BENGALURU: The indefinite strike by workers of four transport corporations, including KSRTC and BMTC in the City, entered the third day on Wednesday with both the government and the transport unions unwilling to budge from their set positions.
Talks between representatives of both sides continued but with no solution in sight even as the public seemed to be becoming more resigned and acclimatised to not having their usual mode of transportation.
Autorickshaws and private bus services on the roads continued to make a killing in pricing for ferrying commuters to and fro from their workplaces. The only relief for commuters came from the Metro sections that are operational and online taxi services like Ola and Uber, although these services were also under strain.
According to a management-level source at the KSRTC, the government authorities would meet representatives of the union soon after the management decides on what stance to take regarding the issue.
“Negotiations will be made quicker to bring down the degree of trouble the public is facing, and we hope a decision would be made by Wednesday night,” said the official.
“Private buses plying outside the bus stations are a help. We would like to board them from within the bus staion at least during warm daytime,” said Firoz Ahmed, a commuter outside Shantinagar bus station.
Taking into consideration the unexpected loss of working hours, various colleges around the city overruled the “discrete decision” of the Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban) and made Wednesday a working day after two days of holidays. Attendance was thin in the colleges for the first few hours but by and large students were making an attempt to get to their classes.
“People who use public transport are more prone to take out their own vehicles for convenience which has increased traffic-related problems in the city. This has made it difficult to follow a safe time-table to commute to and from the college,” said Mariam Fernando, III BCA, who shared her sense of happiness of getting to spend a longer weekend.
Yuvaraj G, an Ola driver, said that some roads were freer without buses. “Traffic signals were peaceful to handle,” he said. He added that more people were seen taking the option to share/carpool the cab more than ever before.
Private buses plying along the normal routes of BMTC and KSRTC buses were seen more on Tuesday than that on the first day of the strike. They were allowed to be parked and even pick-up points were made possible at Kempegowda Bus Station, Majestic.
Commuters complained of private buses taking the situation for granted charging twice or even thrice the price of a normal bus ticket.BasavaLinga, who travels from Majestic to Whitefield and back, found it difficult to manage his daily budget for transportation due to this. “I’m spending Rs 170 each day now over the expense of Rs 50 which was for a normal day. Reaching a metro station without buses is also a major challenge,” he said.
The Beacon spoke toMurugesh, a private bus driver at Kalassipalaya, who said that they were “running on high risk.” These drivers are keeping an eye out for trouble from an irate public in some places in the City. He added that the ticket fares they charged was reasonable when compared to how they risked their lives to serve the needy people.
The special checking drives conducted by the Bengaluru Traffic Police, to avoid demands for excess fare, was seen as disturbing by some auto drivers.Gurudasappa, an auto driver, said that police interventions at almost all junctions affected smooth transport. “We felt like we were targeted and the checking contributed to more traffic problems in the city,” he said.
For Saranya S.R, an accountant, Namma Metro was a blessing as it helped her reach office faster even though it was packed. “The bus strike has made me rethink on the style of commute I choose. I am planning to take a yearly pass for metro,” she said.
Sathivathi M, a fruit vendor outside Halasuru metro station, was seen welcoming commuters with a full smile. “I thought of trying my luck by moving my cart close to the metro station as a huge rush was seen from Monday morning. My business has been more successful the last two days, thanks to the bus strike,” she said.
Ralph Alex Arakal