Beating the traffic ... I think WE can

I travel to and from office by the bus service that my company offers for its employees. Its a tie up that IBM has with the BMTC, so I travel in normal BMTC buses, no private A/C luxury bus and blah. The agonies of a more-than-six-feet-tall person in a BMTC bus seat are out of the scope of this post ... sadly ... but anyway, let's carry on.

I stay near the HAL Airport and my office is in Nagawara, near Hebbal. Via Outer Ring Road this is a distance of roughly 18 km. I usually board the 9:40am bus which is office rush hour on this route. It takes me an hour or more to reach office. It takes me pretty much an hour or more when returning back late in the evening. That means my travel speed is a little less than 18 kmph, very close to the average traffic speed in Bangalore and other major cities in India.

I'll put it simply - I hate losing so much time per day crammed in a bus, which as I have said before are not the least comfortable for me or even for many others. My friends have suggested that I should buy a bike, which means I can leave at my own time in the morning, beating the rush hour. The other plus is also that I can zip through the city's inner roads and lanes without having to make the longer journey via Outer Ring Road, which as the name suggests is actually a road that runs 'outside' they city in a big circle. I am actually going to buy a bike (as soon as I learn to drive it, I confess I can't drive a bike, shame on me!) because presently it makes a lot of sense to me to do so, for a lot of reasons including (but not limited to) the traffic woes I have just illustrated :)

Having said that, I came across this presentation a few days ago. Check it out it's totally worth the time. I have to say I agree with what the author has said in that presentation: 'Efficient Public Transport' is the best way to curb 'our' traffic woes. Its really very simple.
  • The bus that I travel in accomodates roughly 40-45 people. Buses on other routes carry upto even 60-65 and all this where you definitely have a seat, no standing journey, no shoving no pushing no nothing.
  • 9 times out of 10 any car/bike I see on the road is carrying, yes you are right, ONE person. There is very little carpooling. Imagine taking all those people from their cars and putting them in one bus ... 40 cars off the road for the price of 1 brand new bus!


  • Buses give a mileage of ... 4-5? km per litre of diesel. Multiply that with 50, which is the average number of passengers and you get 250 person-kmpl.
  • Even a really efficient car will give you a mileage of 14-15 kmpl in the city, tops. Even with carpooling you have 4 * 15 = 60 person-kmpl. Bikes are trickier! A mileage of 40-45 kmpl will go down drastically if you have a constant pillion rider. So it roughly comes to the same for bikes also, is my guess.


There are so many added advantages of a well developed public transport system. Fuel emissions will go down by tonnes! No choc-a-bloc traffic, so no rush hour (for all ladies, you will never miss your favorite TV serial). Buses are also much safer to travel in. A well developed system of this kind will save you time and reduce frustration caused by traffic.

Okay okay, there are some flipsydes to it, not the least being that you can't travel as comfortably as you can in a car. Another is your time-table will be run by the BMTC and not you. Having your own transportation also means that you are more flexible with your travel route ... dinner on the way back from work ... drop in for a beer someplace ... movie with girlfriend :) ... just go for a drive! ... blah blah

But the way I see it, there is no style or comfort left when you are stuck for an hour in traffic going from 0-10 on the speedometer. You lose time, get frustrated and seriously bored! Sure, maybe travelling in a bus reorganizes your time-table and weekend plans but if you save more than an hour everyday it might not be a bad idea to come home first on a Friday evening (early! since the roads were ... clear ... imagine) then set out on your cars n bikes. No one hangs out every night! I could personally do with saving an hour everyday ... I could practice my guitar, maybe read more or maybe even hunt for a girlfriend ;) ... lol!

We can't just keep crying about the traffic and finally blaming the government (culprits!) for everything, because that won't change anything. Its a small adjustment that will go a long way in making cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and others congestion free, greener and quieter. Its our city, our country ... not the government's.

I conclude with the following: I can't beat the traffic ... but WE can ... cheesy but true :)

Addition: Sunday Jan 11
Check out this really cool cycling initiative in Bangalore. We need more of these ... we need to adapt, there is just no other solution ... and there is no harm in adapting, frankly :)