The Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) — a citizens group — revealed the findings of the Bengaluru commuter study on Monday, 4 September, at the Bengaluru Press Club: 19 out of 20 people are willing to give up private vehicles for Namma Metro.
To be precise, around 95 percent of the 3,855 respondents to the #Personal2Public Bengaluru questionnaire, who are currently using private vehicles to go to work, said they were willing to instead use the Metro.
B.PAC Managing Trustee & CEO Revathy Ashok told reporters, “This survey communicates the ground realities that citizens witness in their day-to-day life.”
She added, “The Bengaluru Commuter survey findings have yet again clearly established that citizens of Bengaluru are willing to shift away from private vehicles and travel in public transport to their workplaces, provided there is seamless, predictable and comfortable access to first- and last-mile connectivity.”
She also said: “We intend to convey these insights to the government so that it can take the necessary actions and meet the expectations of Bengalureans.”
The #Personal2Public campaign, which was launched in July in collaboration with civil society groups and corporations, aimed to inspire commuters to use public transport at least twice a week.
The citizen-led initiative was supported by the B.PAC, World Resources Institute (WRI), several corporate and civil society organizations, auto driver unions, and research organisations.
The survey looked at commuters’ travel patterns to identify gaps in accessing public transport.
The much-awaited Metro lines to some of the congested parts of Bengaluru city — Whitefield and Electronic City — will become operational this year.
The new Metro lines can significantly reduce traffic congestion to and from these areas.
This, said the campaigners, underscored the need to make the Metro and other public transport modes more viable to decongest the city further and reduce air pollution.
Findings of the survey
While the questionnaire was open to all, it specifically solicited participation from people who travel to and from or live in Whitefield, Mahadevapura, Electronic City, and the Outer Ring Road (ORR) areas. These regions house approximately 10 lakh working people.
As per the survey report, of the 3,855 respondents, a majority (around 60 percent, or three out of five) use their personal vehicles for travel every day — 1,172 being car users and 1,046 using two-wheelers.
Car users spend about 1-1.5 hours in one direction as compared to 45 minutes to an hour spent by existing Metro users when travelling to the above-mentioned areas.
The survey showed that car and two-wheeler users are ready to shift to the Metro if it reduces their door-to-door travel time.
Last-mile connectivity still a priority
Some of the factors that impact Metro usage, for instance, are the lack of reliable first and last-mile connectivity and time spent waiting for suitable modes of transport for it.
Seamless integration and travel time were a priority over travel costs. Around 62 percent of the respondents who currently use public transport also wanted better footpaths and 33 percent wanted increased bus frequency.
Existing public transport users and non-users unequivocally stated that improved first and last-mile connection, with seamless multi-modal integration, would encourage more people to use public transport.
Nearly 50 percent of the women respondents depend on various shared mobility, preferring regular public transport over private modes.
Around 40 percent of women respondents also highlighted key challenges such as the lack of reliable first and last-mile services; and the need for seamless connectivity as well as a common ticketing service.
Sharing the feedback
The feedback from the commuters is expected to be presented to representatives from the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), and the Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP), which should help further dialogues on improving public transport in the city.
WRI India Fellow Srinivas Alavilli said, “The only long-term solution to our traffic problem is public transport. We are working together to improve first and last-mile access by collaborating with government agencies.”
He noted: “The responses have made it clear that Bengalureans will shift to public transport if we make their everyday travel reliable and seamless.”
He added: “As the ORR has the maximum number of daily commuters, running faster feeder buses from Purple Line Metro stations to tech parks along the ORR should make a big difference.”