Early next year, it will be possible for bus users travelling on Old Airport Road to Whitefield and surrounding areas, where traffic is bursting at the seams, to cut down their travel time.
The move, which comes as the traffic situation is steadily worsening in the city, may bring a sigh of relief to commuters using Old Airport Road and Old Madras Road to reach Whitefield and ITPL. With Namma Metro due to reach Whitefield only in the next phase, buses are the only option of public transport for those heading to these areas every day.
Currently, BMTC operates several schedules on route 335, to ITPL from the Kempegowda Bus Stand. However, the introduction of a bus priority lane will lead to more buses being able to ply on the route.
“Initially the plan is to start with Old Airport Road and keep the left lane reserved for buses between 7 and 11 a.m. and 5 and 9 p.m. There will be several buses on these lanes during these hours and travelling will be easier with specialised bus stands,” said urban expert R.K. Misra.
However, the move will have to be vetted by the BBMP and the traffic police according to BMTC officials.
“We are prepared to operate as many buses as needed if priority lanes are provided. People will see the buses moving faster than normal traffic and prefer to switch over to buses instead,” a senior BMTC official said.
It has been planned to have 32 bus shelters with digital display mechanisms, using funds out of the budget for the construction of signal-free corridors on Old Airport Road and Old Madras Road.
The plan, when implemented, is expected to make commuting via these roads easier. Currently, the NGEF junction on Old Madras Road, Kundanahalli junction on Old Airport road and several other chokepoints slow down traffic. Several commuters complain that it sometimes takes up to 15-20 minutes to clear individual signals on these roads during peak hours.
The Bengaluru Traffic Police is partly on board with the plan of providing dedicated lanes for buses on Old Airport Road and Old Madras Road. While they agree that buses should ply on the extreme left lane, there are some more issues to be ironed out before the plan is implemented.
“It can be done. Bus lanes should be on the left because the bus stands are located there. However, it is our opinion that there cannot be bus-only traffic on those lanes as this will surely lead to traffic jams,” said M.A. Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
Experiment on Tumakuru Road
Service lanes on Tumakuru Road have been converted into bus-only lanes as a means of keeping traffic flowing smoothly on the main lanes, M.A. Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said. “These service lanes on both sides of the main carriageway have been converted into bus-only lanes for some time and it is helping to keep the main road free,” he added.