With six million vehicles choking Bengaluru‘s roads, the city traffic police have advised the government to ask IT companies to stagger their working hours in order to reduce congestion.
Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) R Hithendra made an elaborate powerpoint presentation before the government’s sub-group on traffic chaired by Chief Secretary Arvind Jadhav on Saturday. Getting the IT firms to stagger their working hours is one of the options discussed.
In a chat with ET, Hithendra explained the rationale behind the suggestion. He gave the example of the roads leading to the tech parks near Sarjapur. “In a stretch of five kilometres on the outer ring road, there are five tech parks and about four lakh cars try to enter the parking areas around 8 am. This is causing a huge congestion,” he said.
If the cars enter and leave at intervals spread over two to three hours, it will ease much of the traffic problem on the outer ring road, the Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) said.
As for Electronic City, the police say the Silk Board junction is the only trouble spot. There is not much problem beyond that because Electronic City is connected by an elevated road.
The IT firms in Electronic City employ about 1.5 lakh workers and the companies there have already implemented both staggered and flexi working hours.
“All big companies such as Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, HP and Siemens have provided their own transport for employees at staggered intervals. But the problem starts when employees bring their own vehicles,” said NS Rama, CEO at Electronics City Industries Association (Elcia).
Infosys employs about 25,000 people at its Electronics City campus. “All our buses leave different destinations in the city between 6.30 am and 7 am precisely because we don’t want to create or get caught in congestion.We have also given flexi-hours for employees as part of our strategy to reduce congestion,” said Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President (Infrastructure) at Infosys.
The Whitefield-Mahadevapura belt is said to be posing a big challenge to the traffic police. In Whitefield, according to Hithendra, about 3,000 buses arrive and leave together leading to long hours of traffic blockage. The two suburbs are estimated to employ about 3 lakh people.
According to Arun Subramanian, Vice President (Globalisation) at SAP Labs based in Whitefield, if the IT firms in the two suburbs come together and introduce a work from home arrangement for employees one day in a week on a staggered basis, it will cut the vehicular traffic by 10-20%.
Firms such as IBM, HP and SAP Labs have already introduced such an option for employees but the option comes with a rider in some firms.
Many employees, Subramanian added, bring their children along and leave them at day care centres in Whitefield-Mahadevapura areas. “So it is not enough if IT firms were to rework their working hours, the day care centres too will have to adapt to that if such an experiment has to succeed,” he added.
Credits ET Tech