What A Waste of Peoples’ Money! Unplanned Bus Shelters are In Ruins in the City’?
Mangaluru: Lakhs of tax-payers money spent on construction of bus shelters at various places by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL) and Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) is going to waste as these bus shelters are not being maintained and are now in dilapidated condition forcing bus commuters to wait for buses by standing under rain and sun. Many bus shelters are in bad shape and filled with muck, cow dung and walls adorned with graffiti. Many of these shelters are surrounded by grass/weeds and you can hardly get into the bus shelter. The photos in this report will give a clear description. They have been turned non-functional and their benches are all corroded or broken. Also, a few buses stop at make-shift stops or in the middle of the road.
Where you really need a bus shelter, there is none-otherwise you see a bunch of bus shelters where commuters don’t use nor buses stop there. Ironically, there are a few bus shelters constructed on routes where buses do not ply. This is a waste of taxpayers’ money. There is one bus shelter that is rendered useless to commuters as the place in front of the bus shelter has turned into a commercial place with vendors selling vegetables on pushcarts. A majority of bus shelters do not have bus bays. Buses stand right in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and endangering the lives of the people, especially in crowded places. Many bus shelters on arterial roads are used by street vendors after regular hours for sleeping.
While many areas don’t even have ONE bus shelter, look at the joke here- near NMPT junction, not ONE there are THREE bus shelters- and commuters can make a choice, which bus shelter they will be using. MSCL had sanctioned 20 smart bus shelters including three with e-toilets, under Mangaluru Smart City Limited at various locations in the city years ago. The one at Panambur was constructed at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. It is seen that one of the smart bus shelters under the smart city project has come up at Panambur where two bus shelters already exist. One bus shelter was constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and another by the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) and now a new smart bus shelter has been constructed by the MSCL.
Strange but True! Three Bus-Shelters Closer to Each Other near NMPT Junction-Panambur
As soon as the construction work was completed, the picture of three bus shelters in a row started flooding on social media. Mohammed Nazeer, the then Managing Director of MSCL, had said that the space for a bus shelter was identified by the NHAI based on request. After looking into the issue, a decision was taken to demolish the bus shelters built by NHAI and NMPT, but until now, nothing has changed, instead, three bus shelters exist side by side?
It seems like the transport authority/public transport association and Mangaluru City Corporation have a mission. “It’s either more or less, but never adequate”. So, when people who commute daily by city or service buses complain of the hazards and hassles involved in boarding a bus, both the authorities seem to be aggravating the commuter’s problem. Bus shelters across the City are in shambles. In many places, there are no bus shelters at all, and at some spots, there is more than one bus shelter- and there are other spots where makeshift stops have added to the misery of the travelling public.
Many bus shelters hardly have any commuters using it, other than homeless people squatting or sleeping. Even four-legged “man’s best friends” are seen taking a nap, some of them urinating. At Lady Hill junction, there are at least three bus shelters opposite Lady Hill High School, and two bus shelters opposite Mangala stadium but hardly anyone uses the second/third bus shelter. At one bus shelter opposite Lady Hill school, motorists are using it to park their two-wheelers. There is absolutely no planning or policy when it comes to the number of bus shelters to be built at a particular point as some important bus stops where more than two bus stops are in a row, resulting in the bus drivers stopping according to their whims and fancies. 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. An overenthusiastic MCC and other organizations /associations have gone ahead with random construction of bus shelters, leaving the commuters more confused at some places and have completely ignored certain places.
Though commuters pay taxes like everyone else and deserve basic infrastructure, they are always at risk of getting caught in rain or dealing with blistering heat and freezing cold as many bus shelters have been rendered useless. Ideally, bus stops are meant for ease and comfort for commuters. Here, they are inconvenient and at the same time increases the risk of road accidents as commuters are forced to stand on the roads due to the pathetic state of some of the shelters. From their location to lack of necessary information, complaints about bus shelters in the city are endless. The location of bus shelters in several places is not right and is leading to traffic jams.
As many are in a dilapidated condition, commuters are forced to stand on the road, a little away from the pavement, and flag down passing buses. Even though the public have urged the authorities concerned to construct bus shelters only where buses stop and also take steps for their periodical maintenance and stop wasting taxpayers money, the officials have turned a blind eye and have gone their own way in constructing bus shelters.
Take these classic examples of the lack of planning by these authorities in constructing bus shelters. Taking a ride across the city and a little further in the outskirts of the city, you’ll notice that there are two or three bus shelters with a scanty population using it for travelling towards their required destinations, and in other places where many commuters really need a bus-shelter, there is none. Thousands of commuters have to wait along with the bus stops or most of the time on the road itself. This gets worse when it rains. 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 on 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 running 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.
In conclusion, having more than one bus shelter at a bus stop 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. 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.
Why have bus shelters when buses do not stop there? Take the example of Dasappa circle, vehicles moving towards KRS stops at a corner when the designated sheltered bus stop is 30 feet away. If you move around Mysuru, you will notice that there are no designated bus stops. People stand in front of a shop, or a tree, and the bus stops there. It is requested that MCC and KSRTC provide a pole with a signboard identifying scheduled bus stops.