BBMP to paint bus priority lane on ORR, removes all iron bollards

Bengaluru: After a series of accidents, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has quietly removed all the iron bollards that were installed for the bus priority lane project on the Outer Ring Road. The civic body plans to do away with the installation of bollards and instead paint the priority lane.

The plan to introduce bus priority lane has not been dropped, officials in the BMTC and BBMP clarified. The government agencies are contemplating to postpone the full-fledged operations on the bus lane — which was earlier scheduled on November 1 — as officials are relooking at the design interventions and the overall execution plan.

The BBMP had installed over 3,000 bollards on the 3-km stretch of the Outer Ring Road about two weeks ago. The move received a huge backlash as the civic body had gone ahead with the installation without seeking public opinion or consulting the BMTC. The municipal corporation had planned to install over 25,000 bollards fitted with reflective stickers on the 18-km stretch.

Officials said they were executing the plan as suggested by the higher-ups. It’s learnt that a transport expert, whom they refused to identify, had made a presentation on bus priority lane and suggested installation of iron bollards. When the junior officers raised objections citing such bollards could cause fatal accidents, the unidentified expert said to have given examples of several foreign countries to prove his point.

After a series of accidents and public backlash in the last two weeks, the expert has remained incommunicado, the BBMP officials added.

The BBMP said at least 60 bollards were damaged. The number accidents or the human injuries are not known.

In one case, an official said the impact of the accident was so much that the bollard flew about 100 metres away from the spot of the accident. BMTC drivers were also finding it difficult to drive on the priority lane as two-wheelers were trying to encroach the dedicated corridor between the bollards, posing the risk of accidents.

After several such complaints, the BBMP plans to only paint the bus priority lane. Officials said they would not use barricades or any other road furniture to demarcate the lane. They believe stringent enforcement would act as a deterrent from other vehicles encroaching the dedicated bus lane.