Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation got a new Managing Director last month. While a few State Transport Undertakings (STUs) in India have a women leader, BMTC is the only large metropolitan transport corporation that has a women driving it. However Ms C Shikha is not unknown to the city, she has served as Managing Director of BESCom (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited). In the past she has also served as the Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru District for three-and-a-half years. As per one of the leading dailies the senior IAS officer is known for her tough decisions and had hit the headlines.
Looking at her vigour and rigour to take an organization to a different level UITP invited her to participate as a panelist in a high level plenary session in International Bus Conference 2019, Brussels, Belgium. In the panel discussion , Ms C Shikha not only highlighted the challenges that the city faces in terms of public transportation but also the behavioural change that the city needs to see to function efficiently. She discussed how such a large city is dealing with first and last mile connectivity issues to increase adoption of public transport. How moving towards electric vehicles is leading to changes in redesigning of Bus Depots and their integration with Urban Fabric. How good supply of power in the city makes it the best case to experiment and successfully run electric buses in the city. Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India and has seen a population explosion in last two decades, unfortunately public transportation has not been able to keep up with the pace and this has lead it to become a private vehicle driven city thereby leading to increasing congestion.
BMTC under her leadership recently introduced a Bus Priority Lane Project. BBMP, BMTC, BTP (Bengaluru Traffic Police) and DULT (Directorate of Urban Land Transport) are working closely on this project. The pilot project that starts on 1st November will have the left lane in the main carriageway between Silk Board and KR Puram dedicated for BMTC buses, separated physically by steel bollards, forty five new bus services will be started exclusively for this corridor, ambulances will be allowed on these lanes. Initial goal is to increase the average speed of buses on this route from about 10 kmph to 18-20 kmph. BMTC is extremely keen to make the pilot work, and organised a public consultation with interested citizens and organisations last week.
BMTC has started branding its services that will operate on the priority lane on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) as ‘NimBus’ with a tagline ‘Commute Better’. 830 services will ply on the ORR with NimBus stickers and majority of them are on route no. 500. The BMTC will operate blue AC buses and green ordinary buses along the route, replacing the existing multi-colour. The 20-km priority lane is expected to cut down commute time by half-an-hour.