So I came across this post on Medium written by someone known to me, that compares Bangalore to a clock; a theory that I have spoken about with respect to the Main Highways of the city, as well as bus services over the past few years.
Most transcos normally have a pattern that their routes follow. Examples of this are:
- MTC Chennai: Routes that have the same number but a different sub-route [the letter preceding or following the number] have a common terminal point in one of the directions. Eg: 27C and M27 both have the same origin and destination [CMBT to T.Nagar] but totally different routes.
- BEST Mumbai: While, the pattern is getting a bit diffused off late in BEST due to the administration altering routes on the basis of the passenger load patterns reported by the ETMs, originally, you could make out which area a bus would serve by looking at the route number. All single-digit and two-digit routes predominantly have one terminal in the suburbs and one in SoBo. 100-199 used to operate exclusively in SoBo. 200-299 served the West of the Western Suburbs. 300-399 served the East of the Western Suburbs, as well as the West of the Central/Eastern Suburbs. 400-499 served the Eastern Suburbs, and Thane. 500-599 entered Navi Mumbai. 600-699 were entirely Mini/Midi-Bus routes, and the 700 series touched Mira-Bhayander.
- PMPML Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad: It is worth noting that the PMR doesn’t have a fixed pattern per se, although buses in the 1-20 region serve the Swargate-Hadapsar-Katraj zone and 300+ touches old Pimpri-Chinchwad areas. Route patterns became vague and diffused post the 2007 merger.
Now, coming to Bangalore/Bengaluru. A post on the BTIS website, pretty much corroborates both my theory and the Post that I had originally linked to at the top. However, it ONLY talks about the branded services that BMTC launched in 2009.
Let us take a trip back in the time machine to a decade and a half ago and start deconstructing BMTC routes.
BMTC divided the city into a clock-like network, with each highway, not counting the NICE Link Road, and including Hennur Road, Vidyaranyapura/New BEL Road, etc. Each of these arms was given a Checkpost. The Checkpost is nothing but a bus stop that marks a limit. On Bannerghatta Road, the Checkpost is the Mico Layout bus stop near Shoppers Stop. On Hosur Road it is the Forum Madiwala Checkpost. Now the Checkpost is similar Rani Laxmi Chowk/Mahim Bus Station in Mumbai which acts as a barrier between the City and Suburbs. Buses with numbers from 1 to 200 don’t normally cross this Checkpost, except in rare circumstances, such as the 2, 3, 13, 24, 25, 27 series that cross it to reach destinations like JP Nagar 3rd Phase, JP Nagar 6th Phase, Banshankari 3rd Stage, Kumaraswamy Layout etc.
Buses in the 200-209 range, is limited to 201 and its subset which operate on Inner Ring Road or go via Koramangala and Austin Town, mostly between Banashankari and its nodes and Domlur, Indiranagar, and adjacent areas.
Now, for the clock. The spokes are clockwise. Keeping the centre of the clock as the origin, we assume that services start at wither Kempegowda Bus Station [KBS], Krishnarajendra Market [KRM], or Shivajinagar Bus Station [SBS].
- Buses from 210 to 219 ply on Kanakapura Road.
- Buses from 220 to 229 ply on Mysore Road.
- Buses from 230 to 245 ply on Magadi Road.
- Buses from 246 to 260 ply on Tumkur Road.
- Buses in the 260-270 series ply in areas such as Jalahalli, Hesaraghatta, Vidyaranyapura, etc.
- 280 onwards is Bellary Road.
- 290 range targets Hennur and Banaswadi areas.
- 300-317 is along Old Madras Road towards Hosakote.
- 320 and its cluster takes Old Madras Road till Krishnarajapuram Station and then proceeds to Whitefield.
- 330 and its cohort takes Old Airport Road to reach Whitefield.
- 340 takes Sarjapur Road.
- 350 to 360 targets various destinations on Hosur Road.
- 362 plies on Begur Road.
- 363 plies on the Central Jail Road. [An exception to the clock model as Parapanna Agrahara is to the East of Hosur Road while Begur Road is to the West]
- 364-372 runs on Bannerghatta Road.
Now the entire circle is complete. Bus routes with numbers greater than 209 are classified as Suburban or Red Board services. These services cross the previously mentioned Checkpost on their journeys. This classification became a bit outdated with the advent of LED displays [unlike BEST where मर्या or Ltd is mentioned after the number on the LED because it is impossible to differentiate between Red and Black]. The BMTC later introduced routes like 378 which connect several spokes. 378 connects Kengeri Satellite Town with Electronics City via Begur, Gottigere, Konankunte, Uttarahalli, and Kengeri.
Now for the ring routes. Prior to the advent of the branded routes such as Big Circle, it was the 500 and related series that did the connecting. With the exception of 500 and 501 which essentially have the same route starting and ending at Banashankari TTMC, the 500 series pretty much runs along ORR on the Western Crescent between Banashankari and Hebbal connecting Central Silk Board, Agara, Iblur, Marathahalli, etc, while the 501 series takes the Eastern Crescent via Kengeri, Laggere, Malathahalli, Kottigepalaya. However, there are few buses that use the new Ring Road stretch between Nayandahalli and Summanahalli that opened up in 2011. Similar to the 500 batch, the younger siblings in 400 batch do trips on Inner Ring Road on the East and Chord Road on the West.
BMTC runs several routes called Grid Services, which earlier used to be Dark Blue in colour with routes starting with MBS. These routes attempted to connect two spokes of the grid. For eg: MBS14 used to connect Bannerghatta Road and Hennur Road. The concept of Branded services like Big 10, Big Circle, Big Trunk, Kendriya Sarige, all came up only in 2009 under the then Transport Minister of Karnataka R Ashoka, who changed the fortunes of the BMTC and KSRTC.
If this hasn’t addled with your brains enough, then do keep in mind that the Bangalore’s Namma Metro follows a similar pattern, and I’m NOT talking about the similarity in the headlights of the trains to the older BMTC Parisara Vahinis. Phase I of NM follows a similar spoke concept, with Reach 1 to Byapanahalli, Reach 2 to Mysore Road, Reach 3/3A/3B to Nagasandra and Reach 4 to Puttenahalli. However the Metro lines do have some minor variations, or do they?
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