The recent fracas regarding the elimination of “gate lock” or “seating” services speaks to a deeper problem within our public transport systems.
While we appreciate the BRTA’s efforts to implement certain regulations to bring order to the bus services, “gate lock” services are only a very small part of a bigger disease that plagues these services.
Currently, these services are poorly organised, wreak havoc with traffic, and are driven recklessly with impunity. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What our buses need is a complete overhaul.
The BRTA’s role should not be limited to imposing rules and regulations which only cater to a small problem, but improve the overall service provided.
For one thing, while there are hardly any proper bus stops in the city, the ones that do exist are never used, serving as nothing more than protection from the rain for pedestrians.
And, as the recent bus strike has somewhat demonstrated, the lack of buses on the roads improves the quality of traffic movement immensely.
With an increasing number of deaths every day due to road accidents, the BRTA in conjunction with the traffic police need to rein in these services so that they maintain law and order.
As it stands now, buses are a nuisance for passengers and road users alike. The only reason they continue to run is because the urban poor have no other alternatives.
“Gate lock” services are not the main problem. The problem lies in poor urban planning and a lack of adequate enforcement of traffic laws.
Change the way these buses run. That is the only way forward.