02 February 2009

Going to office by BMTC

BMTC's varietyThis is a trackback post. I had conceived this post last year in August, but was not able to post as it pending for refinement. Then in mid-September I traveled to Seoul and stayed there for 3 months. I deferred from posting as I didn't want share my thoughts on BMTC travel being miles away from Bangalore. Then after coming to back to Bangalore I got busy with personal work and getting set for my B-school endeavor. Finally today ignoring that I am out of Bangalore, making this post to see light of the day. The post is basically regarding my experiences from Feb to Aug 2008.

With the advent of cost cutting measures in Indian IT sector, the travel to office changed a lot. Our admin team first increased cab fees and then all of a sudden rationalized the routes. 18 routes were merged make only 3-4 routes long routes. And the vehicle selected for the route was 32 seater Swaraj Mazda (?). According a trusted source Swaraj Mazda is one of the hopeless passenger vehicle running on Indian roads at the moment. The chasis of the vehicle is actually meant for a goods vehicle. It will be like a hell sitting inside the vehicle and experiencing the bumpy ride.

Rubbing salt to wound was the rescheduling of pick up time as early as 7.00 am, a time of the day when most of people will be doing various morning activities or jogging in a park. Also leaving early doesn't mean that you will be reaching early. The cab used to do detour and reach office at 8.45 am. One and half hours in swaraj mazda(!!). For the all these reason I chose to opt for BMTC for going to office, and for returning to home there were free office shuttles after 7.30 pm.

First things first, some advantages of traveling by BMTC
  • Flexibility: I could leave my home at my own time.
  • Normal BMTC buses are way comfartable than Swaraj Mazda.
  • Constructive activity: Even though I spend one and half hours while traveling, I was doing some constructive like reading a magazine or even sleeping`
  • An opportunity to travel in BMTCs premium service Vajra - commonly known as Volvo service.

But with the comfort and flexibility, many not so desirable things come part and parcel. There was no direct bus from my home(Hanumanthanagar) to the office Sigma Tech Park(Varthur Kodi). There used to be a constant daemon running in my mind about which option to opt with varying comfort, convenience and cost. Finding the best option in terms of cost, time and convenience had become a NP-hard problem. In six months I managed to find a optimal option in terms cost, time and convenience.

But from a different perspective the activity was a fun mainly because I was breaking pattern everyday. Sometimes patience used to pay off ... other times it didn't use to pay at all.

Let's look at the route options(in detail) I had:

Via K.R. Market
From my home there were innumerable buses Market and from market to Varthur Kodi there were many direct buses. It was most economical option as the cost was only Rs.17(6+11). But it was the most inconvenient. Just imagine, how it will be getting down and boarding another bus in K. R. Market. All the buses starting from market will be loaded with baskets of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Via Richmond
335EThere were very less buses from Hanumanthanagar to Richmond. Also in peak hours it used to be crowded like anything. But from Richmond there were better options towards my office. I could take direct, infrequent 333P volvo to office or else I could break the journey by taking frequent 335E to Kundanahalli gate from there any ordinary to bus Varthur Kodi. The major inconvenience with this option was waiting for a bus at Richmond. I had to scan name of plate of several buses to find out is the bus for to your destination. In addition to this, the rescheduling of school timings to 8.30 am was a major nuisance. After 7.45 am there were frequent deadlocks at the junction, courtesy parents dropping their kids by car. The trip cost varied depending on service I opted. If I took a Volvo bus from Richmond, the trip cost will be Rs. 42(7+35 or 7+30+5). It's was the most optimal route w.r.t distance and travel time. Sometimes I reached office in an hour even after changing 3 buses.

Via Majestic
In order to avoid the process of number-plate-scanning I switched to option of going via Majestic. I could take 45G pushpak(via goodshed) to majestic and from there a Volvo to or towards my office. Eventhough it was round about option it is one of convinient one. I can patiently wait for my dream bus 333P(more about it later) without any number scanning task. My usual target used to be 8.15 am 333P which will be always on schedule except in May, when there was a problem for a week as some BMTC resources were moved to Airport shuttle service. The major target at that time were drivers and conductors of 333P! One day I waited for the bus for 45 minutes at KBS. After one week patch things were back to normal. But due to longer distance there is high time variance of travel. But with the introduction of 45-G Volvo, via majestic option became more convenient. Some days I could make an end-to-end Volvo journey from home to my office.

Via Corporation
Suvarna Finally, I switched to via corporation option to make the journey more optimal w.r.t time and cost, compromising a little on convinience. I used to take the same 8.15am 333P bus which used come to corporation bus stop around 8.25 am. I couldn't avoid number scanning process, but waiting under huge canopy of tress next to cubbon park, experiencing cool breeze evened out a little bit of inconvenience. Also because punctual Chandru(my colleague) the waiting at corporation bus stop annulled. He used to give me missed call after the departure of bus from majestic. Total cost of Rs.47 was bit economical then 'via majestic' option. But with the introduction of Suvarna service(no pass and one and half charge) bus.. brought down my expense. Suvarna 333E was a direct bus to my office and the ticket cost Rs.15 from corporation brought down total cost to Rs.22.

333p333P, the dream bus
My eyes lit up when I used to see the number. Since the frequency of the dream bus 333p was very less, many a times I opted for more frequent 335E upto Kundanhalli. But getting down at Kundanahalli from 335E was always an ardous task, as the bus directly goes to ITPL and always loaded with IT people going towards ITPL.

Some other thoughts
- In Ordinary Service - I had to be careful to avoid stepping on someone's legs. Otherwise the resultant was usual bashing towards IT professional.
- On some occasions I became on the spot route expert at Majestic bus stand. If one person asks bus number for a particular locality, after my response there used to enquiries by several other people surrounding me.

In Volvo service
  • the ACs were intolerable many times, and driver used to ignore our request to increase temperature.
  • If a co-passenger farts, the feeling used to be like staying in a hell. The comfort of paying premium price was all lost.
  • In seating leg room was the major deciding factor. In the back section of the bus I used to prefer only front and last row seats.

Different co-passengers everyday
Unlike traveling in company cab, I used to travel with co-passengers everyday. The experiences were sometimes not so good. One day I was sitting next a lady who was arguing with her husband on phone for the reason that why she slept early last night. Some other times passengers are accompanied by a person new to the city. Whole journey there used to be running commentary showing each and every landmark on the way "Look this is Kanteerva stadium, this is HAL airport, this is Mayo Hall etc"

Last few days in Dec-Jan were bit comfortable with increase of frequency of 333P service. In fact on last day to my office I managed have an end-to-end Volvo ride because of more frequent buses. Things seem to be improving gradually. There has been discussion Bangalore's Infrastructure forum - praja.in to rationalize BMTC routes into zonal routes to reduce travel and waiting time. Let's see how it materializes and hope for the best.


  1. Anonymous7:34 PM

    It was an interesting read, more because even I have switched to BMTC to fight recession :)

  2. Now this problem and solution of yours should replace the stupid traveling sales man problem in Corman Book.

    It has got both the parameters, cost reduction and travel time reduction at the same time.

    Renamed as Traveling Software Man Problem.

  3. @deepak: thanks and share ur experiences of BMTC.

    @manish: thanks for renaming the problem.