December 07, 2011

Poorly Designed Suburban Bus Stand

This was something which was long overdue. Finally found the time to visit the KSRTC suburban bus stand and review it. KSRTC took a long time to repair or renovate or whatever nonsense they wish to call it. But the bus stand is pretty much the same as it was before that wasteful exercise. 

The idea to write about this and the person who accompanied me to the bus stand and without whose inputs this review wouldn't have been anywhere near what it is now, wishes to remain anonymous for various reasons.

Below, I reproduce the article which first appeared at the MGP blog over here

Poorly Designed Suburban Bus Stand

The suburban bus stand of Mysore on Bangalore Nilgiri Road has been upgraded at a cost of Rs. 30 crores under JNNURM. MGP has received complaints from the public about the poor conditions prevailing in this expensive bus stand. These conditions appear to be a consequence of numerous defects in the planning, design, execution and maintenance of the facility. It is a matter of concern that the central bus stand which was also upgraded recently at enormous expense under JNNURM also suffers from defects in the planning, design, execution and maintenance. Here are some of the problems faced by the public in the suburban bus stand. 
PARKING 
It appears that the basement parking  can hold about 30 cars and several hundred two-wheelers. Even now, it normally appears full. But, most of the commercial establishments scheduled to come up in the new building have not started operation and when they start working and their customers start coming in, there will be no parking space for their vehicles. This shows a lack of proper planning. 

leaking sewage water at underground parking
Due to poor design and execution, raw sewage from overhead pipes is leaking in several places in the basement parking, soiling both people and their vehicles. This is disgusting. The walls are stained by leaking sewage and there are puddles of sewage water in several places. The public and their vehicles have to wade through this muck. The bus stand was touted to be "world class" and this is certainly not what is expected in a world class facility.
The lighting in the underground parking area is very weak  It appears that there is no backup generator and so when there is a power shutdown, the whole place goes pitch dark. It is hard to imagine how the public can park their vehicles or get them out in such a situation. This is poor execution and poor maintenance.
Since the whole parking lot is damp and dark, there are mosquitoes all the time. Persons manning the parking lot must be going through hell every day.
storm water drains clogged with debris
The storm water drains (at the entrances of the parking lot) which are supposed to prevent rain water from entering the underground parking space are clogged with debris and hence are not doing their job. We have received complaints that during rains, there is flooding in the parking lot.
the missing "Cloak Room"
There are no proper directions to the parking lot from the passenger platform. The sign says "Cloak Room" and leads to the parking lot!

BUS BAYS
"Extended" bus bays
Since buses back into the stand to pick up passengers, about 6 feet at the edge of the passenger platform should have been cordoned off  from the public. But it has not been done. As a result of this poor design, there is the distinct possibility that unwary persons standing or walking in this area can be hit by a bus backing into position. 
useless raised passenger platforms espcially when it rains
The raised passenger platform projects  8-10 feet out to enable passengers to board the bus from its back entrance. But all the new buses have entrances only in the front. So the purpose of providing this projection is defeated. This is poor design. 
The same is true for the roof overhang. If the roof had covered the entire length of the bus, passengers could enter the bus even in heavy rain without getting wet. Now it is not possible. With very little effort, boarding passengers and baggage could have been protected from sun and rain. This again is poor design.
not even a single drain was visible in the entire area
We did not see any drains to remove rain water in the vast area in which the buses stand. Unless perfect camber has been provided, pools of water will form during rains.

BUS ENTRANCE


buses parked haphazardly
Incoming buses stop near the entry to the bus stand disgorging passengers. This is a scene of chaos. Some buses are parked helter-skelter three abreast, passengers are getting down and scooting between other moving buses. It is a wonder people are not run down regularly.  Once again, this is not a good design.

unever surface near one of the entrances

Both the road and the footpaths near the bus inlet are in bad condition with uneven surface and debris. This is again poor execution and maintenance.

STAIRS AND HANDICAPPED ACCESS

There are several needless stairs. Instead of keeping them at the same level as the passenger platform, the ticket counters have been placed a couple of feet higher leading to needless stairs. 
stairs to....err.. nowhere!
There are also stairs leading to nowhere!  Obviously these stairs led to some place, but the building plan must have changed and now there is a wall at the head of the stairs. This is poor planning indeed.
useless ramps
Ramps have been provided at some places, but as seen in the above photo, there is no ramp from the footpath to the road! Such ramps pay mere lip service to the Persons With Disabilities Act, 1995 and violate the spirit of the law.

LEGALITY OF SHOPPING CENTRE

The land on which the moffusil bus stand has been built is classified as "Traffic and Transportation" in the Revised Comprehensive Development Plan, 2011 for Mysore. According to zoning regulations, only bus stands and parking can be provided in such a zone and  canteens and banking counters (not exceeding 5% of the total area) can be provided with special permission. There is no provision for shops in a Traffic and Transportation zone. Shops have existed for several years next to the Bangalore section of the bus stand and now more shops and restaurants are coming up. Is this not a violation of the zoning regulations? 
The detailed project  report for the bus stand, available here (pdf), says "Given the location of the proposed bus terminal and the real estate scenario in the moffusil bus stand, large scale leveraging of the site is possible". It appears that making money has taken precedence over providing quality service to the public. Providing an unnecessary shopping complex has become more important than providing decent parking and safe platforms.