
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Rakesh Dsouza, MangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
Mr.Nagesh Nayak,

Dont be so hurry to praise Yeddi's Govt. In 2005 BMTC started plying air-conditioned VOLVO buses in the Bangalore. Since 2003 BMTC is providing a good public transport facility to the passengers as per my experience. This is not happened in last two years ok? I was in Bangalore since 2003 and I know the fact. DOnt comment blindly, keep a sense.
Comment on this message     

Shridhara Achar, Puttur/BangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
Very interesting write up about travelling in BMTC buses. Writer Deepa is a keen observer. She has given a descriptive picture of those who travel in bus.
Another interesting thing is the vareity of BMTC buses.Besides the ordinary buses there are Pushpak, Parisara Vahini. Suvarna Karnataka, Big 10 and latest Vayu Vajra the AC Volvo buses. I don`t think big cities like Mumbai and New Delhi have such a variety
Comment on this message     

nagesh nayaK, bangaloreWednesday, March 24, 2010
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