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Dependability of BMTC in question

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Public Transport
Within the same week, there have been two instances of BMTC buses being involved in serious crashes, supposedly due to 'brake failure'. In one, the conductor died, even as many were injured, and quite seriously too, in both. Now, with the kind of advanced technologies that go into vehicle design and manufacture these days, one hardly hears of such happenings elsewhere. Very clearly, therefore, these mishaps are resulting out of the poor maintenance practices followed by BMTC - doesn't quite inspire much confidence amongst the public, particularly when it is poised to take on the additional responsibility of providing critical connectivity to the new airport. Ironically, also, even as these reports have appeared in the press, there is another about the conferrment of a 'Citizen Extraordinaire' award by a Rotary Club on the MD. Admittedly, extra-ordinary efforts are required to make a monopoly government organisation accountable! The above is the text of the letter sent to the press today. For more, read: http://traffic-transport-...

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George E Matthew's picture

What about the horrible

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What about the horrible maxi-cabs? Worse still, call center cabs. These are much more dangerous.

 

Volvo buses are quite clean and well maintined, even compared to IT company charted buses so this constant critique of BMTC is not reallly justified.

 

UNORGANIZED PRIVATE SECTOR must NEVER BE ALLOWED to be part of trasnport infrastructure-just travel in a maxi cab once, pay through your nose for the dirtiest, smelliest vehicle ever. The cost is almost as high as a Volvo and just look at the difference.

 

I agree that large corporates MAY do a better job but only if they are socially responsible like Tata. A dishonest self serving organization like Reliance will never do-they will only fleece the passengers.

 

I wish Mr Murli all the best in his work to improve public transport

murali772's picture

long way to go

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I am not denying that BMTC has improved, say from some 5 years back. But, Indian Airlines, BSNL, SBI, etc have improved by leaps and bounds after effective competition has come on. And, in as a vital infrastructure sector as Public Bus Transport services, we sorely need those kinds of competent forces at play. It is in BMTC's interest also Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
bangalorean's picture

BMTC is dependable but slow

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I agree very much that BMTC is improving a lot, in many places BMTC is a very good to use than using private vehicles for example, the services are good in core areas like jayanagar, Malleswaram, shivajinagar Rajaji nagar......

 

See all these places are existing from many many years. What abt new areas.

 

Some of the basic features which BMTC has to improve really are ....

 

1. Design of the busses - Currently the bus and its design looks pathetic, it looks like a big box made of iron with four wheels. Busses should be sleek and light weight to move fast and accurately. Once a BMTC bus occupies the congested roads of bangalore no other vehicle can go parallel to it (Blame the size of the roads for it)

2. Pls have a look at the driver seat, looks like he is sitting in a stone age vehicle. A big iron rod as gear, which cranks every time he engages the gear, the steering which is not power stearing, drivers have to turn the steering hard to move the bus in bangalores one lane roads.

3. Highly congested busses. Busses are so crowded that, it is very diffcult for even the conductor to move and issue tickets. Buss needs to stops at eratic places for the conductor to move from one door to another door.

 

Taking these into picture how can BMTC offer 100% fool proof safety for the commuters and also for the people around the BMTV vehicles. Radical changes are needed going forth.

 

But still ... busses are running and ferrying so many poeple in and around bangalore... HATS OFF for those drivers who are working round the clock with a big iron box taking round and round the city.

Photoyogi's picture

BRTS -Study for mumbai

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Hi bangalorean, An interesting Presentation that i hit upon regarding BRTS http://www.cirtindia.com/... Which says : The average speed of bus in mumbai on ordinary routes is 12 Km/Hr. (This document was created 2006)This presentation also touches several other things such as use of CNG & Pollution etc. Personally my vote goes for the Metro to solve high density areas and most of all other areas to be covered by a BRTS. Traffic congestion is a complex problem and there is no single solution. -- Praveen Sundaram AkA PhotoYogi

-- PhotoYogi

santsub's picture

Find Directions in Bangalore

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This is a link to find directions in Bangalore - on the lines of Google maps but its even better - has carpoolers info and more cool features.. http://www.btis.in/direct... Similarly links for Hyd and Chennai are below http://www.htis.in/direct... http://www.chennaitraffic... for Chennai
pradeep's picture

Exactly BMTC needs little

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Exactly BMTC needs little more improvents when its building new buses. If the Government had not allowed private bus operaters it would have made huge profits..Not only BMTC, even KSRTC is doing good. The private buses are real mess, they dont have speed regulations, no control on price of the money.. I suggest Govt to remove Private bus operaters from transporting the people.If they do so half of the traffic is reduced on all important roads.

 

Even with all these stiff competitions, traffic bottlenecks BMTC is making profits. Hats off to its employees..

Regards,

Pradeep

“An act of charity by the citizens questions the worthiness of the government.” 

murali772's picture

state governments responsible for that

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The current private operations in Bangalore, as well as in most other cities, are all by insiders (transport Dept officials, police, etc) and the riff-raff, quite like in the case of the notorious BLUELINE in Delhi also. That's why policy changes have to happen to facilitate the entry of the likes of TATA's and TVS. Read more at http://bangalore.praja.in... Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
blrsri's picture

Rajajinagat teacher..colateral victim?

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TOI reports: Seconds after alighting from a bus in Rajajinagar, Arundati (42), and two others were run over by a BMTC bus (route No. 401 K).  

To analyse what happened in Rajajinagar we need to see about the bus.

Both are red board buses which already had travelled a long distance from yelahanka..the drivers in a highly stressed state..just waiting to finish trip!

- Why was the other bus(401B) parked on the center of the road leaving a gap for another bus to sneak in from the left?

- why did the 401K driver opt to sneak in from the left?

- were the busses racing with eachother all the way? was that the reason that the other bus parked in the middle of the road so as not to allow the other bus to overtake?

 what ever the reason the result was more like a very costly colateral with someone paying by their life!

 

The bus drivers need to be given refresher cources in driving and senstizing them about the needs.

As it has been pointed out earlier we need to follow the grid model instead of the hub model for bus routes. This will reduce the travel time for the bus drivers and their stress

Its high time we build those bus turnouts..this will totally avoid such situations

 

 

My aunt was knocked down to

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My aunt was knocked down to death by BMTC bus making quick turns in 8th Cross of Malleswaram a few months back. Many cases abound over the safety of pedestrians with BMTC buses increasing in their frequency and size.

We need a paradigm shift from operating Buses for Mass Rapid Transport. The  Commuter Rail System is much more safe and more environmentally friendly option. 

tsubba's picture

BMTC's proactive response

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BMTC maps out plan to check road deaths Anil Kumar Sastry, The Hindu BMTC working along with other civic and police agencies, will adopt a three-pronged approach to arrest the increasing deaths on city roads and provide Rs. 1 crore this year to the traffic police to undertake sensitisation programmes for road-users. Following Tuesday’s accident wherein a BMTC bus mowed down a schoolteacher in Rajajinagar I Block, BMTC authorities had a brain-storming session and decided not only to concentrate on BMTC drivers, but also on road-users to contain the increasing number of road deaths. The corporation has decided to adopt zero tolerance towards road death and work on it. The first approach involves training 4,000-odd BMTC drivers, whom the corporation has identified as accident-prone with the help of an NGO. They will be offered counselling by psychiatrists and lessons on road safety. In the second approach, the corporation with the help of the traffic police will identify killer roads and killer spots and deploy only gold medallist drivers on such routes. BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy told The Hindu that the corporation has already requested the traffic police to provide details of killer roads and spots. There are several areas in the city where accidents frequently happen because of road conditions “There is no excuse saying that I occupy very less road space, operate just 5,000 buses and am responsible for only 10 per cent of the total road deaths. This is high time that all the agencies concerned adopt zero tolerance towards road accident deaths and work together to bring the numbers to zero,” Mr. Tripathy said. Regarding haphazard parking on wayside bus stops, Mr. Tripathy said the BMTC did not decide the location of bus stops; it was decided by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the traffic police. Their location was rather decided on advertisement potential at busy places. Roads with sufficient space for parking of buses and at convenient locations for commuters should have way-side bus stops, he added.
murali772's picture

it carries on

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Extracts from Sunday TOI, Bangalore edition (dt 15th June, '08)

1) A 55-year-old man was fatally knocked down by a BMTC bus in Rajajinagar traffic police limits. P Maadhu, who stayed in Sheshadripuram, was standing in the bus station on Ram Mandir Road at 11.45 am, when an overspeeding BMTC bus (Number 50) rammed into the station. He was severely injured and rushed to hospital. The mechanic-turned businessman succumbed at 7.15 pm at another hospital.

2) Tension prevailed in KR Puram on Saturday evening, after a BMTC bus ran over one and-a-half-year-old Sowmya. Irate public pelted the bus with stones and damaged it. Police said Sowmya was walking with her parents when the accident took place. The bus (Route No. 307-A), plying between Majestic and Mayasandra, came on the wrong side and crushed the child under its wheels. When the crowd started throwing stones, the driver jumped out and fled.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Simply not acceptable - deaths by BMTC

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Murali sir,

Agree with you that some radical change is needed.  Both these accidents were out of pure negligence and not one of those where a motorbike tried to squeeze between the bus and the divider or something like that.

Unless enforcement is improved and offenders are seen to be punished this will carry on.  Before you say "privatization", there is no guarantee that private operators will not do something like this.  If basic law enforcement (driving on the wrong side and by a monster bus) is not in place, then privatization will only add to the hazards.

BMTC is reaching Blueline status.  Can we raise this in our next meeting with the BMTC head?

Regards,

Srivathsa

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

murali772's picture

furthering the debate

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After a lot of debate, largely through e-mails, the members of a Google-group decided that they will push for the idea of competition in public bus transport services. The text of the mails are given below:

Mr M (who is generally opposed to the idea) wrote:

Dear Murali,

Certainly. Competition in bus transport would be a good thing. Only we need to, if we could, ensure that the experience of the Blue Line Killers of Delhi is not repeated here. I hope you, and others here, know the reason for the reputation of Blue Line. Almost all private bus operators follow similar devices in their management of these "efficient" services. Their management invariably adheres to the simple profit strategy of "cutting corners". Their drivers do so literally! Take any Govt bus operator, especially on long distance travel. The crew would be changed every two or four hours. The relief crew come in at intermediate stations and the relieved crew gets off. In the case of private bus operators, if at all the crew is changed, the relief crew would be ones that have traveled in the same bus all along. The relieved crew continues after the other crew takes over. The private operator's crews have very little testing or training and sometimes not even a driving license.

All Govt buses would have speed governors. If at all these are fitted on private buses, at the time of inspection or certification, they would immediately thereafter be disabled. This is perhaps one reason why the private buses run "on time".

Another efficient practice of private operators is to over book and sometimes the extra passenger, who unfortunately turns up, travels sitting on the bonnet! [Even private Airlines operators, a la Deccan Air variety, are not averse to such efficiency. They offload the extra passenger, because there is no bonnet next to the pilot!]

They [private bus crew] are paid on the basis of income earned. Hence, they have an incentive for overloading, speeding, carrying parcels [legal and illegal] on the roof and in the boot and wherever else it is possible to load. Go to God's Own Country for a living example of the efficacy of these incentives.

Usually all private bus operators are either politicians, or their family or henchmen, above the law and law unto themselves. No wonder they are profitable and "efficient".

Great to have this competition. And why not? After all not everyone is happy with BMTC / KSRTC service levels and efficiency.

Go ahead Murali and all those who wish to have this "competition" to make bus service "efficient". Enjoy the "efficiency" - from a distance, since none of us, if we could help it, would travel by these killer vehicles!

 

GR's response:

Dear Mr M

I agree with you fully that 'Blueline' buses have got a bad name and they are 'Killer buses'.

But do you know that some 10 years back, the BMTC buses in Bangalore were sporting a RED colour and this colour was changed to BLUE and the reason quoted was that RED BMTC buses have got a bad name for being rashly driven and that they have earned notoriety. So, the BMTC wanted a change in colour so that it 'Looks' friendly. If we file a RTI, we will know the statistics related to the number of accidents that these BMTC buses were involved in each year. The BMTC unions are quite powerful and the Drivers don't care!The difference between Govt. buses and private buses in terms of rash driving is that Govt. buses are probably not as rashly driven as private Blue liners but will never get the pass marks. The blueliners are driven rashly for making more profits by increasing the number of trips whereas, Govt. buses are rashly driven because the Drivers get some entertainment out of it. Being a commuter myself, I have seen buses of the same number racing against each other to reach the destination faster. They skip stops, inconvenience passengers, intimidate fellow road users all for that entertainment that they get in the onroad race. Blueliners are as over-crowded as BMTC buses! Except that the crew in Blueline is far more courteous than BMTC crew. I have travelled in private buses too and I know the difference. The BMTC crew is very rude at times. They want to reach their destination as fast as possible and finish their duty [Afterall, they are govt. employees]. Corruption is rampant in BMTC right from ticketing to purchase of tyres and spare parts. You will not find this in private buses. In the 1970s,1980s and 1990s, the BTS which was the earlier nomenclature of the present BMTC was notorious for inefficiency, corruption, rash driving, and above all, snap strikes. The BTS was completely unionised and their USP during snap strikes was to park buses haphazardly on main roads and block all roads!

Let me give you an example to support privatisation of public transport. In Hubli-Dharwad, some 2-3 years back, a private operator by name 'Bendre Sarige' started operations. Till then, only Govt. buses were plying and they didn't have any accountability. The unions protested but somehow, it didn't have much effect. Today, these same Govt. buses are run more efficiently. The crew is more courteous than before.

A deep analysis of the traffic probem in Bangalore today and the growth of two-wheelers will lead us to the poor public transport system and the fact that it is a monopoly. I doubt whether we would have so many two-wheelers had the public transport been free from monopoly.

The answer lies in a strong consumer movement and allowing both private as well as Govt. sectors in the fray to compete and thus freeing public transport from the clutches of this monopoly.

Mr M counters:

Both are equally bad. Only Blue Line is perhaps a shade worse if one were to go by the reputation they have where even the Delhi High Court had to intervene and ask the Govt to take some steps to reign them in!


Mr TV adds:

Rash driving is not a domain area for private or public . Many were killed by rash driving of BMTC drivers too. Privatise and have a regulatory body with norms to be followed. If not cancel the licenese. Can we regulate the Govt guys. You punish one for violation they go on strike. They go to labour court which is expected to favour emloyees as the employer does not put it's case properly, who cares if an employee is suspended. He will come back to work after few years with back wages and may be promoted too for his misdeeds!!

Having worked in PSU I had seen many such cases. An employee who joins as a workman without any qualification ( for a lower category work) becomes a union leader, starts bossing over the Management. If the Management is weak ( trying to get favours from Political leadership as these leaders are connected with them ) the Company goes to dogs. History proves. If the Management is strong such leaders will go on strike and Political leadership supports the union, invariably . Anyway things have changed a lot for better.


I add:

The blue-line problem was clearly identified as resulting out of Delhi government's license-permit raaj, and has apparently been corrected to some extent. It was precisely as a learning from the Delhi blue-line experience that the UP government, in its privatisation programme, has decided to allow only participants with a minimum fleet strength of 4000 buses - perhaps going a bit too far, in my opinion. More on this can be accessed at
http://praja.in/bangalore....

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Not even a hint of remorse from BMTC's head

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What is appalling is the absolute silence from BMTC's end.  There is not even a hint of remorse or a statement that things will change, etc.  In each of these cases, the driver should be charged with culpable homicide and be put behind bars for 10 years.  A bus has no business speeding anywhere let alone near a bus stop. 

BEST drivers drive in the same sort of conditions.  But you will rarely see them race each other or drive in the middle of the road.  BMTC drivers do it as they get away with it each time. 

Srivathsa

 

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

murali772's picture

differences in approach

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As to the matter of safety, efficiency and customer-friendliness of inter-state bus services (that Mr M had raised, vide posting under 'furthering the debate'), there are the good as well as the bad amongst the private bus operators.

With excellent train services between Bangalore and Chennai, one generally opts for it. Recently, however, a niece of mine had to travel down to Bangalore during a week-end, at short notice, and landed up taking day buses both ways. The onward journey was by 'KPN Travels', and her experience was totally satisfactory, with the bus stopping at decent way-side restaurants with clean toilet facilities. The return journey through 'National Travels' was almost a nightmare. I reported the matter to 'REDBUS', the online booking agency, and I expect, they have down-graded National Travels. And, I am sure, these kinds of things will have their impact.

But, as far as BMTC/ KSRTC services are concerned, since their outlook is hardly market-oriented, their responses are also routine, like we saw at http://praja.in/bangalore...
Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

A warning though

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Working on BMTC drivers i "isolation" will not work. As Sri said above, everyone needs to be policed and not just the BMTC drivers.

Systems that target specific drivers - like call in if the driver is rash  to report rash auto, or call center cab or BMTC bus - these are not fair. Its not just them who drive bad, though we would like to humor ourselves with the thought that the rest of us are much nicer on the roads.

Why do they really overtake each other. Certainly not to play games with each other. Perhaps their time targets are not realistic. Perhaps their time targets are not factoring in the traffic density which is a function of time - need for a variable (1.2x for 9 - 11 AM and 6 - 8 pm) ?

Basically, I am asking this. If you think that BMTC driers are overly rash than the average traffic, has anyone tried to understand the reasons why

murali772's picture

Risky BMTC

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About 55 people have been killed this year in road mishaps which involved BMTC buses. This is twice the corresponding figure of last year. In 2007, 24 people were killed in BMTC road mishaps. For more, click on
http://www.newindpress.co...

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao

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