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Showing posts from September, 2008

The tale of a corporation called BMTC...

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The title is a kind of misnomer - it is not about one but many travels in one very inefficient transport system: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation.This corporation - born out of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation some time during August 1997 (to be exact - on August 15, 1997) - is reportedly the biggest urban transport corporation in the country, operating about 4887 schedules deploying about 5071 buses!
This corporation was the first in the country to operate Volvo City buses (B7RLE model). It now operates about 154 such buses on city routes, and about 69 on airport routes (taking the total to a mind-boggling 223 buses - the aim is to have 340 buses by April 2009!!!). The conventional city Volvo buses are called Vajra Hi-Tech bus by the corporation. The airport bus initiative by the corporation (aptly named "Bangalore International Airport Service - or BIAS) is one of the most innovative, if i could say so, measures taken by a government run corporatio…

How is a train stabled?

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Many of us would have seen trains (or their rakes) parked in vacant loop lines or at sidings at different stations. Rakes of weekly trains, especially ones which come calling from other zones, are normally parked at a vacant siding line till the time the rake returns back to its home. 
One such train is the 2691/92 Chennai-Bangalore Weekly express. This train leaves from MAS on Fridays at 2330 and arrives Bangalore at 0555. The train returns only at Sundays, departing from Bangalore at 2300, arriving Chennai at 0515. The rake is shunted from Bangalore City at around 1045 to Bangalore Cantonment. The rake remains at Bangalore Cantonment till 2100 on Sunday, which is then shunted to City station for cleaning and departure back to Chennai. 
I was witness to one such shunting recently. The rake is stabled at Cantonment due to space crunch at the City station. On Sundays, the problem gets worse with the arrival of one more weekly train. This train however is sent to Whitefield!
Here is a step…

What a transition?

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The Tamil Nadu State Express Transport Corporation, which was earlier called Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation, is a Tamil Nadu State Government undertaking responsible for operating "Express" services both within the state and across state boundaries.

In the initial days, Tamil Nadu had seperate transport corporations for each district, and had individual name - the Corporation which ran buses in Coimbatore was called Cheran Transport Corporation, the one in Erode was Jeeva Transport Corporation, and so on. Similarly, long distance bus services in Tamil Nadu was exclusive to Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation (TTC). The district corporations were given rights to operate only short distances. 
The monopoly of TTC was broken when the then Chief Minister inaugurated the Puratchi Thalaivi J. Jayalalitha Transport Corporation (JJTC) sometime in the 1991-1996 period. It was perhaps for the first time in India that a chief minister spent state money to run a transport corporation…

Mega Busfanning at Kempegowda....

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The Kempegowda Bus Station, popularly called "Majestic" in Bangalore is breathing its last days. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, which owns and operates the bus station is planning to pull down the bus station and replace it it was a new one which would also house a metro station for the upcoming "Namma Metro" network in the City.

A Satellite Bus station was built on the Mysore road for the purpose. The terminus was opened in 2005, and currently handles about 800-odd buses. Now, the KSRTC (Karnataka) has decided to move all bus services towards Kerala (operated by themselves and their counterpart) to the Satellite Bus station. The move happens effective 29th of this month (September).

So, busfanning at KBS would not be the same again. Hence, I decided to make a big one last Tuesday. I left home at around 1400, and reached there at around 1500 or so. I was at the terminus till around 1715 or so.

The main spotting of the day was the brand new APSRTC Volv…

Ten traffic commandments for Bangalore...

Bangalore (er! Bengaluru), the so-called silicon valley of India, has the worst traffic conditions that you would expect in a metropolitan city. Traffic rules are seldom followed by road users and it appears that traffic rules do not apply to Bangalore city! Here are some tips, in case you plan to drive in Bangalore:  

1. First and foremost rule: Drive on the right hand side of the road if you want to drive slow. Do not exceed speeds of 40kmph if you are on the right hand side of the road. Faster vehicles will need to clear obstacles, a.k.a hurdles to reach their end point. In case you are not sure of whether you are fast or slow, stick to the middle of the road!  

2. Never ever expect Autorickshaws or Bikers to drive decently. Be completely prepared to have a scratch or two on your vehicle by the time you complete you drive through the city. Beware of bikers, they may just land up in front of you without any warnings – keep an eye, else you’ll land up in Jail for causing injury due to …

Volvo for Re. 1!!!

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The "One Rupee" ride on BMTC volvos ended yesterday after long 4 days. The deal that BMTC offered was to ride to any place on a Volvo for just Re. 1!!!

Newspaper reports suggest that these red whales carried as many as 18,000 on day one [DH, Bangalore] of the offer. Volvos, which were earlier seen running with enough empty seats (barring the ones to the IT parks), were seen running with no space to spare! Passengers flocked into these buses to enjoy the air-conditioned comfort - with many people traveling just for the sake of it!

The ride starting hitting autos badly by day three. The buses reportedly sold 72,000 tickets on Day 1 and 97,000 on the second day!!! One incident of a bus breaking down annoyed passengers and activists, but the gimmick seemed to have worked for BMTC.



On all the four days, many passengers who earlier used to purchase full tickets for volvos, decided to give those red buses and miss and resorted to traveling "comfortably" in the normal buses i…

The Re.1 initiative

BMTC, in a bid to make its Vajra (city volvo) service popular, is offering to carry passengers for just one rupee. The normal fare starts at ten rupees. The result is evident! One volvo on route 365 just overtook my poor MBS13, which is craving for passengers today! The conductor of my bus was laughing out at the plight of the one in the overcrowded volvo!
But, remember the one rupee offer is only for four days! At the end of that, it would be the Volvo crying for passengers once again!

A quick trip to Kerala...by road (Part-I)

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August 22, 2008: One fine Friday morning... I was busy at office trying to finish my work when I got a call from home. I was working from 0530-1430 that week. I was feeling too sleepy and attended the call without paying much attention! That was my sis-in-law, and an unexpected and exciting news came in... we were going to kerala that evening!

My bro had decided the trip in a very short notice. He outlined the route and decided to make it. I had to finish my jobs quickly and rush home. I had a hard time reaching home, since the number of buses seemed too low. I made it home well past 1415. We left home at 1445 after a quick round of freshening up. My brother took to the wheels and we rushed towards Mysore. A left turn from Bannerghatta Road, and we then pulled into a fuel station to tank up. After tanking up, we headed off towards JP Nagar 6th phase, and then took a left turn at JP Nagar signal to enter Kanakapura Road. After driving down for some distance, we pulled into the new NICE …