Encroaching bus lane on ORR will attract penalty from December

Bengaluru: The City traffic police has decided to penalise motorists — who drive on the 17-km bus priority lane between KR Puram and Central Silk Board — only from December this year. Over the next two weeks, the police along with other government agencies will increase the awareness about the dedicated bus lane.

On November 15, the police officially notified a new penalty of Rs 500 for violating the bus priority lane. For the second offence, a fine of Rs 1,000 was notified.

Senior traffic officers said they would impose penalty after holding campaigns for the next two weeks. “Bus priority lane system has just taken off. Not many know about the project. So, we have decided to popularise the system before diving into penalising motorists,” a traffic officer said.

As per the notification, the left lane of the carriageway is reserved only for BMTC buses and emergency services. Other vehicles are allowed to use the remaining two lanes each on either side of the Outer Ring Road. This is the first such experiment taking place on an important and high-density road in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has planned to construct 32 bus bays along the 17-km stretch. The civic body also plans to construct high-rise pedestrian crossings near the bus stops on the ORR service roads. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation, which operates 100s of buses on the stretch, has also deployed marshals in order to stop other motorists from encroaching the lane.

Citizen groups such as Bellandur Jothege and Citizens for Bengaluru have also been campaigning in support of the project, stating that the faster movement of buses over other modes of transport would attract more people towards using public transport.

The bus priority lane on the 17-km ORR stretch was introduced after the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) was struggling to expedite the proposal to build Metro on this stretch. Currently, the BMRCL is still awaiting for the approval from the Central government.