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Bengaluru Commuter Co-operative

332 users have liked.

Dear Friends,

We all know that commuters in Bangalore are struggling with inadequate mass transport system and deteriorating traffic conditions.  We have a situation where the most important transport project like CRS is being ignored by the incompetent state government.  All our suggestions to improve BMTC fall on deaf ears.  Auto rickshaw drivers are fleecing us at every opportunity they get.  Last mile connectivity is non-existent.  Our children are traveling to schools in unsafe vans and auto rickshaws like herds of cattle.    

So what can be done as a citizen of Bangalore and commuter to change this situation? Advocacy?, campaigning? Lobbying?.  Well Praja and many other civic groups and NGOs have done that for years and the effect on the government, and so called traffic and transport ‘authorities’ is marginal at best.  Most of the time they have ignored us and carried on their incompetent ways as if we need them and they don’t need us.  The final nail in the coffin would be the CRS, which is undeniably, the most essential for Bangalore.  The Praja threads discussing CRS go way back to 2010 and three years later; all our efforts are about to go down the drain as the CRS has hit a dead end.

It is high time we take this matter in our own hands and write our own destiny.  It is time we create our own organization or ‘Authority’ or co-operative which is for the Commuters and by the commuters.  We don’t need to beg for service from anyone and we should be in a position to demand service.  We don’t need celebrities or eminent personalities to endorse us, we are our own celebrities.

It is time we realize that mere protests or advocacy does not make any difference and there is an urgent need for action.  As the corruption and incompetency are the hallmark of the present government system, there should be an alternative which can circumvent this system and protect ourselves before we all get engulfed in the polluted air and die.  

We are 30 to 50 lakh commuters strong who are religiously traveling to school, college, work or business every day in Bengaluru spending 15 to 20 % of our day commuting in such a horrific condition that it is effecting our whole day and our entire life.  Even at around Rs.500 per month average, we are spending Rs.1500 to 2000 crores on commute every year.  These numbers say everything.  We have enough people and money to make a huge difference.  

I know, you may be asking can we manage such huge organisation.  Well, think of the people who are managing our public companies and ministries. A person who can’t tell difference between 2 stroke and 4 stroke engine is heading our transport organisation and a person who can’t tell a difference between Incandescent bulb and CFL is a power minister.  When these type of people are governing us and managing our organisations, can’t we build and manage our own efficient organisation, with commuters who are Doctorates, Managers, Administrators, Technologists, entrepreneurs, BPO staff, bankers and others?.

Also, money is essential to build and manage such organisation.  But, with 50 lakh commuters, contributing 1 or 2% of their commute cost towards their own welfare is a huge amount.  Many international organisations are ready to give huge grants if we are able to reduce carbon emissions in the city.  Our own tax money earmarked for urban transportation which is being misused by government organisations can be tapped.   Once people power is there, many things are possible.

This entity preferably a co-operative would reduce the cost, time and hassle of commuting by:

  1. Protecting the rights of the commuters.
  2. Advocacy, lobbying and campaigning to improve the services, traffic and road conditions
  3. Be part of every commuter transport service entity (BMTC, CRS, Metro, etc) in the management and board as commuter representative with authority.
  4. Manage the training, eligibility and records of the commercial drivers.
  5. Develop, implement and manage technology tools required to make our commute easy (like Where is my bus service, transport management, smart card/mobile transactions etc.,)
  6. Establish and manage commuter support centre
  7. Establish and manage last mile connectivity services
  8. Establish and manage park and ride centres with amenities
  9. And many more things we see the need for.

Well folks, there is no better organisation than PRAJA who can initiate this in Bangalore.  Praja has people, knowledge, and experience to make this possible.  We have a choice, either we can join together and make a real difference or we can continue and struggle in the same way and not see any change in our lifetime. 



Vasanth's picture

Some points which can make a lot of difference as of now..

151 users have liked.

1. Stopping the outsourcing of BMTC buses to private companies including Volvos which is occupied by 4-5 people at the cost of hundreds of commuters waiting in the Bus Stops just for BMTC's Business Oriented Outlook as Murali Sir Says.

2. Starting Intelligent Transport System in Bangalore like it is going to get implemented in Mysore very shortly allowing a commuter to decide to wait for the bus or not.

3. Commuter Rail - To start with atleast a Train from Ramanagaram until where electrification is done to Bangarpet. Publicity of such a train itself can be a push to full implementation.

4. Metro Reach 1 extension to ITPL - Right now it has become just a joy ride train being helpful to only handful of commuters. Extension to Whitefield as per Phase 2 before the entire Phase 1 is operational can make Metro more meaningful. Since it is elevated line from BYPL to Whitfield, it should not be a rocket science for BMRCL engineers. BMRCL is rather concentrating in the regions where it doesn't make much difference for commuters. Majestic - Whitefield Metro can make a lot of difference to the traffic around Whitefield area.

5. Starting more Pre-paid auto counters in the city helping commuters the last mile problem along with shared auto concept.

6. Stopping meaningless flyovers and underpass constructions and concentrating on more Pedestrain facilities like Zebra crossings.

silkboard's picture

Back to the original thought Ashfaq, nice post

172 users have liked.

nice post Ashfaq. The idea is great. And you have rightly mentioned the money part upfront. No organization works without clear picture of income, and list of things that money will be spent on. You have mentioned those as well.

The only hitch is that such initiatives fall short on "hands". Creating a non-profit like this, and running it will require serious effort. either one of us will have to get in to run this ourselves, or we will have to hire "quality" individuals for decent money to run it while we take the onus for raising and managing money.

This is definitely worth discussing. And I am sure Praja RAAG (the group that runs this website and undertakes few projects listed here) will be interested in futhering discussion on this and if a good model can be thought about, taking this forward in a practical yet effective way.

Thanks once again for sharing a good thought, and in good detail.

ashfaq syed's picture

making this as a project

142 users have liked.

Dear Vasanth and @silkboard,

   thanks for your comments and suggestions.  it is important that this matter is given a serious thought.  I know that there is a huge effort from praja members in promoting CRS and this may not be priority for praja members right now.  But, this commuter co-operative may be the game changer for CRS.  imagine if we have this commuter co-operative and WE initiate and create the CRS SPV and INCLUDE Railways GOI, GOK and other private companies in it!!!!! (who says we have to wait for Government to create SPV).  Afterall, undisputedly, we are the biggest stakeholder in CRS.

As you mentioned, it is important that we discuss further and evolve a good model which can be practical and effective.  I would like to make this as a project and move the discussion over to project area so that more clarity can be achieved.

Please let me know how to create the project and move the discussion over there.




idontspam's picture

We can form a users

155 users have liked.

We can form a users trust/society which can do the things we are trying to do thru Praja like lobby for CRS, not a executional SPV which needs GoK sanction to gather finances & execute works on govt property. 

kbsyed61's picture

@Ashfaq - Very good thoughts!

148 users have liked.


First of all very nice idea and deseves a chance for some intense discussion. Count me in for any help from my side.

One clarification though, Praja as a community are not focussed on CRS alone, but are campaigning for many other issues that concerns individuals and groups.

Pls go ahead and present the proposal and I amsure Praja members would respond positively.


dvsquare's picture

Nice thought and detailed writeup

154 users have liked.

Definitely, it can be taken up as a project and can be taken forward with the help of Praja members.

But I want to know, how this co-operative will have the powers to make govt start a few good mass transport options?

Secondly, as SB told, this has to be concluded into a very good model, which has all the ways to run on its own, get the people whenever it needs and finally create a co-operative which can really stand on its own with the people power.

All the points, you pointed in the blog is very much where we as praja members keep pushing to make a bangalore better city for commuters, pedestrians etc.

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