KARNATAKA (Metro Rail & Steel): Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy disclosed pivotal insights regarding Bengaluru’s Metro feeder buses during the ongoing winter session of the Assembly in Belagavi. Responding to queries, Reddy highlighted that 76,468 commuters utilize the 134 Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) feeder bus services daily, with a total of 2,012 trips operated daily.
Among these feeder buses, the MF-5 route, traversing between Central Silk Board and SV (Swami Vivekananda) Metro station, commands the highest daily ridership, catering to 13,949 passengers. Following closely, the MF-12 route, linking Vijayanagara and Banashankari TTMC Metro stations, serves 7,711 passengers daily. Comparatively, the feeder bus running between KR Puram and Central Silk Board caters to 4,824 commuters daily. However, the feeder bus connecting Banashankari Metro station and BTM Layout registers the lowest ridership at 221 passengers daily.
Nevertheless, experts in urban mobility express concerns about the seemingly low daily ridership of the Metro feeder buses, considering the extensive usage of nearly 40 lakh passengers in the BMTC and over 7 lakh Metro riders. They attribute this lower figure to the availability of alternative last-mile connectivity modes like autos, cabs, and other services.
Sathya Arikutharam, an urban mobility expert, stressed the importance of intermodal collaboration between public transport modes to attain an 80% mode share. He recommended proactive collaboration between Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited and BMTC, suggesting the Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) spearhead joint route planning discussions. Arikutharam also proposed increasing feeder bus frequency throughout the day, not just during peak hours, projecting a surge in ridership once the full Metro network becomes operational.
In a separate discussion, Reddy disclosed that Rs 1,669.45 crore had been disbursed between June 11 and November 2023 as part of the Shakti Scheme, which offers free bus travel for women in Karnataka. The scheme witnessed a staggering 109 crore women benefiting between June 11 and December 6, 2023, with the corporations incurring a total cost of Rs 2,612 crore during this period. Notably, allocations included Rs 625 crore for Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Rs 294 crore for BMTC, Rs 417 crore for North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation, and Rs 332 crore for Kalyana Karnataka Road Transport Corporation.