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 Summary: Recently I was thinking of possible reasons and solutions of the problem of traffic. I did a small survey and collected opinion from the people from various ages. I also observed working of Volvo service in bangalore. In all, what I concluded is that, there is mismatch in the offerings we have from public transport and expectation of passengers of certain class. Unless the mismatch is addressed the problem will not be solved. 

Details:

The approach to solution is simple, observe the passengers then look at the service provider. After looking at them independently try to see why they are not good match today. 

The Passenger

Recently I have done a survey on public transport to see 

  1. What people think about current traffic situation?
  2. What is their opinion about public transport?
  3. What are the problems they see with public transport?
  4. What are the potential solutions they seek?

Let me start with analyzing responses on the survey briefly. ( can see Survey Questions here. ) Highlighting points are 

  1. According to most of them current traffic situation is bad and lot more people think that its heading to worse. (Obvious)
  2. 64% people strongly agree that "Cars take more space on the road".
  3. 55% people strongly agree if cars are reduced it will improve traffic situation. 
  4. 81% people think that PTS( Public Transport Service) can solve traffic problem. 
  5. Almost 60% feel waiting for the bus is big hinderance to PTS. 
  6. Almost 75% are ok with Volvo service comfort level. 
  7. Almost 50% feel they can not follow schedule if they use PTS. 
  8. Half of the people feel PTS is not fast enough. 
  9. More than 50% are ok or have no issues with walking for the bus stop.
  10. 40% feel point to point (p2p) connectivity is big concern for them. 
  11. 70% feel PTS is not reliable with respect of time. 

The profile of people who gave survey is 30% use either PTS or office bus, 43% use it occasionally, 18% has never used PTS.

The Public Transport

On the other hand I have also observed how volvo ply from ITPL office for evening time. I recorded the time at which buses were starting and the pattern they were running. Also I traveled from ITPL to majestic and then back from Majestic to ITPL  in evening time. Main findings from this exercise are

  1. There is no schedule.
  2. There is no pattern. 
  3. Frequency is not applicable to volvo.
  4. There is lot of wastage.

So BMTC is bad system, no I do not think so. Because I feel the BMTC staff especially drivers and conductors are extremely helpful ( at least on volvo) and they face the traffic 8 hrs when we feel frustrated in 40 mins of traffic. Few other points which we have to appreciate

  1. 5000 + buses running relentlessly on the service of people. 
  2. Serving lakhs of people everyday.
  3. It is no less than a wonder that BMTC is making profits. 
  4. Managing the big network with out sophisticated system.

Where Expectation and Services not gel?

So an interesting point which comes out from my findings is 

" People want to use PTS and they feel positive about it. BMTC is working hard to service the people. "

So the big question is where it is going wrong, why there are so many people using cars?

The answer lies on another question why volvo is not able to generate profit for BMTC?

Let us consider BMTC as an organization. BMTC is an old corporation serving to needs of the people for past several years. When BMTC started Bangalore was yet to realize its IT potential and hence most of the people were looking for economical and decent modes of transportation. Most of people had no other means and hence they had to rely on BMTC and it is true today as well. Keeping it economical is very important as most of its customers are still belong to a class where economy takes first priority. And hence today as well they make their decisions and strategy keeping their common customer. 

But in last few year, as the per capita income of bangalore increased tremendously there are lot of people having more option other then PTS ( Mainly car and Bikes) . Past few years BMTC kept on working in same way satisfying its common customer but could not cater to this new segment which became very important and influential to todays traffic. And hence this new passenger class is totally ignored or deprived of their expectation.  This new customers are different in all reaspects habbits, tolerance, financially etc.

Solution

I assume here that all of us agree, unless PTS is able to cater/attract this new class, traffic in the city is going to be a mess.  So let us try to analyse profile of this potential customer

  1. Used to or prefers flexible Timing. 
  2. Zero patience.
  3. Decently rich.
  4. Cares about comfort and ready to pay for it. 
  5. Likes personal space.
  6. Tries to be cautious towards environment
  7.  Prefers clean environment.
  8. Work hard party harder tendency.
  9. Cares for time. ( Earning 2k per Day or Rs 4 per Min)
  10. Health cautious 
  11. Prefers fast
  12. Busy

I feel most of the point will describe all of us somewhere. There can be more point, but lets see if we can find some solution based on above profile.  A very prominent point we can see in all of the people today is they are busy. They want to do as much as they can most of the time, so time becomes extremely important for them.   

So more relevant or important point for BMTC is

  1. Money vs Time --> With in acceptable range Time Wins. 
  2. Health vs Time --> Within acceptable range Health wins

By not driving on the road I can keep myself healthy. Stress is part of job for most of us and and roads contribute to make it worst. PTS helps reduce driving stress. A big plus point for PTS. So we definitely strong positive point with us which we should leverage while promoting PTS. Now move to time part of PTS. A person has to 

  1. Walk to bus stop.
  2. Waiting for the Bus.
  3. Travelling time
  4. Walk to final destination

The time spent on the above activities usually adds more than 30% time taken by other means like car. So it becomes a strong negative factor for PTS. So it is important to reduce or divert in such way that it works as positive factor for us. 

Explore following suggestions

  1. Walking to Bus stop and waiting time for bus can be clubbed in such way that overall time spent is less.
  2. Travelling time to be utilized in something else. ( Reading, Surfing, Chatting, nap etc) 

Let us look at potential approach to do the same

  1. Time to walk to bus stop can not be reduced. But, for example, if I know bus starts at 9 AM exactly , I can make my waiting time to zero. Or in other words, if PTS starts to give exact time to start, it will help people to reduce waiting time.
  2. Travelling time can potentially be used in lot of personal activities like reading, calling and sleeping. We need to have comfortable and capacity where people get space to sit and perform these activities. 

Considering above points what is the immediate and easy starting point for BMTC to try

  1. Have schedule. For example from ITPL specify the 500P bus times exactly. e.g. 500p will leave at 6:10, 6:20, 6:30. And follow it from at least 3 months to see results.
  2. Try to observe the occupancy at daily level and adjust the capacity accordingly. 

If the point 1 is implemented BMTC will see 30% increase in their revenue of volvo service due to following reasons

  1. More passengers will use volvo as they do not have to wait.
  2. The gap between the 2 consecutive buses will be sufficient to have enough people at stops.
  3. Waiting time reduction will reduce crowd at the bus stops making traffic faster at various junctions like Marthahalli.

For the next level, there is tremendous potential of IT solutions to help people reduce time required for PTS. IT solution can

  1. Make Bus/route information easily available.
  2. Make visibility of current situation possibility. ( Where the bus is and possible how much occupied it is)
  3. Make IT enabled environment in Buses with WIFi and charger points. Of course at premium price. 
  4. Making it IT enabled can make BMTC better as they can be more responsive to customer need. They can gather data, analyse data much more easily and infer the public needs better.

The most important point about IT solutions is they are very cheap compared to other alternatives like Metro and flyovers. 

In all, there is a dire need to analyse the passengers needs from the new class of bangalore and address them separately as it is totally different customer profile. A basic analysis from my observation and suggested solution has a potential to bring volvo services to profitability and more importantly to serve the purpose of attracting car users.  I strongly urge BMTC to implement basic suggestions in article which requires no major equipment but slight change in their working. After these changes BMTC can try to address other needs of this new class and hence becoming true transporter of all bangaloreans. 

 

 

Comments

pathykv's picture

VOLVO

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Dear Bharat,

Wonderful Analysis.

 It is obvious that BMTC alone cannot do justice to the commuters requirements and needs supplementing by private competition to fulfil the growing needs.

K.V.Pathy

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Very good White Paper on BMTC

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@ Bharat

Great work yaar. This Paper can be taken by BMTC as citizens feed back and based on these findings, they can go back to basics, correct the flaws in their style of functioning, stop/reduce redundancy and make public transport attractive for PTS for decongesting Bang-lure roads and also to make decent profits provided they rejig their priorities and reduce procurement of white Iravatas.  Of the 1000 number of buses, only 398 have been supplied so far and last date for supply of entire quantity is 31st December 2009; if not supplied, BMTC to levy Rs.1500 fine per bus per day; will they do it or wont, is the big question. 

BMTC is actually making profits by not running their bus engines and saving lot of fuel since at most of the traffic hold ups, drivers switch off the engines and wait for the traffic to clear. A sample quantification may give alarming non-traffic unintended profit figures.

Suggestions - certain aspects about pilferages by conductors, cleanliness, maintenance conditions/AMCs of Volvo (simple replacement of front glass costs Rs.35,000 and rear glass Rs.15,000 and all repairs have to be done by Volvo auto engineers and not by BMTC mechanics), etc.  All these go into making running of Volvos uneconomical.  These buses are being thrust into city services in Tier II cities where roads are in horrible conditions and there are horrible unscientific humps that cause shocks to the entire frame of Volvo chassis resulting in cracking up of wind shields, glasses, etc. According to terms and conditions, such defects should be attended to and replacements done to maintain the A/C etc., by Volvo and these are consumables beyond AMC/guarantee period.  BMTC itself has been incurring quite a bit of expenditure on these counts. 

At a recent JNNURM meeting in Mysore, elected reps created a ruckus about stratified way of running Volvos to select areas of the KSRTC city services by ignoring aam aadmi routes.  The CEO, JNNURM ordered and now out of 69 Volvos, 52 have been made to run on routes like Kyathamaaranahalli, Metagalli, Paduvaarahalli, etc. 

Praja's next meet with BMTC may use your post to enlighten the authorities.

Many prajas have expressed their opinions on the following post; hope you have seen it: 

http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/vasanthkumar-mysoremath/2009/04/02/stratified-bmtc-service-making-profits-with-defic 

- Vasanth Mysoremath

akauppi's picture

A splendid write!

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 A very well written analysis, indeed. I hope you allow me to quote it in certain points - especially I liked the survey you had made - how many people did you ask from, if I may be curious? :)

Thanks to Vasanthkumar about the realistic description of problems when using western technology. Maintenance must be (made) local, and be of fair prize. I'm sure we'll be able to bridge these issues together, eventually.

- Asko

- asko

We're developing a light weight automated transport solution, especially suitable for Indian urban challenges. Initially launched in April 2010 in Delhi, we're progressing with CAD design and strength simulations in 2011

shashi kumar y's picture

Wonderful Awesome, perfect & the 100% fact survey

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Mr. Bharat, I appreciate your efforts. Being a S/W guy, you have alloted your useful time to this survey.

I felt happy I'm on the same line as some ppl are.... means I have support for my article or facts too.

Your survey is 100% true.  Wake up bangaloreans... It is for our own daily lives cause many praja members are doing or contributing their time to make our lives better.

Sir, not only that.

1) If you have a close watch or survey, we need to blame the BMTC  senior officials for the shortage of VOLVO's during evening peak hours.  
                          They have made most of the VOLVO's to end the day b/w 6:30-7:30pm. You can have look at respective VOLVO depots across city:-- HSR layout, Majestic, Kamakya & Hebbal.

2) Next, as rightly said by you, No proper time follow/ patterns for mainly 500C VOLVO's. These Volvo's mainly compete with each other by plying back to back looking to grab passengers there by creating more wait time.

  Though during NOON time(b/w 11am to 3pM), there is no need of so much VOLVO's from BSK sector to ITPL, these always ply empty or occupied with less than 10 passengers. Hence fuel & revenue loss.

We need to appreciate the driver and conductor but not the BMTC officials. They are mainly responsible for public to shift to personal mode of transport.

    They(BMTC officials) are not ready to take our ideas nor  they are ready to do the survey as we do at those locations.

 

 

Anithasunil's picture

Keeping to schedule

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In case of buses which are frequent, with a frequency less than 15 minutes, I guess it is ok even if the bus schedule is not published/bus doesn’t keep to the schedule etc… But when the frequency is less, publishing a schedule, and keeping to that schedule becomes very important.

In case my travel time by bus is 30 minutes, and there is a variance of 20 minutes in waiting time, the total time I would take would be 50 minutes (because I have to be at the bus stop, at the earliest expected time of the bus.). On the other hand , even if the travel time is increased to 40 minutes, due to the bus running at a lower speed, but even then, it sticks to the schedule, my total time on road is reduced.
 
For example, say a bus runs on 25 days with statistics as shown in the graph. Fix the trip time such that the bus would take less than that on 90% of the days. Now, even if the bus can go faster, stick to this schedule, by going slowly etc. Thus, the total waiting time+travel time would be reduced, even if travel time by itself is increased.
 
 
This comes from my experience using 504E. The bus comes at the stop in front of my office(near hoodi), any time b/w 5.10 to 5.30. Most of the time, it is nearer to 5.30. then it takes about 25 minutes to drop me at Marathahalli. This happens to be the only direct route to Marathahalli. Most of the time, going to Krpuram/ITPL and taking a bus to marathahalli turns out to be time saving, even though the distanceand traffic  is much more! And this is because I otherwise waste abt 20 minutes waiting for the bus!
 
IF BMTC can concentrate on publishing the times for the infrequent routes, and work on making them run on schedule, I guess it would a huge boost o the public transportation system in Bangalore. Also, focusing the work on infrequent routes would make it much easier than trying all the routes together!
dvsquare's picture

No particular pattern or frequency or timetable

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Great, awesome work and really appreciate the effort put into.

Yes, its very correct.

Many times, I see on the ORR, that 2 or 3 500C volvo buses can be seen overtaking each other on various signal easily. I don't understand how does that happen, does the frequency so good as every 5-10 mins? But its not, had the frequency being good, you would have never seen any friend of yours complaining about 500C. And if its every 20-30 minutes, then how come they came so close to each other, on the signals. This really seems to be so wrong, when you need just 1, there are more than 1 buses and when you need, there are no buses.

BMTC has to really follow some pattern or frequency so that it can really help people in making their schedules attach to BMTC timings or attach BMTC timings to their schedule and make them use more of public transport.

Is it true, that Volvos doesn't ply much after evenings or so, because I have heard from lot of people that, they can't get volvos from marathaali towards silkboards many times around 8:00 PM around? Is that true, if yes, then there you see, the peak time of IT professionals going back home and volvos not available, another hinderance to use the public transport.

BMTC can atleast try to stick to some time-table and pattern (like how vayu-vajra follows a particular pattern, timetable and frequency), it can really attract a lot of people to move from private to public transport.

 

Deepak

shashi kumar y's picture

deepak.

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Yes, that's true that people don't get VOLVO's with good frequency as it would be during morning.

You can certainly have a look near the VOLVO depots.

There is a valid reason why the BMTC makes the VOLVO's(most) to end its operation for ther day before 7:30pm or so.

 

Hence the VOLVO'S are making so called""" profit "" which is stated by the BMTC officials in the media. But the real fact is they are in losses.

bharatm's picture

THANK YOU

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Hi All,

Thank you for your comments and additional point which will be helpful for my further analysis. In the mean while I need more support from all of us. 

I have designed an idea to address this issue which I have entered in the Wagon-R Smart  idea contest. 

It need votes to qualify for the second round. Please vote here  votes . 

I appreciate your time and concern for the cause. If you need more details please send me an emaill and I will definitely respond to them. 

 

Thanks.

Bharat 

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