(TL note: nareshov's diary)

Archive for the ‘Public Transport’ Category

My first day to work in a bike

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Public transport that is fast, reliable is still a far-sighted goal in these parts of the world. The local government has probably lost its chance to increase the number of buses or other forms of public transport because if they do it now, there’s simply not enough road space for them anymore. There are as many cars these days as there were two wheelers in the 90s. But, no, the road space hasn’t increased.

Ever since I got back to B’lore last November, I’ve been commuting to work on a car. It’s a 2006-07 Hyundai Getz and still works quite well. What makes it an unpleasant and at times depressing ride is when one is stuck inside it in B’lore peak hour traffic. One can’t hit the second gear for an hour or more. So much wasted time sitting idle on a seat waiting on slow minds – who don’t realise how traffic rules are meant to help them be efficient on the road – to make way. Oh, but the rules themselves are harebrained in certain scenarios: for instance, traffic lights in a junction that turn green in a round-robin fashion with equal time intervals for all roads on that junction.

Last week I acquired a Trek 7.1 FX. It’s a hybrid that’s supposed to roll well on city roads. I took it out for a test spin to work on Saturday to test the waters: to see if the goal of riding nearly 12 kilometers is doable at all without sweating too much. Turns out that it’s possible.

Two years ago, at around the same time, I had acquired a Hercules ACT104. It’s supposed to be an MTB. But I didn’t know at that time that good MTBs don’t come that cheap at all. That cycle was a deadweight to ride with. The weekend before last, I had taken the ACT104 out in an attempt to see if I could ride all the way to office. I had to give up at one-third the distance. It was too heavy or just didn’t roll well. Previously at college, I was a proud owner of a BSA Mach III. I could literally glide on it at times. All this made me start looking at cycles with narrower tires.

My ride to work is nearly 11 kilometers and the ride back is almost 18 kilometers (I ride to NGV/Koramangala and then toward home). I’m not sure how tired I am as I write this, but being just the first day, I’m looking forward to improvements.

P.S. The Trek cost me my 6 month petrol bill (assuming the petrol price doesn’t increase in the next 6 months)

P.P.S. The Nissan Leaf isn’t available here. The Prius is twice the amount it costs in the US.

UPDATE on 22nd:

Some of you might be looking for details such as:

  1. I wear a dry-fit jersey while I ride and carry a casual t-shirt (which I change into while at office) in my backpack along with my laptop. I don’t sweat as much thanks to the awesome weather of BLR and I don’t have a shower at work. (Among the metros in India, I believe only BLR has this weather advantage.)
  2. The time to commute on bike almost equals that of the car. Varies a bit now and then depending on the traffic. At least with a bike one can pull it off onto the footpath and walk it up until there’s road to ride.
  3. I park the bike at the basement at work. I use a coil-like lock and lock it to something.
  4. Being the second day now, I think goggles for eye protection and a decent pollution mask are necessary.

Written by Naresh

November 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

On Bangalore’s Road Traffic

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I’ve been observing the road while I ride my old bike between my home and office (good job right?) and I’ve come to the conclusion that the autorickshaw drivers are almost always responsible for slowing down the rest on the roads. Unoccupied autos are even worse. They loiter around on the road driving in a jovial, not-really-busy way which comes to those of us who’re in a hurry as some sort of a mockery. Previously, I thought the new (and rising) breed of car driving population (many a time with just one person in the car) were the real culprits.

Bangalore is riddled with one-ways and “speedbreakers”. The one-ways are sort of understandable; they not only double the (band)width which helps in “ironing” out the traffic over a long distance, they rule out the accidents that may occur in a two-way road without a divider. The speedbreakers on the other hand, suck big time. They slow down four-wheelers (like cars) a lot. Think about all the gear-switching, the fuel consumption and most importantly, time wasted. It’s terrible.

I started hating autos more after seeing what they’re capable of. Apart from the sort of inconsiderate driving mentioned above, they’re a dangerous in a “worst-of-both-worlds” sense. Autos are three-wheelers (here in India): their width is slightly less than that of the substandard Maruti 800 and instead of a steering wheel, they have a two-wheeler-style handle. So, what this means to you on the road is, there’s this three-wheeler almost as wide as a car that’s going to invariably (if you’re used to it) or unexpectedly (if you’re new to it) perform sharp sideward movements (abrupt right or left turns) like the ones two-wheelers are capable of. Such awkward, dangerous movements are to be expected from an auto in front of you when there’s a red-signal up ahead and the vehicles in your flow are all slowing down and that auto tries to fit in (as if we’re all in a best-possible-packing competition (filesystem fragmentation reference >_>)) with the vehicles around it.

So, yeah, autorickshaw drivers are the first set of roadusers to hate. They’re way too many in the first place and safe autorickshaw drivers are just as rare as the availability hygienic fresh juice parlours in Bangalore.

Next, four-wheeler drivers who’re driving alone (come on!)

And then this is something mostly autorickshaws do, but I’ve seen two-wheelers and four-wheelers guilty of it too: Parking in the most inappropriate locations which causes traffic slowdown. Jeez. Outright stupidity or socially-inconsiderate: usually a combination of both.

Lane driving is something almost nobody respects. Some four-wheeler drivers do, but they’re rare. That short-term gain one might get by taking that abrupt turn or cutting someone else off from his course on the road drastically affects the general flow of traffic on the road. Long-term throughput is affected. I’m not going to talk about the benefits of using public transport. It’s something that should be fairly obvious (Of course, the lack of sufficient public transport isn’t an excuse to not do something about it. It’s your tax money. Oh, do you even pay taxes?)

Many a time, I’ve felt like stopping right there and blasting the offender on the spot. Alas, I’m neither that courageous nor patient nor capable of putting my message across successfully enough to actually make the person stop being a douche on the road in the future. Here’s to hoping that this blog post is going to help. Cheers!

On Public Transportation

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On reading Rubenérd’s post on Australian public transport, I wrote up a quick comment and at the last minute decided to make my own blog post instead.

The Metro-Rail construction work in Bangalore is going at a very slow pace and since it’s being constructed right in the middle of several important “link” roads, traffic is dismal at times. And, Bangalore also happens to be the hub for most “high-end”, multi-national company-employed settlers who flaunt their cars and whatnot in these congested roads often driving with nobody else (what a waste!)

Additionally, there are these “Think Big. Live Big. Buy an SUV” car loan schemes which are advertised on radios too. Long traffic jams are an everyday reality.

As I was researching information for this blog post, I hit upon this. Yes! Bangalore might end up having both metro-rail and mono-rail. It’s an interesting combination given the radially outgoing roads of Bangalore and the ring-roads that connect them at several places.

Public transport is more or less bearable in the southern Indian states, Maharashtra and Goa. (Unsure about the other states). The problem with buses is specific to the crowded mess of a city called Bangalore with its myriad of one-ways and outright stupid traffic sense of the auto-rickshaw drivers. Many college-going students end up wasting a lot of time just trying to commute between their homes and colleges. The alternate modes of transport which I believe are sensibly conceived should help Bangalore breathe well again.

Written by Naresh

September 21, 2009 at 1:20 am