Homeless Anxiously Waiting for 11 Bus Shelters to Open on Clock Tower-AB Shetty Circle Stretch?
Mangaluru: Here is yet another SMART-LESS project by SMART CITY Officials trying to waste taxpayers money on constructing not 1, not 2, but 11 BUS SHELTERS in a row on the Clock Tower to A B Shetty Circle stretch. Are these bus shelters really needed?- is a question many citizens are asking, since they know the situation of bus shelters in the City, where not many commuters are using, other than beggars, homeless, and stray dogs. Then why are these 11 bus shelters planned when they don’t serve the purpose? And the bad part is that the buses stop wherever they want to pick up their passengers, and not at the bus shelters. As they say “Old habits die hard”, I guess the same applies to these bus drivers, no matter what awareness programmes you conduct for them, they still stick to their same old habits.
Just look at these 11 bus shelters which are being constructed- the height of each bus shelter is so high when it rains heavily commuters waiting for the bus will be soaked in water. Remember a couple of years when Smart Bus Shelters were being built, due to the unscientific height, the construction of those bus shelters were stopped, and later well-designed and more scientific Smart bus shelters were built. Now once again we are seeing these bus shelters being built with height. NOT SMART!
Where the bus shelters are really needed, they are not built. We have seen when MSCL or MCC undertake road widening projects, they demolish the old bus shelters to make way for the widening of the road, and once the new road is done, the commuters are left without a bus shelter. And this has been going on at each road widening project, and the concerned officials from MSCL or MCC turn a blind eye to such issues, even after complaints or peoples woes. Chaos prevails in some of the prominent bus stops in the City as buses haphazardly stop with little respect for the signage. Another thing is that commuters prefer not to stand at the shelters provided as most of the buses do not stop near them. Then why even spend money on constructing bus shelters/stops when commuters don’t make use of them. In many of the bus shelters, you will either see dogs sleeping or drunkards/homeless people making it their shelter place.
Last year when Team Mangalorean had made an article on the same issue of bus shelters, a senior citizen waiting at the bus stop was on the verge of being hit by a City bus just outside the MCC office. If he was lucky, many others were not, apparently due to the way the bus stops were designed and the confusion of proper signage. Yet another commuter, Shailaja who regularly takes the city or service bus at Light House Hill bus stop put it aptly saying “Even though I travel daily, I do not know where my bus stops. I need to be alert and keep a watch so that I don’t miss my bus when it arrives.”
And now we are seeing a nearly 500-metre road between the Clock Tower and A B Shetty Circle being transformed into a smart road, and as part of this project, apart from constructing wider footpaths (which is just another joke), 11 bus shelters will come up on that stretch of the road. The reason behind having 11 new bus shelters, since many government offices are located on this road stretch, and also that District Administration/DC offices are also nearby. Once the DC office is shifted to Padil, then what? What if the main bus stand is shifted to Kankanady Pumpwell, what is the use for spending big bucks on these new bus shelters?
It is learnt that as per an agreement entered with the advertisement agencies which earlier managed these bus stands, the firms will build and manage these new bus shelters. They will also share a part of the income with the city corporation. The Smart City has designed the bus shelters as it wants all the bus stands to look identical. The bus stands will have seating arrangement for the passengers apart from boards about which buses will stop there and advertisements. Gaps have been created on the footpath for the purpose of maintaining the green. The electric lighting presently provided is enough to cover the road till the divider. Henceforth, light poles will be built on both sides and a bulb will be fitted at a height of nine metres. Bulbs will also be fitted at five metres height for lighting the footpaths, which will facilitate the people using the bus stands and also the others using the footpaths.
If you look around Mangaluru Bus shelters you will hardly find anyone standing there- instead it is a common sight to see commuters standing a little far away from the bus stops or beside the walls nearby even though a stipulated bus stop is built in that locality. If you look near Light House Hill where commuters still either stand below the tree in front of the Mosque or by the roadside waiting for their buses to arrive, in spite of three nice bus shelters very close by. Only a few students of the nearby college spend some leisure time at these bus shelters, other than that you don’t see any other citizens.
In spite of the traffic cops strictly instructing the drivers not to stop and pick passengers at non-designated bus stops, it seems like no one cares- you can see buses stopping opposite Wenlock hospital to pick up passengers when they are not supposed to. Even the buses still stop opposite Syndicate Bank-Hampankatta, going towards Lighthouse Hill Road. There is absolutely no planning or policy when it comes to the number of bus shelters to be built at a particular point. In fact, there are no shelters at all at most of the bus stops in the newly added wards. There cannot be a worse hardship a commuter can face while waiting for a bus for a long time.
I have noticed, It’s very confusing for the people, especially visitors who wait for the bus where there are more bus shelters. They do not know where the bus stops. In such cases, they might also miss the bus and not reach their workplace or destination in time. Chances are that when the people are waiting for the bus in a bus shelter, the bus might stop ahead in the next shelter. Also, if the same route bus numbers are plying at a particular time, the buses won’t even stop, unless there are commuters alighting in that destination. There is no proper display of route numbers on the bus shelters either. Seems like there is a lot of disarray in the construction of more than one shelter at a particular stop between the planners.
All I have to say is that having more than one bus shelter is definitely confusing to the commuters as the bus might stop anywhere. Also when there is a bus shelter where commuters are not using it, chances are that illegal folks use it for illegal activities, also four-legged animals like stray dogs and cows use it for their shelter. After spending Crores on this project, officials should ensure the Buses stop there and not allow Drunkards and Druggies to use the facility. If not the hundred-plus homeless cum alcoholics will make these 11 BUS SHELTERS their NEW HOMES? The city and transport authorities have to come out with a solution as to how to put these deserted bus shelters in use again-one way they can do it is educate the bus drivers or post bus route numbers/destination names in front of these deserted bus shelters.