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Better Bussing For A Green Bangalore

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BusPublic Transport

There's no denying that the tree cover in Bangalore is being lost largely due to road widening. Road widening is necessitated due to unchecked growth and usage of private vehicles. To address this problem, you have to have excellent public transport services. METRO may be a solution. But, it is extremely expensive, and at best a solution in the long-term. BMTC cannot cope up with the needs, however much they may appear to have become efficient, which they are not and cannot be, as long as they continue to enjoy a monopoly status. The simple answer is to facilitate the entry of TVS kind of companies (my first exposure to TVS was as a bus service provider in the city of Madurai) into the fray. The present rules do not provide for that. It facilitates only the 'Sharma' kind of operations, which in turn only helps provide fodder for the die-hard opponents of the private sector.

A ‘policy paper’ detailing the lines along which this could be done is appended below. Though everyone who has bothered to read it, readily agrees with the overall concept, very few are prepared to back it openly, because it is seen as politically incorrect. And, if our trees are to be protected, there is only this way to go. Apart from that are the immense benefits that will accrue in very many ways to the city because of this one reform in this key infrastructure sector.

Muralidhar Rao

 

STATE PUBLIC BUS TRANSPORT POLICY PAPER

1. Government to use every means to encourage use of public bus transport services, particularly in cities.

2. Movement of public bus transport vehicles to be given top priority. Traffic authorities to ensure this.

3. Government to discourage use of all personalized forms of transport, particularly cars

to

· provide room for more (public transport) buses,

· reduce fuel consumption, and consequently pollution,

· de-clutter the roads,

· get people into the healthy habit of walking, atleast upto the bus-stands.

by

· increasing road tax; introducing congestion tax

· introducing ‘pedestrians only’ zones in city centers. (Contractors may be facilitated to operate slow-moving, mini-buses for people to shuttle between the parking lot and the shopping areas).

· restricting plying of private vehicles on the main city arteries during peak hours, as may be required.

4. Public bus transport sector to be opened out totally, for open competition between various players, on a level playing field, subject to concessions noted below.

5. Classifications such as stage carriages, contract carriages, maxi cabs, etc to be withdrawn, and annual license fees charged on the basis of the vehicle floor area.

6. Service providers to be totally free to adopt their own fare tables. There are to be no restrictions on fares, whatsoever.

7. Service providers to be free to choose the routes they wish to operate on, as also the schedules. RTO to be empowered to impose restrictions only in the case of overcrowding of routes/roads.

8. All bus stands to be taken over and run (or better still - leased out to professional contractors) by local bodies, like BMP, City Corporations, Municipalities, etc, making the facilities available to all service providers against user charges.

9. Public bus transport vehicles to be maintained in exacting road-worthy condition. No public bus transport vehicle to be more than 10 years old.

10. Policing of public bus transport vehicles to be made very strict, with heavy penalties being levied in cases of offences like over-speeding, rash & negligent driving, drunken driving, over-loading, etc.

11. Auto-rickshaws to be gradually phased out, particularly from trunk and arterial routes (meant for movement of high speed vehicles), and replaced by four-wheeler taxies.

12. An efficient bus transport system (with government and private players operating in open competition) to form the backbone of the public transport system. In large cities, these to be supplemented by METRO rail as the situation warrants.

Notes:

1. KSRTC (and its subsidiaries) and BMTC may be incorporated into companies, with employees holding substantial stake.

2. KSRTC (and its subsidiaries) and BMTC may be allowed 100% concession on annual license fee for their vehicles for a period of 3 years (from the date of the policy coming into effect), and 50% concession for the next two years, and 25% concession thereafter.

3. Buses run by co-operative societies may be allowed 25% concession on annual license fees.


Likely scenario resulting at the end of 3 to 6 months of implementation of policy:

1. Corporates like TVS, Ashok Leyland, etc, alongside the present contract-carriage operators like Blueline, VRL, Sharma Transports, KPN, etc, apart from co-operatives like those formed by ex-servicemen, likely to come on the scene with hundreds of buses, catering to all kinds and classes of demand.

2. The resulting competition will automatically drive the different service providers to come up with innovative schemes of attracting more and more people to switch over to the use of the buses rather than relying on their individual vehicles.

3. At the lower end, you will have the ‘Janata’ services, stopping at all bus stops enroute, and charging the barest minimum (which in all possibility will be much lower than BMTC’s present charges).

4. At the upper end, you will have the A/C deluxe services (possibly with broad, reclining seats, newspapers & magazines for reading, etc) catering to corporate executives, and operating from say Whitefield to Residency road, with just some 5 stops in-between. These buses may also cater to students of say Bishop Cottons School, possibly with a 25% concession being offered to them.

5. In between, you will have a wide spectrum of services, with each service provider making known his USP through the local media.

6. Even within a Jayanagar or a Indiranagar, you will have mini-buses operating in given circuits, catering to the local shopping and other needs of the residents.

7. The usage of two-wheelers and cars will reduce drastically, atleast for commuting, leading to

Ø de-cluttering of city roads, thereby providing room for speedy movement of buses,

Ø reduction of air pollution with lower per capita consumption of fuel,

Ø spread of population from city centres to out-lying areas due to ready availability of cheap and efficient means of transport,

Ø promotion of the healthy practice of walking atleast to & from the bus stops,

Ø an appreciable drop in the monthly family transport budget.

8. In the rural areas also, the demand for good public transport will lead to entrepreneurs / co-operatives coming forward to meet it, and healthy competition will ensure efficient and cheap services.

 

Reference:

In this connection, a reference is made to the report on ‘Bus Transport Systems’ displayed on the website of the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (www.petroleum.nic.in/ch_1...), salient excerpts from which are listed below, for a ready reference:

1. Promoting public bus transport should be viewed as a priority in any strategy to improve urban road traffic and in controlling air pollution from automobiles. The country can ill afford the luxury of unchecked growth of private vehicle population. The costs to the country’s economy in terms of higher fuel consumption and to the society in terms of health are significant enough to warrant urgent action.

2. Clearly, there is a strong case for promoting private enterprise in meeting transport needs in urban areas.

3. An aspect of public policy that impacts on provision and expansion of public transport either by state owned utilities or by private entrepreneurs, relates to the unviable fare structures imposed by the authority.

4. With improved efficiency, the fare structure can continue to remain low while still providing for overall viability of the operations.

As will be noticed, the ‘policy’ enunciated above takes into account all these factors.

For more, read http://traffic-transport-...

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

s_yajaman's picture

If only this would be implemented

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This confirms that all thinking is there - the implementation just does not happen. Competition in the mass transport area is neceesary (by mass transport I mean anything other than private transport). However a very good system of regulation is equally important unless we want to fill our crematoria and graveyards up quickly. Today we have about 5000 BMTC buses transporting about 3.5 million passengers. Imagine a scenario where we have about 15000 buses in Bangalore (BMTC and private), 60000 autos and not much else (maybe 1 lakh private cars for those who can pay a high road tax). The 15000 buses could pretty much carry at least 6 million people. The autos would account for about 1 million trips. I am sure that Bangalore would be a much more livable place. It would be easier to monitor the traffic and regulate it. Pollution would be lower. For this they need to a. Put an end to this life time tax for cars and raise the annual tax to Rs.50000 per year (to punish ownership) b. For bikes it ought to be Rs. 10000 per year. c. Increase petrol prices to Rs.75/litre to punish usage. d. Diesel cars should have an additional surcharge of rs.100,000. They after all consume subsidized diesel. If people still want to own cars at this level, at least they end up paying the social costs associated with private transport. I think the revenue streams will still be there via annual license fees from the operators. If 100,000 cars pay Rs.50000 tax that would still be Rs.500 crores. Roads would last longer. They would be less crowded for sure. Who will implement it? Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

City.Zen's picture

Mangalore Vs. Bangalore

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Mangalore and Udupi have private city busses. The entire coastal belt from Kasargod to Bhatkal has got excellent private buses operating, with the only negative being the high speed of the vehicles. Cheaper than BMTC fares too!!! If these two cities can have private buses on their roads, what is stopping Bangalore? I understand that the Mangalore private operators had even challenged that they could transform the Bangalore scenario.
City Zen
blrsri's picture

total busses on a route

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Is there any count or limit on the number of busses on a route? On a road like hanumanthnagar 50ft road, there will be a trail of 6-8 busses at a time..reminds of a train with an exception that each bogie here has a engine of its own and a mind of its own! Also, how can they stop at a busstop..the maximum is 2-3 at a time at one particular stop.. Most times they are the reason for frustrations omong other motorists!
murali772's picture

further to the comments by city.zen

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I am reproducing below the quote by Mr Siddappa Kaller, the Dharwad RTO, published in the ‘Indian Express’ on the 26th Feb, ’05, following the stabilization of private bus service operations there:

“Our decision to allow private operators to venture into public transport has yielded results, in that there is healthy competition between NWKRTC and private operators, fares have become competitive, and above all people are happy".

When that is the position in Dharwad, why should the people of Bangalore continue to be deprived of the benefits of competition? Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Options for improving throughtput

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There are a few options for improving throughput at bus stops based on what I have seen in Singapore and Bombay a. One way entry of passengers and exit. In Bombay, people enter from the rear and exit at the front. Singapore - it is the other way around as the bus driver monitors if people are tapping cards on entry. It enables simultaenous activities and can save time. It also avoids crowding at doors. b. Card system - In Singapore magnetic cards/card readers are used rather than tickets. A person taps the card reader with the card on entry. The full remaining fare is deducted from the card. While exiting the bus, the passenger again taps the card and the actual fare is calculated and the remaining money is credited back to the card. c. In HK - apparently they use RFID on the cards (at least at the MRT) so that even tapping is unnecessary. d. As far as many buses approach a stop at the same time FIFO needs to be followed and buses need to approach and leave one behind the other. e. Another thing in Bangalore is that buses all tend to go on the same roads. E.g. Jayanagar to Majestic - all go on JC Road, KG Road. Why not divert some via Goods Shed Road? MG Road from Cauvery to Koshys - no buses at all. f. COngestion at bus stops can be reduced by staggering stops along very busy roads. Double decker buses can improve utilization of our roads. For some reason they have been phased out. Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

murali772's picture

BMTC can become customer-oriented only with competition

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When TVS/ TATA's come on the scene all these and more will happen. Even BMTC will become more customer-oriented, as INDIAN has become after competition came on. BMTC may have improved their services marginally over say the past 5 years, but they certainly cannot be termed customer-oriented as of now. I have been associated quite closely with their operations in the capacity of the co-Chairman of their Commuter Comfort Task Force. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Interesting (co-Chairman bit)

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Murali, So we have an insider here :)) Just joking. In your meetings, etc what do you see as the biggest barrier to improving the service that BMTC offers? How do they measure service and commuter comfort for example? I ask this, because if you do not measure something properly, the chances of improvement is low. The measurement process ought to be fairly robust as well with minimal opportunities for manipulation. Any insights? Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrsri's picture

"Yelli Iddira" by Muralidhar Rao

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http://kamleshrao.blogspo... Interesting..
murali772's picture

"Yelli Iddira?" service

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Yes, I had teamed up with C L Infotech P Ltd, Bangalore, to provide this service essentially for the VOLVO buses. It was working satisfactorily until about a month back, when the GPS service providers pulled out of their contract with BMTC. There is a good chance of it being revived in about a month's time. The service was very well received by the public. Many people mailed in to say that, as a result, they had begun leaving their vehicles behind and taking the VOLVO buses instead, particularly for commuting to their work places. It was a boon for women executives. Somebody had posted a query here as to where I found the BMTC lacking. Well, I can write a book on that. About a decade ago, I took over the running of a manufacturing unit employing over a hundred workers. At the time of take-over, the workers were highly unionised, productivity was low, and work culture extremely poor. Inspite of it all, the company had a fair standing in the market since the competition was no better. I pursued export business, and we started getting huge orders. The union was only interested in claiming higher wages for the workers. I addressed the workers and told them that with our getting such huge orders, many workers in Germany and UK had lost their jobs, and that a similar fate awaited them if they didn't respond positively, and the beneficiaries will be some workers in Thailand or China. The change in their outlook was perceptible within weeks, and everybody benefited from it. This is the message I have for BMTC, and, in my opinion, this is the only language that will work. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
tsubba's picture

belling the cat

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murali sir pardon the naive questions, but i dont understand some fundamental issues. what is preventing private players from plying in bangalore, when across KA, in different parts we see that private players operate. is there a state law prohibiting their entry, why has this law never come up for revision. why is their no private companies' lobby? do you know what was done to get bendre service to dharwad? has it been applied to hubli too? (can bangalore take the exact steps that dharwad took or is it constrained for the same reasons hubli is.) Does BMTC receive GoK grants? is there any value in making BMTC an autonomous publicly held company without allowing any other players? (what does profitability of BMTC mean?) thanks
City.Zen's picture

RTI is the answer

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Very pertinent questions, TS RTI is the answer, I suppose. http://Churumuri.wordpres... has a good article on RTI. City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture

Buses

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citizen thanks for that. murali sir, have been thinking about this bussing for a while since you posted this. let me get straight to the point. wouldn't this privatization strengthen the bus lobby? more directly, could this lobby skew bangalore's chances of a sustainable public transport by messing up with true right of way rapid mass transport? i am perhaps paranoid, but mysore's experience with lane doubling, and mangalore's experience with gauge conversion bear this paranoia. the point about pubtrans is not just to have a naam-ke-vaaste pubtrans but to have an impact on the city. that is, the city should see tangible benefits. For bangalore this translates to saved trees, reduced pollution, improvement commute times, greater social access and the rest of the story. i donot see even the leanest and the meanest bus based system being able to address bangalore's problems in tangible terms. the numbers seem to suggest that even the most optimal bus service cannot handle the volume/area that is density of traffic involved in bangalore. for the mess we are in we need massively mass transport services. i am sure you are talking about a supplemental system, but the problem is one of lobby. i fear that strengthening bus lobby will undermine metro and ultimately prevent bangalore's problems from being meaningfully answered. a complete market based solution is not necessarily optimal and beneficial for the city. the mess at EC on Hosur road also bears this out. The completely private solution was an elevated highway instead of a elevated metro. instead of this monstrosity on hosur road, they ought to have run a metro right into pai's office. if you see the raw numbers on hosur road, you see that there are a few lakh people trying to get to that road during peak hours. to meaningfully handle these numbers 14 alla, 24 lanes would not be sufficient. bottomline is need a useful public transport system to sustain the city. that much i think we all agree.
City.Zen's picture

World's best public-private bus partnership - Indore

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Today's TOI carries an excellent article by Gurcharan Das of India Unbound fame. Blueline Solution in Indore. http://timesofindia.india... Interesting coincidence observed frequently by me - whenever a topic catches my fancy, somebody writes about it somewhere and it comes to my attention.
City Zen
murali772's picture

belling the cat

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Except for South Kanara district, and a few routes in other districts, the whole of Karnataka is the monolopy domain of the government operators (BMTC in Bangalore, --SRTC's in the rest of Karnataka), for 'stage-carriage' operations - the term used in official parlance for normal bus services. All the private services that you see on Bangalore roads, including the so-called maxi-cab operations, are licensed as 'Contract Carriages' - meaning they can provide only the so-called 'point-to-point' services for regular users. Technically, they are not allowed to pick up and drop ordinary passengers. But, right at the time of licensing itself, it is known to everyone concerned that they are going to be operating as regular bus services, and with that, their life of sin starts. No surprise then that the image - conscious Corporates like TVS have just kept away from this sector altogether.

Their entry needs to be facilitated by necessary policy corrections, and I believe they are all very well within the purview of the state government. All it needs is a good push from the people - possibly a PIL.

I have been at this from ages. Sri S M Krishna appreciated my arguments, and, as a first step, brought about the reform in cities other than Bangalore (for a distance of 20 km from the city centre), where the vested interests where not so powerfully entrenched as in Bangalore. And, that was when 'Bendre Nagara Saarike' started in Hubli-Dharwar. If he had continued as the CM, may be the entire sector would have been liberalised by now, and perhaps many of what I had envisioned would have been in place in Bangalore also. We can still make it happen!

BMTC is supposedly making profits, but not all of the --SRTC's. But, making profits in a monopoly situation is no big deal. Besides, a large part of BMTC's revenues today are coming from lease of space to 'Big Bazaar', etc in their so-called transit stations - on Double road, Mysore road, etc - which do not quite serve the purpose for which they were originally intended. Also, the BBMP has now woken up to the reality that these stations had not been authorised by them in the first place, and that they do not pay any municipal taxes either.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

better bussing

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Even as I was about to post the post the link to the article on the Indore bus services, I realized that citi-zen had beaten me to it.

The Indore development is certainly a positive one, quite in the direction that I have been pointing to from ages. However, the questions that arise are:

1) Is it based on an IIT-D team’s HCBS (High capacity bus system) model, running on dedicated lanes? If yes, I am not very much in favour of it since the whole concept is based on wide roads meaning felling of trees, as has already happened in Delhi much to the disquiet of the city’s population. Besides, as I have said elsewhere, dedicated lanes are a huge waste of costly urban space (Read http://traffic-transport-...). That apart, the system necessarily involves costly imported buses. METRO rail would any day be preferable.

2) Have any Corporates (names like TATA's, Leyland) entered the picture? If not, why not?

3) Are all services uniform? Or, do they vary from Janata to Deluxe to luxury to super luxury (a/c)?

4) Are the charges fixed by the government, or is it left to the operator to decide on his fare table?

5) Are the routes allotted by the government? Or, is there freedom for the operator to choose whichever route he wants to operate on?

6) Have restrictions on usage of personal vehicles been introduced in the city, yet? Or, is there a proposal for that? In what form are they likely to take shape?

7) Has a regulatory authority come into being, or will it all collapse after the incumbent Dy Commissioner is shifted out of the city?

All the above need to be addressed if the scheme is to remain sustainable.

Now, coming to TS’s poser as to whether the private sector lobby will start all kinds of tricks, like how they managed to hold back the implementation of the Bangalore-Mangalore passenger rail services, the answer is a definite ‘yes’. But, that’s where the government’s role comes in – to set up a strong regulatory body, like has already happened in the case of sectors like telecom, civil aviation, banking, insurance, etc, where reforms have moved far ahead. Here, they have indeed set up the BMLTA. But, today, it is just full of babu’s. That needs to change. They need to bring in experts from outside, like the other regulatory bodies have done.

Competition is certainly no panacea to solving all problems. Indeed, you will be faced with all kinds of new problems. But, quite like the late Sri C Subramaniam once stated “they will at least not be the same old problems for which you had no solutions for decades together”. The status-quoists will definitely try to point out to these and say that it is all a failure. That’s what needs to be guarded against.

In fact, at a certain workshop convened by the BESCOM, that I had been invited to by an NGO recently, when I raised the question of competition from the private players, a certain status-quoist tried to denigrate their role quoting some vague survey which had supposedly pointed out to the number of complaints against AIRTEL being far higher than those against BSNL. When pushed further, he admitted that the complaints were about unsolicited calls, and that as far as connectivity was concerned, AIRTEL fared far better than BSNL. Indeed, because of the improved connectivity, new opportunities cropped for businesses, but creating new problems for the consumers. But, eventually, the TRAI stepped in to get the ‘National Do Not Call Registry’ in place, and the matter is getting sorted out, even if partially.

As for the monstrosity on the Hosur road, do read my comments under 'unpardonable chaos creation' at http://traffic-transport-...

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Mail all your queries to ctmobmtc@gmail.com

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What we all need? If we can get a complete picture about what we want, how we want the service etc.. etc.. we can mail to ctmobmtc@gmail.com. But, from all the discussions, we have just compared other cities etc..not came to a conclusion what we Bangalore ultimately needs just like opposite political party!! As far as I have seen, in my opinion lot of people are using BMTC services. But, there are some drawbacks which I had mentioned my post 'Why people do not like to use BMTC'. Somethings needs to be tuned a bit. After peak hours, say at around 11:00AM onwards, bus service is fairly good and also the coverage is good. Any remote area we take, say Anjanapura, say Banashankari 6th stage, where it is even difficult to go by bike, we see BMTC redboard buses and people living in those areas, they use BMTC buses more compared to those who live in the centre. People living in the centre are more reluctant to use the service!!. My friends who had come from Poona and Chennai say that buses here are very attractive - especially they were delighted to see city volvo buses.
murali772's picture

problem lies within us

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Do read 'problem lies within us' at http://bangalore.praja.in... Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

look beyond BMTC

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text of a letter sent to TOI:

I refer to the report captioned ‘BMTC plans business class drive to airport’ published in your columns on the 22nd instant.

The ‘super taxi’ scheme as envisaged is not quite within the organizational capabilities of a governmental set up like the BMTC, and it will only land up providing the surest way for a businessman to miss his flight should he make the mistake of trying it out.

And, the statement, supposedly made by the MD, that ‘passenger safety is ensured as this service is being provided by the government’, provides for the biggest laugh, except that the relatives of the victims of the many accidents involving BMTC buses are not exactly going to be finding it very funny.

That improved bus services is the most cost-effective answer to the exponentially increasing traffic, and attendant problems, in the city has been known for ages. But, neither the government nor the people want to look beyond BMTC to provide it - some because of vested interests, some because of dogma, some due to a lack of awareness, and some because of a combination of all these factors.

Finally, at least, one city – Indore, has made a beginning. Well, with all our entrepreneurial capabilities, whereas Bangalore should actually been leading the way, let us at least not lose time catching up.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

It is easier said than done...

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Currently, one of the major problem for BMTC is the slowness of the buses. Volvos have got excellent pickup, but too expensive for the corporation as well as the commuter to afford. Also, for buses there are not enough passengers and for passengers there are not enough buses. On the other hand normal buses are not that attractive to attract the Bikers and Car users. This class of people only complain about BMTC. But, all the poor and lower middle class people use BMTC extensively. It is not that bad as discussed in the forum. It is only the reluctance of people to use it and compare with other cities. I feel there is a need for a bus with rear engine low floor less emission and mainly 'Attractive Buses' costing around 25-30 lakhs as against volvo city bus which costs nearly 1 crore. To get back the investment on Volvo, the costs are very high. To get a powerful buses at this cost BMTC can call a global tender for this. International manufacturers like Mazda, Man etc.. will pitch in and Volvo may release a bus for the competition in this range. But, even then I doubt attracting the motorists. My mother who is still in service has been using BMTC since 1967 till date and she goes around the city using BMTC only using the monthly pass. She doesn't know driving and nor is her age to learn and this BMTC bus is what is moving her between home and office as well as whereever she intends to go. If we see places like Nirmala Store of Hanumanthnagar, GandhiBazaar, frequency is not that poor. Every 2-3 minutes there is a bus. But, all of them go mostly to either Shivajinagar, Market or KBS bus stand. It is mainly because of the hub and spoke model. These buses are very crowded during peak hours - our population to be blamed. Even with buses every 3-5 minutes for 201 route number, that too with trailer buses, 201 route is always crowded. How to find a solution for this? Second major problem is we do not have any Central Business District. It is spread all over Bangalore. It is very difficult to find a Bus Route solution for this kind of spreaded business. For having BRTS, already our city roads are very congested and it is difficult to have like the western cities. With Grid model, people have to change buses at 'N'number of nodes to reach the destination. It is very tough for a city like Bangalore which is almost more than 5 times the area of Indore to have a bus service which satisfies everyone. Atleast it is satisfying those who cannot afford private transport - this is the good thing about it.
murali772's picture

user-unfriendly - an under-statement

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In the first place, the person, the CTMO (Chief Traffic Manager, Operations) is computer illiterate. So are many of the Depot Managers. And, they can’t be touched, possibly because of their political connections. In such a situation, what kind of a quality of output can you expect? Like I have stated before, I have been fairly closely associated with BMTC’s working over the past few years. At least the VOLVO operations, I am quite familiar with. And, even with these being targeted at the high-end commuters, the BMTC lot can’t be bothered with concepts like customer orientation, etc. The information given on their web-site is hardly ever updated, And, as for the regular customers, they treat them like cattle. Paris has been the most visited city in the world for years. They have an excellent METRO system. And, one page graphically detailed leaflet allows even total strangers to the city to get adjusted to it in no time, like fish to water, in spite of the fact that a miniscule percentage of the visitors know French, in which language the leaflet is made out. As compared to that, even the regulars in Bangalore will have difficulty guiding you using BMTC’s route-map - the term ‘not user-friendly’ is an under-statement. Incidentally, both those so-called call center numbers (12667, 25550565) listed in their route-map don’t work. Today, the comparison should not be with what is available in Chennai or Pune. Bangalore today is producing goods and providing services of world quality - you just can’t survive, otherwise. While that is so, you can’t have our infrastructure languishing this way in the hands of these government monopolies. We are paying too high a price for it all and in very many ways. Just last week, a cousin of mine, an elderly lady, needed to travel to Mumbai. I booked her by ‘Indian’. I am now beginning to find them offering equally good or even better value for money than many of the private airlines. That was happened only because of competition. Similarly, only competition can change the ways of the BMTC. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

homeward bound

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My compliments to your mother for continuing to patronise the BMTC. But, today, it's not enough to retain the custom of the likes of your mother alone, which, according to some figures floating around, constitute around 50% of the city's total commute. This has to rise considerably higher, if we are to avoid the kind of grid-locks we are beginning to experience more and more every day. And, this can happen only with a total attitudinal change in BMTC, which, in my opinion, can result only out of effective competition. Any other approach can at best be in the short -term. The way things are going, however, BMTC is very likely to lose out on the custom of the likes of your mother also soon. Simultaneously, however, so will TATA, Ford, Maruti, TVS, Bajaj, Hero, et al, since we will all have to be confined to our homes. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Deadly dangerous private buses

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Murali, privatisation may or may not give effective transport, but, Bangalore population will decrease!!. Private buses are deadly dangerous and competition will make it even more dangerous resulting in bus racing on Bangalore roads!! Mangalore private buses, Kerala private buses, Delhi private buses - if we travel, our heart will come to mouth. They race against each other, also buses are overcrowded. Even in BMTC, some of the buses are run by Sathya Sai especially for rural places, which are very rash. Autos are enough for Bangalore road problems - atleast the accidents by Autos hitting other vehicles are not as dangerous as a bus hitting other vehicles. Main problem of one sector of Bangaloreans is the patience that they lack to wait and travel in buses. Also, they donot want to travel with the class of people who travel in BMTC buses since Bangaloreans are rich - Reasons quoted are several.
Vasanth's picture

Understatement of computer illeterate

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Murali, you are underestimating that CTMO of BMTC is computer illiterate. It is the predetermined notion of computer savy youngsters that the Government officials are computer illiterate. Remember Manivannan, commissioner of Mysore, there are 'N' number of Government officials who are computer litterate. I have written n number of mails for many greviences and I have got immediate replies too from Dastagiri Shariff and Somashekar. Mind you, BMTC has provided all class of service - Ladies Special, Pass Special, Janapriya Vahini, Night Service Pushpak, Pushpak and Volvo. BMTC was the first organization to introduce Volvo for city service. It started normal Volvo service way back in 2001 from Jayanagar Bus Station to Yelahanka. Because of less patronage, it started the latest automatic transmission Vajra service. A little bit of tuning of the existing bus services the problem of which lies under the branch level workers (drivers and conductors) will make this world class. Stand in Maruthi Circle Bus Stop of Hanumanthanagar and see the frequency of Bus yourself.
murali772's picture

let's agree to disagree

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When you talk about computer savvy youngsters, if you are including me, I would like to correct that impression by saying that there is hardly any trace of black remaining on my almost totally white pate. Yes, the IAS and higher level of officers are not just computer savvy, they are brilliant - the Manivannan types, and they are doing a lot of good work, alright. But, when an official of the level of the Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) in the BMTC is computer illiterate, I would like to maintain that it is a major handicap in today's world. BMTC has an excellent PR team and manages to get itself into the news every second day, with some gimmick or the other. It's essentially just that. If anyone wants to remain an apologist for the BMTC, it's their privilege. But, I would clearly like to maintain that competition, and that alone, can make a real change. Whatever else, will at best be temporary. I have written enough on the subject, which can be accessed at http://traffic-transport-.... Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

more dangerous BMTC buses

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The why of it will become very clear if you look a bit deeper. Now, if at the fare levels fixed by the Delhi government, a 'blue-line' operator has to break even, his bus will possibly have to make some ten trips a day between Connaught place and NOIDA, and for that, he will have to have the bus driven at break-neck speeds, and have the passengers stuffed in like sardines also. If he is allowed the freedom to fix the fares, he will strike the proper balance, and half the problems will automatically get solved. And, therein lies the crux of the problem. The government in its eagerness to convey a picture of being 'socialist', imposes all these kinds of artificialities, and you land up with total chaos. The same is the case elsewhere also. As for accidents, the records of BMTC/ KSRTC are hardly anything to gloat over. Besides, many of the ones where fatalities are not involved, generally go unrecorded because of the union clout. All these have already been addressed in the posting I made originally. More is available at my blog http://privatised-water-s.... Since the subject appears to interest you, I'll be grateful if you would bother to read them up before making your comments, so that I will not have to repeat myself. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

wrong blog

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In the last para in the above posting (titled - more dangerous BMTC buses), I had mistakenly provided a link to another blog of mine. The blog pertaining to the topic under discussion may be accessed instead at http://traffic-transport-.... Error regreted. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
tsubba's picture

punjab going private

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Looks like Punjab is going private. GoP has called for proposals from prospective bus operators.
http://www.ilfsindia.com/tenders.asp?trackTender=100 (requires registration here are some extracts.)
Government of Punjab (GoP) intends to provide good quality and efficient city bus services in the cities of Punjab. The Dept. of Local Govt., GoP (Nodal agency for implementation of the Project) invites proposals from prospective Bus Operators for Financing, Procurement, Running, Operation and Maintenance of City Buses on any or all the Specified Routes under the City Bus Service Project in Municipal Corporation limits of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana Cities.

Brief Scope of the Work & Revenue Stream for Bus Operator:
The Bus Operator shall:
(a) Finance, procure, run, operate and maintain specified buses on specified routes deploying properly trained & disciplined staff. The routes have been identified and allotted to the respective SPCs
(b) Fit the buses with specified GPS Modem with GPS/GPRS connection and procure specified hand-held electronic ticket vending machine.
(c) Earn revenue from sale of tickets in the buses and also get a share of income from sale of monthly passes and advertising rights on the buses. The sale of passes & advertising rights on the buses shall be done by respective SPC.

Experience Criteria:
Interested Sole Proprietorship/ Cooperative/ Partnership Firm / Company/ Consortium complying with the following criteria may
submit Proposals for prospective Bus operators:
(a) Experience: Minimum one-year experience in operation of any type of public transport service carrying passengers as stage carriage or contract carriage; and ...

summary of the routes...
Amritsar 4 routes(10km,9.7km,12.8km.9.2 km) 4 bigbuses on each route.
Jalandhar 4 routes(11km,21.4km,5.5km,7.3 km) 4 bigbuses on each route.
Ludhiana 3 routes(16.6km,13.5km,13.1km) 4 bigbuses on each route.

The city bus service shall have pre-fabricated modern, spacious, low floor, wide-doors, aesthetically appealing big buses and mini buses as per the specifications approved by GoP.
The bus services shall have various features for benefit of commuters viz. on-line GPS and PIS for realtime information on expected arrival of buses at the designated bus stops, electronic ticketing machines and provision of monthly passes.
M/s IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation (IIDC) in association with ICTSL, Indore is the project development advisor to GoP.
All routes are exclusive routes of the respective SPCs and each route shall be allotted to one operator on monopoly basis.

Approved Motor Vehicle Tax Including Special Road Tax: Rs 60/-per seat per Quarter
Approved Fare structure Rs 5/- (upto 5 Kms), Rs 10/- ( 5-10 Kms), Rs 15/- (more than 10 Kms)

PIDB’s website www.pidb.org
IL&FS website www.ilfsindia.com

i could not figure out how length of the contract period though.
pdk's picture

Thanks for the email. I had

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Thanks for the email. I had gone through this page through an earlier thread on the HU mailing list. I support the ideas you express in your whitepaper completely and wholeheartedly. We can only hope that it will become reality. Like a commenter mentioned, there are so many lobbies. Also, counting on authorities (traffic police presumably) to implement it on the ground level - I'm not sure! But there does seem to be no choice. We should keep pushing these ideas and letting them percolate into public thought, so that the chances of adoption increase. My own ideas regarding this issue of public/private transport has been evolving. Earlier I used to really dislike it when BTS bus drivers disobeyed traffic rules or honked etc But then I came across the ideas regarding public transport and the critical need they fulfill and the necessity for it. I realised that they have a bigger claim on the roads that we use than I on my bike (then) or in my car. Hence I always try to give way to the BMTC buses and rarely get upset with them. Then the use of dedicated lanes which I used to believe in - now I question that too based on your argument that it would be a waste of space. Maybe so. I disagree with you with regarding the metro, though. The overground metro being planned now seems a monstrosity, but I think a good metro system would be very helpful in mitigating our problems. True, a metro and especially an underground one would be expensive, but it would be an ideal long-term solution.
murali772's picture

human cost factor

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pdk avare'

My thinking on the METRO has also evolved, particularly after reading this ( http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/11/14/a-most-compelling-story ). The cost of going underground is far lower than the huge human costs involved, which the authorities refuse to factor in.

I would like to believe that the METRO itself could have been avoided if we had excellent and intelligent bus services. BMTC providing it is out of the question. We need to go back to Sri Sundaram Iyengar & Sons, and their scions.

Bangalore has suffered the damage. Let's try and save Mysore and other cities, for which we need to act now.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
bharatm's picture

Hi Murali,

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Thanks for taking my survey. I would appreciate if you can fwd the same to your freinds.

I completely agree unless we ensure that we have reached best efficiency/effectiveness achieved by existing means (BMTC).  And one way to push BMTC efficiency on the next level is allow private players in the fields. In the end Meru Taxi service is doing fairly well compared to regulated Auto regime. 

Thanks again for taking the survey. I feel good when I get chance to interact with people who are very serious about solving day to day problems. 

Thanks.

Bharat

bharatm's picture

Agree to Your Opinion

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Hi Murali,

Completely agree to your point. As of now even I do not feel (for certain reason) we have utilized public Transport Buses fully. Once the private players come in to play I am sure that we will see better service and lot more people moving to Public transport giving u their cars for routine travel, and hence reducing need for more expensive options lik Metro and Flyover. 

appreciate that you have filled my survey. You can fwd the same link to your frens if you feels it is good to share with other.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?hl=en&formkey=dGx5N05PMVBfN2dEZXl4YUl1b19rVWc6MA

Thanks.

Bharat 

idontspam's picture

Yelli...?

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Commuters can get details of their bus by sending a SMS to the server. Also, the details will be displayed at LED screens at major stops. Paul wants to work with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to actualise his idea.

Upon hearing about the idea, Managing Director of BMTC, Syed Zameer Pasha, responded enthusiastically.

"BMTC has always been very progressive and would like to take this forward. I personally would like to meet the person and discuss his idea," he said.

Source

Apparently Mr Pasha has never heard of this idea before.

murali772's picture

extracts from Trans-Innova meet notes

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In his presentation, Mr Pasha went on to acclaim "Yelli Iddira?", amongst other things. During the interaction session, I stated that "Yelli Iddira?" service wasn't working, and as the one who had set it up, I know it for a fact. He mumbled a response that he had heard that there were some issues involved with it.

For the full text, click here

Perhaps, Mr Pasha needs some jogging of his memory.

Muralidhar Rao
pathykv's picture

Commuter Comfort Task Force

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@Muralidhar

You may remeber that Mr. Pasha , in reply to my question , said that the Task Force is having regular meetings. I have been enquiring with the officials of BMTC, but no one seems to know.

K.V.Pathy

murali772's picture

check with Grahak Shakti

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@ Mr Pathy

Around the time we were winding up the CCTF, was when JNNURM came into the picture. Since that mandated constant public interaction, and BMTC found me a thorn in the flesh, they constituted another body (I don't recall the name), with Mr Somasekhar (Grahak Shakti) as the convenor.

I went for public meeting organised by this body (together with BMTC) in Jayanagar, and realised that it was essentially an exercise in fulfilling the JNNURM mandate, and little else beyond that, at least at that stage.

Perhaps the body still exists, and that's what Mr Pasha is referring to.

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

unsustainability staring us in the face

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India will also see a huge jump in urban transportation emissions, from about 70 megatons of CO2 today to more than 500 megatons in 2050. By addressing crucial infrastructure deficiencies its public transport systems and slowing car use, India could curb that increase at 350 megatons of CO2. - - - - "I must admit there's a question about whether business as usual is even plausible, because many cities are going to run into infrastructure constraints and space constraints at some point," he said of rapidly growing vehicle adoption. "But that is the trend, the trend is such fast motorization rates that if nothing is done to try and redirect that, it looks like a very unsustainable future."
 
For the full text of the article published in The Scientific American, click here.
 
And, the most cost-effective and versatile means of public transport is the bus. In India, however, not only has the bus not been deployed to its fullest potential, but it is generally looked down upon, resulting out of the oprations being largely in the hands of inefficient and incapacitated government monopoly set-ups, as also the few (who I refer to as the riff-raff sector) who can manipulate their ways through the license-permit raaj (the most prominent manifestation of its being the "Contract Carriage Act" -check here)
 
And, what is contributing to perpetuation of this scenario, even more than the greed of the neta-babu combo, in my opinion is pseudo-Socialism (check here).
Muralidhar Rao

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