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BMTC Bus Day – It’s a date or live-in-relationship?

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On Feb 2nd, BMTC observed its first Bus Day anniversary and announced that Bus Day will be observed in other cities/towns like Mysore, Dharwar and Hubli. It was a subtle message that the monthly ritual of Bus day in Bengaluru would continue. I was very curious to know what BMTC is planning for this year as a result of one year learning via 12 Bus Days. I know that they have received tons of feedback ranging from new routes/service to total revamp of their operations. I haven’t been  lucky to get a sense of BMTC’s response to all the feedback. I wish I will hear soon from BMTC on this front.

The thought of another year of Bus Day ritual gives me shrills on my spine. I am now questioning myself of utility of Bus Day in 2010 and in 2011. In that pursuit, here is my quest for the answer to the question whether  Bus Day is a “Date” or “Live-in-Relationship” ?

To the question of whether BD is Date or Live-in-relationship, let us start with first choice, Bus Day to be a Date. Going back to some of the early discussions on Praja and elsewhere on this, the suggestion for BUS Day was to provide BMTC a firsthand experience of increased daily commuters and to see how well it is positioned to cater to the new demand. Therefore initial Bus Day was meant to be like a ‘Date’ to understand each other and make an informed decision for solemnizing the relationship into a long term relationship, called MARRIAGE. Marriage in terms of new BMTC with new purpose and structure that can handle the city’s need for PT buses in each and every corner.

The initial Bus Day rituals provided the BMTC with all the data, feedback, suggestion, firsthand experience of its shortcomings and the learning that is very vital to make a new beginning. Basically it provided the necessary inputs to make that informed decision to get into ‘Marriage Relationship’.

Marriage here means BMTC is taking up the responsibility of supporting the residents of Bengaluru in a new organizational setup, revamping of its existing routes and services and better management of its operations.

  • The informed decision should have been to disband its operational philosophy of yester-years and come up with a realistic and rationalized plan that has the potential to serve Bengaluru City for next 50 years.
  • The plan which will call for a complete 360-Degree analysis of City’s needs and determine how best BMTC fits into those needs. For this, definitely BMTC could have roped in well known planners and executioners to lay out those plans.
  • The plan outlining how the new services would be position, that gives the residents to move from one end of the city to other with least changeovers but more importantly having more than one choice.
  • The Plan that introduces single fare card/pass for the entire journey irrespective of number of changeovers.
  • The Plan that calls for implementing best practices in service management operations using the best technology that is available.
  • The Plan that unleashes a new level of customer satisfaction in all aspects of commuter interactions with the BMTC. Plan that integrates with all other PT modes.
  • The Plan that would integrate the last mile connectivity choices.
  • The Plan that is positioned to meet the demands from new layouts and development.
  • The Plan that makes the perfect economic sense in mixing Public-Private interests which in the end is Win-Win situation for everybody. Both BMTC and the public.

This should have been the outcome of decision from BMTC to say ‘I Do’ to post ‘Date’ experience. Unfortunately, it seems BMTC is happy with current arrangement of monthly rituals where it doesn’t have plan on doing more or experimenting newer and bolder choices it has.

Instead of solemnizing this Marriage proposal, looks like BMTC has gone in for ‘Live-in-Relationship’ arrangement. Instead of Bus Day becoming a daily affair, BMTC is happy with continuing the monthly Bus Days. What this buys for BMTC is, it has nothing to do much on restructuring, revamping or rationalizing its services and operations. What it means to the expecting public is not much will be done to mitigate the current problems with commute during peak hours. Some areas will be over-served. Some will be under-served as done before. Basically BMTC bears no responsibility towards public while enjoying the benefits of continued patronage from it. This is what the ‘Live-in’ Relationship’ provides for the consenting parties.

It is the biggest joke of 2011 that BMTC would like to continue with monthly ritual of Bus day. What should have been a temporary affair getting replaced with permanent relationship, the affair continues. Now we will observe Bus Day anniversaries on the lines of Independence Day or Republic Days.

With the kind of apathy shown by GOK, what can an ordinary resident do to voice his disagreement to this –“live-in-Relationship”. Boycott BMTC one day a month? Take the Bus, but don’t pay? BMTC Disobedience?  Seems no dearth of ideas to make BMTC take notice.

Comments

Vasanth's picture

Mysore buses needs lot of restructuring - Can bus days do it?

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 Syed, excellently written. Mysore bus transport scenario is worse. Apart from swanky bus stands that are being constructed and new buses replacing old buses utilizing JNNURM funds, there is no transformation in the way buses operate.

Mysore bus operates on a purely hub and spoke. All the buses goto city bus stand only. There are only one or two bus route that may not goto city bus stand if I am right. Despite of all the buses going to city bus stand, frequency is an absolute blunder. One has to wait 15-20 minutes to get one bus. I used to live at a distance of 3 kms from city busstand. When I visit there, still I face the same problem. Instead of waiting 15-20 minutes, we can as well go by walk and reach in 30 minutes.

Even to travel to neighbouring area which is not on the way to the city bus stand, one has to go all the way to city bus stand and come back.

KSRTC Mysore City Bus, now called MCTC (Mysore City Transport Corporation) the Authorities in Mysore are not even as open to public as the BMTC officials. First thing is these cities should get a website for passenger information instead of wasting money on swanky bus stands.  Opening of website should be the first thing they have to do as part of Bus Day exercise. NIC  does it for free for most of the Government organization, this is how most of the Government agencies getting their websites done. Officials have to just take initiative and approach NIC with content. Lethargic MCTC officials, will they ever do it?

 

shashi kumar y's picture

Can be considered as both but without a fruitful result!!!!!

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Well, Good post sir. As long as the BMTC & its so called officials(without any idea) doesn't come out with a well planned goals. Hvaing BUS day once or twice or thrice or wat so ever in a month doesn't yeild results to the bangalore traffic cum pollution and many things. 

They take so many feedback or ask the public to give feedback but what is the use by just viewing or reading through those feedback unless implemented. 

I'm not quoting that the BMTC needs to implemt all the feedback, atleast let them reply to our feedback in a better  way rather thatn the standard way(We will look into the matter).

If you look carefully, during the every tenure of each MD and Transport minsiter, the BMTC scraps the previous MD's and TM's implemntation and the new officials try to implement his/her new idea.

Because of this the BMTC isn't growing or isn't able to cater to public in any way

psaram42's picture

Bus day and the Red Herrings

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 Herring is a fatty fish from shallow waters of northern atlantic or pacific. The red herring is a smoked herring having a reddish color. The term red herring is used for something that draws attention away from the central issue.

I was under the impression that a bus day encourages people to travel by bus abandoning their own vehicles for a day. If “BUS Day was to provide BMTC a firsthand experience of increased daily commuters” there by improving the service on an online experiment it could the wildest idea indeed. 

I am astonished and dumbfounded to read our good friend KB Sayed,s  blog entry on Bus Day. Are we getting confused about the issues involved? Good town planning is the basis on which good commuting can be relevant. Town planning and commuting are the two of the red herrings, in the present day context of our governance.

murali772's picture

what am I hearing?

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@ Syedbhai  -   What I had realised long ago, seems to be dawning on you now. May be, it's because of the benefit I have had of handling government agencies and companies hands on over a number of years (amongst the most recent ones being BMTC itself, as the co-Chairman of its CCTF), which benefit apparently very few of the Prajagalu have had. The biggest problem is that they are not customer oriented, and whether you like it or not, they just cannot be, particularly so when they are monopolies. As compared to that, in the private sector, since the motivation is profit, customer orientation becomes an essential criterion, since otherwise the competition takes away your custom. And, to contain the ill effects of competition, you need the regulator. So, why don't we change the focus to demanding opening up of the sector to competition from the private sector?

Whenever I talk about Bus Day (the latest being at the talk I made to the Mt Carmel College students), I make it a point to mention about its off-shore convenor, which kind of highlights the essence of Praja as the virtual platform for debates on local issues, but from across the world. Now, if this convenor is going to say that he is disillusioned with the present approach, sees the only way out as the opening up of the sector, and starts a fresh petition along these lines, I guess it will have the necessary impact.

Or, have I misread your post?

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

It's neither red herring nor am disillussion?

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psaram42, murali,

Certainly I can not match your wisdom and experiences of life. Am sure you are more experienced with our systems and their ways of working.

All that I have said through my post is nothing has changed with BMTC at least in my assessment before or after the Bus Day observance in past 12 months. May be people who are on ground and use BMTC service regularly can refute my assessment.

The roadblocks we encounter with BMTC is no different than IDS/Sanjeev/Naveen are facing in pursuing 'Namma Railu' campaign? It is no different than likes of Ashwin/RK are facing in pushing the reforms through ABIDe.

Let me explain this with an analogy. BMTC is running with system like 386/486 system with DOS based programs. The needs and requirements have changed so much that any amount of SW upgrades will not help. Rather BMTC needs to scrap their existing system and instead go for a a top of the class computing machines and also programs running on windows/Linux. It needs Iron Smith's hammer, no Gold smith's hammer.

Also I do not agree with the assertion that replacing BMTC with "M R Transport" or Tatas/Reliance would bring the desired results. Bus Based PT system needs a complete re-haul. Everything needs a complete change - Operations philosophy, planning strategy, Route/Service determinations and the participation of private players as service providers.

Should we give it up? No. Just go back 2 decades ago and ask ourselves. Did we even dreamt that Election Commission will assert itself and bring in desired changes? Likewise, BMTC, BBMP, BWSSB even GOK will get its "T N Seshans" soon. That is my optimism.

Today I may be not satisfied, but I am looking for tomorrows satisfaction. May be we will get Seshans in likes of Manivannan and others soon.

murali772's picture

where's the dispute, then?

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participation of private players as service providers

@ Syedbhai  -  what else do you think I have been asking for? - check this out, besides. So, now that we are agreed on what we want, do you want to start a new on-line petition? Or, still wait for a messiah to descend from the heavens?
 

Muralidhar Rao
shashi kumar y's picture

KBSYED

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You are right. The BMTC is still in DOS command status.

They need to upgrade a lot. Even if the BENZ, or any other comp comes no use as long as the Transport dept doesn't caters to all sectors of society.

imran_huq17's picture

Small Baby Steps...........

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What Syed has said is really thought provoking that the bus day should not just be ceremonial or just be a something like a token gesture.

The Experience obtained from the Bus Days can be really valuable for future projects.From the discussion above and as a short term measure to move forward,Should I dare to suggest that the prajagalu must DEMAND a simple single page “Lessons Learnt” document from BMTC regarding the Bus Day????

 There have been many suggestion's  I would consider them as long term solutions,also i agree that there is a lot to be done by the BMTC .i guess this is a way we can get atleast some information regarding what are the next baby steps regarding the Bus Day.

Regards,

Imran.

psaram42's picture

Amazing Indeed

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Amazing is the peoples resilience to hardships be it be due to BMTC or other services arms of the city. My comment was only for a holistic view on better Bangalore Town Planning which can contribute for good / manageable commuting too. I genuinely thought that bus day was to encourage people to use the Bus transport. I may have been wrong. I also wonder whether the required data of the cities commuters could be generated by other scientific means. 

I feel that the design of arterial road network for the entire city of Bangalore as a whole needs to be evolved. These arterial roads need to be a pair of one way traffic roads, enclosing a continuous business district.  Some of the basic ideas are available in my blog. 

These are my humble views, just for consideration of the prajegalu, not any way to belittle the ongoing discussions in the blog.

kbsyed61's picture

Not just for BMTC!

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Psaram Sir,

One clarification. The Bus Day observance is for both partners in relationship, i.e Commuters and the only ONE service provider. BD did encourage the ordinary commuters who had given hope on BMTC, to give one more try given the larger societal benefits.

I must say people in considerable numbers responded to that call and also expressed their bare minimum wishes that could make their daily commute by BMTC more "RELIABLE", CONVENIENT and PREDICTABLE. The question I am asking is has BMTC risen to those wishes? Personally I don't know, as I live in the other part of the world. I have asked these questions to BMTC directly and indirectly. I haven't got the answers yet. Jury is still out there.

psaram sir, I fully agree with you. PT system is not just about moving buses or trains. It's success relies on other supporting systems also - Town Planning, Traffic Enforcements, Regulatory system, infrastructure like Bus stops, Interchanges and Integration with other mass transit systems are all part of the larger PT system.

-Syed

murali772's picture

sufferance

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@ Imran  -  still asking for just "baby steps"? That way we will have to continue to suffer them for certainly beyond my life-time, perhaps even yours.
 

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

@murali sir, Policy Frame Work!

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Murali Sir,

I had to go through some your posts regarding petition for private players and others on this subject. From all your suggestions, this is what I will agree with you.

  1. Need for comprehensive Policy Frame Work for Public Transport Systems in Cities and towns with mechanism for regular updates.
  2. Legislative orders to implement the policy frame work
  3. Creating Planning, Operational and regulatory Systems
  4. Allocate/Outsource the service provisions on competitive basis.

BTW, ABIDe's paper on transport plan doesn't cover these comprehensively. It talks of many components, but leaves out important one like planning and regularly mechanisms.

Now question is who will bell the cat? ABIDe or PRAJA?

-Syed

Sanjeev's picture

BMTC ‘steals’ (robbibg customer ) the air show, then why Bus Day

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What action one should expect from the government if products are sold at much higher than the maximum retail price? An obvious reply is - the government should act tough on any such retailer

Over the last five days  the BMTC  ran special bus services to the International Aero Show at Yelahanka and charged double the regular fare, with the sole objective to book profit.

Source: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/137551/bmtc-steals-air-show.html

Why BMTC is doing such tings.  To get some goodwill ,  I feel they r doing Bus Day and they did't deploy any special buses for Aero India as I experienced.

<Mod: edited>

sanjayv's picture

Above post is verbait reproduction

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Dear Sanjeev,

Bulk of your post is verbatim reproduction from the DH article.  Is that not against our guidelines?

murali772's picture

that route, too abstract

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@ Syedbhai  -  All those are a must, and will certainly have to be put in place if a decision is taken to open up the sector to private players, since reputed players will come on board only after that's done. But, talking just that language, as has been the norm all this while, makes things a bit too abstract, and will not get us anywhere. I clearly don't see a way out other than a straight forward demand for an end to the monopoly.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

relevant comment

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like i mentioned before, it shd not be like bus day...where it was just tokenism...BMTC made no real qualitative change to the commuting experience...

The above is a comment, I came across on a mail, which I thought pertinent to be added here.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

just a monthly ritual

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A blog on Praja.in terms BMTC’s relationship with Bus Day as a ‘live-in relationship’. - - -  Instead of Bus Day being a monthly observance, the BMTC must make sustainable improvements, Mr Ashwin Mahesh said. BMTC should implement its learnings. “Direction-based service was a success; but three years after it was introduced, the BMTC is yet to make the required additions with time.”

For the full report in the DNA, click here

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Feedback not taken from Public. No more grahakbmtcshakti

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Feedback is not taken from Public by BMTC anymore either during Bus Days or other days. Already buses including Volvos are running full house. They are also outsourcing Volvo and Marcopolo buses to Manyata Tech Park and ORRCA. Their stomach is full and not taking any feedback even by email. Earlier, we could reach BMTC by sending mail to grahakbmtcshakti@gmail.com. Now, there is no response.

Due to outsourcing of Volvo buses to companies, there is accute shortage of Buses. All the 500Ks and 500Cs are completely occupied. There are around 8 - 10 500Ks and 20 500Cs. It is good with 335E and 333T since there are around 60 buses.

500 series Volvo buses are crowded.So, even IT folks for whom Bus days are targetted are reluctant to use them.

 

murali772's picture

how much more does one need to say?

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@ Vasanth  -  Never expected much from GrahakShakti - check this.

As for outsourcing of buses by BMTC, I noticed this vehicle at the airport about a month back, leased to AIR-INDIA STATS, I guess.

And, if you ask questions on BMTC, this is where you land up.

Muralidhar Rao
xs400's picture

BUS DAY - Success / Failure / Stats / Balance Sheet

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As expected, BMTC has sucessfully made Bus Day (and public bus service) a failure.

I am sure they have stats to prove it. But I dont know where they are published, nevertheless I'd like to see what they have to say.

Can the CAG audit this entity?

Vasanth's picture

Very less takers of Volvos .. Ordinary buses have to be thought

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BMTC is driving away passengers from its services due to the high pricing. Recent price hike for stage 2 from 9 to 10 makes someone to think even to get into ordinary bus.Volvos have become see from outside don't get inside kind of vehicles unless you have a Volvo pass.

Something like private operators we think of looking at the prices as Murali Sir says, but their driving attitue woud ruin the city like Managalore. Best is to allow private operators to build Monorails / Light rais as feeder to Metro like done in Mumbai. Fares are so reasonable in the recently opened Mumbai Monorail which teaches Bangaloreans 'comfort need not be necessary'.

With the ever increasing fares of fossil fuel prices, it is good to go away from fossil fuels by using bicycles, monorails and metros which would be more economical and faster and eliminates people from unwanted stress.

 

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