Bus lanes cut travel time, help tackle pollution in Bengaluru: Report
The survey found that, over 28% of existing bus users reported an improvement in travel time since the implementation of the bus lane
The latest Greenpeace India survey on Bus Priority Lanes (BPL) sheds light on the bus lane’s positive effects on travel time and potential solutions to Bengaluru’s air pollution crisis.
Greenpeace India is the Indian branch of the global environmental group Greenpeace, a non-profit NGO.
The report, “Relying on bus: Studying the impacts of Bengaluru’s bus lane on bus use”, is based on an on-board survey of 979 bus users. It was conducted between May and July 2022. The bus lane, which ran along the Outer Ringer Road (ORR) on a stretch of about 18.5 kilometres, was launched in 2019, and discontinued in mid-2022 due to metro work.
The survey found that, over 28% of existing bus users reported an improvement in travel time since the implementation of the bus lane. This improvement was particularly significant for those travelling longer distances, with 54% of respondents experiencing a reduction in travel time from 60-90 minutes to 30-60 minutes. Additionally, 82% of respondents found the bus lanes to have a generally positive experience.
Amruta SN, Greenpeace India campaigner, said, “The introduction of the bus priority lane attracted new users, particularly women, with 3% of respondents starting to avail public buses since the introduction of the bus lane, despite its limited stretch. Among these ‘new’ users, an overwhelming majority are women (73%), highlighting the gender-positive impact of the bus lane. These findings strongly support our recommendation to implement bus priority lanes on routes that have already been mapped out by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT).”
The survey further highlighted the overwhelming desire of respondents for the introduction of more bus lanes throughout the city. A total of 86% of the respondents expressed their support for expanding the bus lane system, suggesting key areas such as Hebbal, Tin Factory, Silk Board, Marathahalli, Whitefield, Electronic City, BTM layout, Majestic, and KR Puram. Some individuals even called for bus lanes to be implemented throughout the entire city.
Avinash Chanchal, Greenpeace India’s campaign manager, emphasised the close link between Bengaluru’s transport problems and its air pollution crisis. “Heavy traffic congestion contributes significantly to air pollution, as vehicles emit harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Bengaluru’s air quality has consistently ranked as one of the worst in India, posing a significant health risk to residents, especially vulnerable populations such as children, elderly citizens, pregnant citizens, and individuals with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions,” he said.
“To combat this issue, we must improve the public transportation system in Bengaluru and invest in infrastructure such as bus lanes, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian walkways. This will significantly reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads and lower pollution levels,” Chanchal added.
The report pointed out that the prioritisation and implementation of the 11 other proposed bus lanes in Bengaluru will go a long way in improving the city’s public transport system. By dedicating lanes exclusively for buses, we can enhance the efficiency and reliability of our public transit system, ultimately leading towards sustainable and convenient mobility for citizens, it added.