Better Bus Bengaluru: A Campaign Report

The Better Bus Bengaluru webinar series was conceptualised by Environment Support Group, in collaboration with Bengaluru Moving to provide a platform for conversations on just how mobility in the city can be revitalised, and turned into sustainable and effective, through deeply democratic processes.  These conversations traversed and interrogated deeper layers, discontents, contradictions and also opportunities that often are unattended in formal, typically centralised and undemocratic decision making, as is prevalent now guided by parastatal agencies. The five public webinars were held on various interrelated themes between 3rd and 28th August 2020, via Zoom.

The conversations sought to listen to a wide range of voices with the intention of representing diverse interests. They involved representatives of women’s rights organisations, citizens groups and student networks. They also included academics, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, street vendors, urban anthropologists and people with disabilities. Senior representatives of Bengaluru Traffic Police, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) were key intervenors in the discussions. And significantly key political leaders such as Prof. Rajeev Gowda, former Member of Parliament and Mr. Uday B. Garudachar, Member of Karnataka Legislative Assembly also participated. The rich discussions between these diverse individuals brought to light several issues that need careful consideration of just about everybody if Bangalore has to become once again a  pleasant city to live in and travel through.

Issues to be addressed To Move Bengaluru’s Mobility Forward

  1. Ecological separation is mounting in the city, and this is costing people their health
  2. The current prioritization of private vehicles over public buses
  3.  The evident bias towards the metro, within the ambit of public transit planning: 
  4. The unaffordability of bus fares to large sections of the population:
  5. The need for a comprehensive mobility plan integrating all modes of transport: 
  6. The current inaccessibility of buses to people with vulnerabilities:
  7. The challenges women face in accessing and using public transport: 
  8. The lack of infrastructure to walk or cycle safely in the city:
  9. The need for sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility:
  10. The importance of street vendors in the city-scape: 
  11. The need for bus commuters to lobby for their collective interests: 

The discussions in this webinar series focused their interventions in assisting a reimagination of public mobility in a burgeoning metropolis like Bengaluru, and turning this into an opportunity to make the city functional, environmentally secure, socially just and economically viable. The conversations focused on accommodating needs of the present and the demands of the future, and by ensuring public mobility speaks to everyone’s needs and feelings. The idea of this campaign is to ensure everyone can be a participant in building such imaginaries where inclusivity is celebrated and making cities functional is an empowering process. Finally, it is about ensuring everyone feels healthy, safe and secure when they move about and live in the city.

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