I use my two wheeler only when the target is not very near or too far. I had the luxury of walking to office for 2 years but as life has its say, change is the only constant. My office got moved, thus new worries with commute started for me. After trying out few options, I finally zeroed on the public transport and now a regular commuter on 500 D series buses.
- Route: The route covered by 500 D buses is excellent. It covers the vital, emerging, new part of Outer Ring Road: Hebbal to Silk Board. There are some buses which extend the route upto Banasankari and other areas.
The route connects the famous Manyata Tech Park, Kalyan Nagar, Kasturi Nagar, Tin Factory, K.R.Puram, Mahadevapura (EMC), Karthik Nagar, Marathahalli, J.P.Morgan, College, Intel, RMZ Eco Space, Agara, Bellandur, HSR Layout,
Silk Board, BTM (1st stage, water tank, Udupi Gardens, Jayadeva), Banashankari. I’ve used the bus in both the directions and found it to be offering great service for the demand across this route. The LCD display, Voice Over alerts in most of the buses is also a useful service for newcomers.
- Frequency: There are plenty of Volvo buses in this series and its not definitely one of those buses which test your patience. Sometimes the frequency touches 1 per minute !
- Initially my colleagues had scared me that travelling in local buses is very risky as couple of them had lost their phones. After getting few more details, we concluded that it happens mostly with the low end buses but with Volvo buses the chances of theft are very less because of the professional crowd and also breathtaking pricing !
- The AC buses offer decent comfort to relax, except for the peak hours where getting a seat might be difficult. Otherwise you can see everyone getting on to their smartphone instantly.
- Very high pricing: The AC bus fare is quite high. Its thrice the low end bus fare. For a distance of 3-4 KM, the charge is Rs 35. Recently one of my colleagues and I have figured out that hiring an auto or Ola Cabs works well than going by Volvo AC buses, when we can share the expense. I’ve seen cases like many innocent people on hearing the fare, get down in the next stop. Even the monthly bus fare of Rs 2300 doesn’t work out for many people who travel for less than 10 KM. There are some private players who charge very less, also provide a TV service with adrenaline pumping movie on air and that’s why usually thronged by followers 😀
- Change: The tickets are priced with uneven rounding. I’ve seen many people struggling with Rs 5 change. Even for Conductors, this is the major frustration. The fare should be rounded to the nearest factor of 10 (preferably round down and not round up :))
- Mosquitoes: Some of the buses are serving as incubation centers for mosquitoes. Its very annoying, as there’s no easy way to get rid of them when you have already boarded. Fortunately this is the case only with few buses. Proper measures should be taken, to make them mosquito free.
- Traffic: Although its not in the hands of the Buses, having so many buses on a traffic prone area, adds to the mess. The piled up frustration makes it a dangerous ride, especially for two wheelers. Because the bus drivers tend to make the best use of vacuum whenever they find it.
- Seat Design: The Volvo buses have a weird seating structure, which makes the female crowd feel uncomfortable. Because some of the front seats are designed in such a way that the passenger would be facing the rest of the passengers, often attracting unnecessary attention. I’ve observed many ladies preferring to switch to opposite direction whenever possible. Also the three middle seats, although designed for a good cause viz. physically challenged, neither help as decent seats nor help the passengers who stand.
500 D bus series is serving the needs of thousands of people. With fantastic route coverage, excellent Volvo buses, these are definitely the preferred choice. However very high pricing is a major drawback and is only working because of lack of other options. So government should not be taking advantage of the situation and should charge reasonably. More over with Bangalore’s excellent weather, no one would require Air Conditioner. If that’s the main contributor for excess pricing, at-least half of the buses can be converted into Non-AC. There’s a middle range of buses which are superb in all the ways. If these are increased in number, many people would be benefited.
On the whole 500 D is an excellent public transport service and many people who come by their own vehicle, should adopt the public transport for the greater good. What was your experience ?