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BMTC's business-oriented outlook

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To compensate for the losses in the regular operations, BMTC is now having to look at newer and newer avenues, though in the process they may be deviating totally from their original mandate. The increased contract services for schools and IT sector companies, etc are a part of all that. In addition now are the grandiose schemes of building the so-called TTMC's, again through a totally non-transparent process, with the main object of earning revenues through lease to Big Bazaar, etc, but camouflaged as passenger amenities.

The idea of nationalizing public services like bus transport, banking, insurance, etc, by the Indira Gandhi government, was supposedly to serve the Social objectives of making them readily available to the common man. While the objectives were certainly laudable, how things shaped up eventually, only went on to re-enforce the adage that 'Socialism can only be preached, but not practised', particularly in India. The governments that followed slowly began realising the mistake that had been made, but, instead of reversing the policies in toto, they allowed the babudom to bring-in the 'license-permit raaj', which proved even more disastrous than Socialism.

With the economy on the verge of bankruptcy, the Narasimha Rao government (with Mr Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister) was forced to take on a few bold measures. The opening up of the economy that followed started showing results immediately, and there was no going back from then on. With the Vajpayee government furthering the process, India was actually beginning to shine, as they had claimed at the time of going to the general elections. However, a few critical areas, particularly agriculture, and key infrastructural sectors power, bus transport services, etc had remained neglected, and the Vajpayee government was forced to pay the price for it all inspite of having done comparably well otherwise.

The present government, though ideologically aligned with the Vajpayee government on economic issues, has not been able to make much progress on reforms in these critical areas, because of its dependency so far on the left parties. With the situation changed now, how far they can move in the remaining nine months is to be seen.

But, the irony of it all is that most of these services are in the hands of the state governments. But, with Socialism remaining too steeped in the minds of the run-of-the-mill Indian politician, whether from Congress or BJP, nobody was prepared to stick his neck out and take the necessary step forward. It finally required a Mayawati to do it - to dismantle the monopoly of the government in providing the services, to begin with in the bus services sector (this). And, now, the Congress government in Maharashtra has taken bold to privatize water supply services in the city of Nagpur (this).

The government service providers, including our own BMTC, have been seeing the writing on the wall, and are trying to change their outlook to becoming business oriented. Now, this is where a new set of problems have cropped up. Whereas, when there is competition, business orientation results primarily out of customer orientation, in a monopoly situation, the customers generally end up getting a raw deal.

Now, even with the proposed fare increases, BMTC will hardly be breaking even on its regular services, and consequently their progressive neglect at considerable cost to the common man. Though these services can also become profitable with improved operational efficiencies, and increased ridership through route rationalization etc, as recommended by various experts, BMTC cannot be bothered with implementing any of them due to its typical public sector approach. In addition, it is in effect keeping the huge non-Kannadiga resident as well as floating population out of its purview because of its having to pander to the language chauvinists by providing only Kannada destination boards, due to political considerations.

To compensate for all these losses, BMTC is now having to look at newer and newer avenues, though in the process they may be deviating totally from their original mandate. The increased contract services for schools and IT sector companies, etc are a part of all that. In addition now are the grandiose schemes of building the so-called TTMC's, again through a totally non-transparent process, with the main object of earning revenues through lease to Big Bazaar, etc, but camouflaged as passenger amenities. All that it is typically resulting in is a bus from J P Nagar, instead of going straight to Majestic via the Minerva circle, being routed through the K H road TTMC in order to provide more custom to Big Bazar, but in the process causing delay and resultant hardship to the passenger. In the very first place, BMTC's rights over these huge chunks of valuable real estate in the heart of the city are themselves questionable. To add to that, is the matter of taking BBMP's permission for constructing them, and paying of property taxes, which have been conveniently ignored.

Before the Vayu Vajra services started, the BMTC was already operating about 50 VOLVO buses on 10 different routes. With close to Rs 1 crore investment on each bus, and proportionately costly spare parts, added to their own natural public sector operational inefficiencies, the services were incurring huge losses. Under the circumstances, the only reason they took up the Vayu Vajra services, was to thwart the entry of the private sector, which they realised if allowed to gain a foot-hold, will eventually prove their nemesis, unless they learn to compete. But, competition will mean the undermining of the many long existing vested interests, and the babudom involved is desperate to protect them. The politician, being new, has either not realised this, or has been co-opted by the babudom, as in the earlier dispensation.

The scenario is as straight-forward as that, and the challenge before the public, particularly the civil society, is to have this whole monopoly regime dismantled. After all, what government should be bothered about is providing a fair deal to the common man, and not the survival of a public sector undertaking at the cost of the common man. And, if they can compete, they can not only survive, but even flourish.

(Also Related - this poll

Muralidhar Rao

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murali772's picture

the provocation

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This blog was provoked by a string of postings on the subject in the Hasiru Usiru Yahoogroup, starting with the following by NJ, under the caption 'Carrying capacity of a capitalist society'.

While waiting at the bus stand, I recently experienced some of the resentment commonly voiced against the 'greater mortals' - the IT folk! Half an hour had passed without a single bus stopping by as the numbers of the waiting lot multiplied. Public buses were plenty but they were all ferrying the folks from Infosys, Wipro, etc. Should public property be used to serve private companies?

For the comfort of a miniscule percentage of Bangaloreans travelling by air, trees have been massacred, roads widened and special AC buses pressed into service. The pricing is so exorbitant that no ordinary commuter can afford it. As a result these vayu vajras and suvarnas run mostly empty or occupied to not more than five per cent capacity.

But what else can you expect in the new capitalist India? Truly, there is no value for life here, specially if you happen to be poor.

 

SI responded with:

I am not able to enter into the sentiments of this email. I do sympathize with the fact that there is a shortage of buses and that the frequency is poor, but if Infosys and Wipro did not provide buses, all those people would be in cars and the situation on the road would be much worse!

Also, by this logic, if I can afford to not travel by bus, I should not take them so as to leave them free for the greater public. Isn't this against wider usage of public transport?

The real answer of course is more buses, better frequency, generally improving the standard of bussing in the city so that more people are motivated to take them.
The villains in this case seem to me to be the administration more than the IT folk travelling in buses.



KRC added:

The real question is this: were these buses BMTC buses leased to companies or their own chartered buses? While employees travelling in a company bus rather than taking out their car is a good thing, it is also valid to question whether it makes sense for BMTC, which is not able to provide good frequency to its existing customers - the larger public, to lease out its precious vehicles to private parties.

If the BMTC stops providing these buses to companies, they will definitely find other bus-owners to fill the shortage. The same cannot be said of the regular commuters, who have no choice but to use whatever shoddy service the BMTC extends to them.



SS added:

Coming to the problem that BMTC buses are given to Infosys and common people are suffering because of this. Let me as "what is wrong with it?" If you dont know, every infosys employee pays close to 1500 Rs for using company bus. In a route there will be a minimum of 50 people to use the bus service. So total Rs 75000 for 20 days service being paid to BMTC. That means Infosys is paying close to 5000Rs per day per bus, for 8 hour service (morning 4 hours and evening 4 hours). If I have to draw an analogy its similar to many people taking KSRTC bus on one day lease basis for marriage or any other reasons. So its just that Infosys is taking service from BMTC and its paying more than the actual cost. So this deal is actually a profit maker for BMTC and no where its like 'BMTC is compromising on public money to serve a small group of people".

Secondly, Infosys employees are just like anybody else who need transport to go to regular work. So its like all employees do a kind of 'car pool' (rather bus pool here) and take BMTC's service. So they avoid more vehicles on the road and avoid traffic jams.

Thirdly, if not BMTC buses, infosys could have hired buses from private vendors, and in that case all the above said profit would have gone to private bodies and not to a public body like BMTC. And there is no point in arguing that BMTC should not go for profit and just it should keep serving common people. Because unless the public company is making profit, it can not serve people properly.

Now the question is, isnt it BMTCs obligation to use this profit and make sure that the common people are not suffered because of this? Just with few months profit from these deals, BMTC could easily buy new buses. Then why isnt it doing so? How many of those people standing in bus stop, waiting for the bus have raised a complaint with BMTC authorities saying 'there is no frequency of buses in this route?'

Well, Its unfortunate that we have to fight here for each of our right. But now it is unavoidable. People have to fight for the right. But the only thing to note is, our efforts should be in proper direction!



AP wrote:

In April 2005 when few of us gathered to protest against chopping of trees opposite Bishop Cottons Boys School the handful of traffic police who wanted the trees to be chopped said they are supporting widening of the trees because of the hell they experience when the school reopens. One of the Sub Inspectors said many attempts made with the school management to make use of BMTC buses for the kids, instead of parents dropping kids by cars have yielded no results. Many of us felt (and still feel) that this was a good idea. Today the school bus scheme of BMTC is a success and schools wants more buses. Before the schools used BMTC, it was some of the IT companies who used these buses to a great extent and cut down private vehicles at the same time providing a safe mode of commuting to the employees. Then, the state run HAL, BEML, et al too followed suit. Absolutely nothing wrong with this practise.

BMTCs inefficiency in covering most parts of the city is due to lack of any study in passenger traffic while running buses on certain routes. Buses are made to ply on routes that are existing for more than two decades with no flexibility to alter the routes. For e.g., if I have to reach MG Road from Basavanagudi, I have to take buses that showcase Wilson Garden. The grid wise movement which has been talked about for long should be put into use. The existing fleet, though not sufficient to meet the needs of the entire city, can still be more efficiently put to use.

As far as the opinion of Ms.N is concerned, she is right when she says the Government is spending too much to meet the needs of small percentage of the city accessing BIAL. Had the Govt planned in advance, a better and a cheaper link to BIAL would be been in place by making use of the existing rail link. This is an option which could still be considered and implemented in a few months' time.

But her frustration against a particular sector makes no sense.

 

Muralidhar Rao
tsubba's picture

this will take a de

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thanks sir, for all bringing out all these angles. need some more time with it.

confirms my earlier suspicion that big bazaar could be a big distraction.

Rithesh's picture

Will private players really make a difference?

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Murali Sir, before I start – I am strong believer in market regulated economy. But I have my reservations with what you are proposing.

My basic apprehension - when we have not been able to influence or change the behavior of a public sector utility (BMTC) on how it should operate, how can we be so confident that we can achieve this with private players. Private players are profit oriented – and that is how they should be. Considering that, if the field was open to private players, they would no doubt concentrate only on profitable routes and completely ignore the non profitable ones. You could say that we could have contracts which will ensure that they also operate in non-profitable routes. But then we know the history of enforcement of such contracts in our country. Consider the case of Delhi bus system (which to an extent is partially privatized). The private players in an effort to get more passengers driver recklessly between stops putting at risk the lives of other road users and pedestrians - just one of the drawbacks of private players.

Again when you bring in privatization we can’t expect the Tatas or the Infosyss or the Wipros of the world to come in and operate these services. It will be players like the SRS or National Travels. Looking at the way they operate currently (rash and reckless) they will turn the roads into death zones.

The best way forward would be to completely revamp the operations of BMTC. They should be forced to change their mind sets. As Mr Gaurav Gupta mentioned (in the BMLTA meeting) that they are too afraid to experiment with change – they feel that they will lose their customer base (I don’t understand to whom they will lose!!). The way I see it – Bangalore has just grown too big for the current bus model and BMTC is equally confused on how to go forward. This is where I see the role of private organizations. The planning should be outsourced to private players (or even the academia) and BMTC should be the implementer. The TTMCs with commercial space (other than parking areas/towers) is a bad idea, unless there are enough checks to ensure transparency and that money generated is actually ploughed back into the system.

Rithesh

Prajasevaka :)

murali772's picture

Ramanige' Sita yaaru?

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Swami

Ramayana ella mugida maele', Sita, Ramanige' yaaru-ntha kaeltha iddiralla?

I suggest you read my blog http://bangalore.praja.in... thoroughly, particularly the policy listings.

Please also read
http://www.praja.in/banga...

Delhi's Blueline, and Bangalore's National Travels types are the result of the 'license-permit raaj'. And, that's why the policy needs to be revised to facilitate the entry of image-conscious Corporates like TVS and TATAs.

Yes - private players are profit oriented, and therefore will not operate on uneconomical routes. But, in such a high demand situation, why do routes have to become uneconomical. They become that way only because of government imposing an uneconomical fare regime. If you allow the operators the freedom to charge according to their discretion, market forces will bring about the necessary checks, and in addition you you will have reliable services.

Today, if you take a flight to Mumbai from Bengaluru, the lowest charge is Rs 4,800/-. But, the lowest charge for a flight to Kozhikode, which is less than half the distance, is Rs 7,250/- (I just checked with Yatra. com). And, why not? Likewise, the bus fare from Koramangala to Majestic (through the densest areas) may become say Rs 15/-, and travel for the same distance on the ring route (assuming movement is relatively faster there) may be Rs 10/-. Again, why not? And, when more players come in, the rates may drop. Cut throat competition can be avoided by regulation, where essential. Besides, the image conscious players will go about attracting custom in more sophisticated ways.

Having worked with BMTC very closely (as the co-Chairman of their CCTF), and having managed businesses hands-on, I can tell you with a fair amount of authority that the best remedy for sloppiness is competition. Granted that's not the only remedy, but that's what produces results fastest.

Artha aaithaa?

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
ramesh_mbabu's picture

Approach to regulation of Infrastructure

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Some gyan by Planning commission on regulatory framework http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/infra_reglawl.pdf

Rithesh's picture

Your example is the basic problem!!!

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Murali sir, please read my post in totality. You seam to be missing the main theme of the post.

Without getting into ramayana, mahabaratha and uncle aunty antics let me restate my argument -
"when we have not been able to influence or change the behavior of a public sector utility (BMTC) on how it should operate, how can we be so confident that we can achieve this with private players"

I am amazed at your confidence that the so called "image-conscious" companies will solve our problems. In the first place i doubt how many of these "image-conscious" companies will even agree to get involved in this. When these companies didn't even come forward to participate in the airport bidding sometime back (I am sure you know how many companies actually participated in the Bangalore airport bidding process), how do you expect them to get involved in this messy business of bus transport. I am sure you are also aware of the mess that BIAL is in (if you were to believe all the rumors doing the rounds) - that when some of the "globally" image conscious companies are backing it. I am not blaming the private sector for this. The problem is with our enforcement track record.

City public transport is an essential service and not something that can be offered only if profitable - something bound to happen if you leave it to private players. To compare the city bus fairs with the air tickets is like - i have no words for that. The example that you have stated is exactly the problem - in less frequently used roads, people will be force to shell out more money - its not that only people siting in AC rooms and with cars who use these buses, you got to remember that even daily wage workers use them. You will throw affordability out of the window when we start applying "market regulated" theory to every possible thing under the sun.

It is one thing to quote and use text book economics - but with the complex environment (enforcement, economic conditions of people using these services, etc etc) privatizing the whole local transport will be a disaster.

Lets try to tame a gentle lazy elephant, there is not point bringing in cunning hyenas to kill it. I have no prior exerience co-chairing committee, but common sense is what that guides me.

Privatization kanadaka swalpa side nalli ettu.. hage bari kaNinalli ondu sari nodi sir :)

Rithesh
Prajasevaka :)
silkboard's picture

Some other points

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Tata, or Bajaj (they said on Rohini Nilekani's NDTV program recently that they'd be interested to run city transport if allowed) don't have any experience running city transport services. We know of them as vehicle manufacturers. When it comes to operating buses, we have to look beyond manufacturers to people like Raj National express.
 
Having public sector companies themselves fight with each other could be a good first step to see if its competition or privatization that helps. How about BEST and BMTC fighting it out in Mumbai as well as Bangalore?
 
Regulatory framework is a big first step. That can;t be privatized. But yes, if private players are in, they will do a good job on driving regulators. We citizens are either too cowards or busy in our own worlds to drive anything, let alone realize the importance of City transport regulatory framework. I am just being real and not critical, in fact self-reflecting as well.
 
Private players may go all out after high end first, unless telecom like arrangement forces them to invest towards low end or remote-area services as well. Only saying that this too would require a well thought out regulatory arrangement.
 
Last, if private players really saw big opportunities here, wouldn't they be lobbying to get this done. why is it the only select few citizens are pushing for this. They probably don't yet see this is a big or profitable market. You read so much about CII etc demanding reforms in financial services market, insurance sector, energy sector etc. Why is it that we don't hear much about urban transportation market - its such a widely visible (nobody can miss the stinking situation in our big cities) problem, why are they not so interested? got to be some line of thinking that we have to fight first.
 
Murali sir - not saying not to your privatization talk, but trying to refine the mesasge and disclaimers. I know you have given all this a lot of thought.
 
Wish we all can collect some money, and sponsor a project on this subject in a good university or a management school. 
murali772's picture

cabinet decides

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Amongst the cabinet decisions taken yesterday (source: TOI):

To permit BMTC to raise loans up to Rs 250 crore for current fiscal for implementation of Traffic Transit Management System; Rs 3,000 crore sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission by Centre. The Centre will fund 35%, Karnataka government 15% and the remaining 50% to be borne by the department concerned.

So, the TTMCs, and possibly the 43 storeyed monstrosity at Majestic are all happening, after all.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Praja-sevakare'

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I had been meaning to respond to your post from long. Got caught with other things, and it escaped my mind. Well, here's the response, finally.

Private sector is profit oriented. Profits will come from higher ridership, which will result out of customer orientation. In order that they don't go overboard, and target 'profiteering', we should have effective regulation.

People working for government organisations do not care a damn about such things, since they will get their salaries whether they work or not. And, that exactly is the outlook of the BMTC/ KSRTC lot.

Image conscious companies' re-entry (mind you - TVS used to be in bus services before) has to be facilitated. Public bus transport services is too vital an infrastructure area not to have their expertise. That BIAL turned out a fiasco doesn't mean the end of PPPs. There has to be proper regulation, for which BMLTA is already in place. In the case of Civil Aviation, there's no regulatory authority yet, and the talk going around is that Mr Praful Patel used the opportunity to make money for his 'party'. TATAs apparently refused to play ball, and pulled out.

Are the people in the far-flung areas any better of today? If you open out to competition, entrepreneurs will come forward to meet the demand. That's exactly the position in Mangalore, Udipi, and other districts, as also in cities like Kochi. The problem there is over regulation, and wrong kind of regulation - legacies of the 'license-permit raaj'. With the right kind of regulation, every thing will fall in place, and the monthly transport bill of an average family can drop by as much as 50%, or even higher.

These are simple straight forward economics. It's the pseudo Socialists who have complicated it all.

Like I have already stated, public bus transport services is too vital an infrastructure area to be left in the hands of incompetent government agencies like BMTC/ KSRTC.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

SB - and, now to respond to you

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Neither did Reliance have any previous experience when it took over BSES, the Mumbai power distribution company. Within days, they pulled out good people from NTPC, MSEB, etc, and got the show going, These are not constraints for the private sector. I am surprised you even brought it up.

'Raj National' types will fall by the way-side, when faced with the right kind of competition, if they don't improve their ways.

Yes - good regulation is called for, and in order to be effective, the government has eventually to ease itself out of being a player simultaneously.

I don't think the push for allowing of entry into public bus transport services is going to come from business houses. They will find business opportunities whichever way the government policy gets directed. Since it is currently in favour of private vehicles, they are all making merry producing them. If the policy changes, they will also re-orient themselves. It is the government's job to direct policy keeping in mind the 3 E's, as an economist had very correctly put it - economy, equity, environment. And, it is for the civil society to demand it.

Muralidhar Rao

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

getting over mindsets?

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Ignoring a government order on fares for stage carriages, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has altered fare stages to suit its convenience, exceeding the prescribed maximum fare per stage four times over.

The Hindu obtained fare stages of seven routes as a test case from BMTC and found that not only had stages been shortened, but also instead of a 60 paise increase for every subsequent stage after the first stage, the Corporation has increased Rs. 2 for the next three stages and Re. 1 for the subsequent stages. Commuters are forced cough up almost Re. 1 for every km, the fare fixed for Volvo services by the Government.

For the full report in The Hindu, click here

This was posted by a member on the Hasiru Usiru Y-group, leading to the comments like "BMTC tweaks fare stages to fleece commuters", "so this is how the Volvos are being subsidised by the BMTC and now the bus day users are enjoying the benefits - the people who use Atal Sarige if they also pay according to this are the worst losers", etc, normally expected from the members of this particular group. But, what surprised me was the comment "I feel if this needs to go, only way is ending of bmtc monopoly" from one member. Do I need to add, I endorsed it wholeheartedly :))).

Well, whatever, that members of groups like HU are beginning to talk this language, gives rise to hope. But, the sad part, on the other hand, is that we here continue with our ifs & buts.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

public back-lash inevitable

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I thought the following comment, by RS in the course of a mail exchange in a certain forum, merited mention here:

Somewhere along the line, I am foresseing a large conflict that is arising out of BMTC leasing out buses to ORRCA, ELCIA / WIPRO BTP  JF etc, not to mention international schools and others. I was looking through some form 3 and form 4 yesterday of Marco polo and Volvo services and peak time routes are being plucked out and run as half empty buses for IT and ITES companies schools etc. Personally, as a bus user, I find this not acceptable and me raising this here is also not going to find me friends. This is not going to be sustainable and there will be a public Back Lash.

The demand for bus services of all types is already huge, and with the inevitable restrictions on car usage, it is set to grow at a tremendous pace. In such a scenario, retaining it as a government monopoly is nothing short of criminal. The answer plainly lies here.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture

Bus lease to ORRCA etc.

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I have been thinking of writing this recently but did not get around it.  Let me begin the backlash officially here. I resent the fact that BMTC leases out buses to ORRCA, AMD, JF, etc.etc. during peak hours while the rest are packed like sardines in the bus.  I further resent the fact that most of these leased out buses are procured through JNNURM funds... or in other words, tax payer money

Here is the story behind this that illustrates the story fully.  Recently, I woke up late and missed my office )non bmtc) bus.  So I decided to take BMTC to work and showed up at the bus stop.  At my stop (which is like on the BMTC volvo trunk line), some 40 people were waiting for buses.  We waited, and waited.  Some call taxi cabs, vans etc. came by and some people, tired of waiting, took that option.  Eventually, 2 volvos arrives, one airport road bound and another ring road bound.  I jumped into the ring road bus and was surprised to find no seat.  Normally, I always get a seat at my stop.  At the subsequent stops, a sea of humanity surged into the bus.

As I stood in the jam packed bus, I was counting the buses passing by on the road.  There were buses passing by in both directions leased for company use- I counted 12 and all of them were less than half full.

Wednesday evening, around 5:30pm, I was waiting at Kundalahalli gate signal.  Two buses went by, one behind the other. One was a sardine can full of passengers, and another, a leased bus with maybe 8 people in it.

So, do I need to state the obvious.  Why is tax payer funding buses for BMTC so that some tax payers who work for select companies are able to travel limo style while the rest stuff themselves into the remainign buses? And have to wait for long durations for the buses to show up.

murali772's picture

San Francisco comparison

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Same scenario in San Francisco (check this).

But, the important difference is that, whereas in Namma Bengaluru, it is the government-owned BMTC that is providing its buses for the commute of the 'elite' lot (while depriving the aam aadmi of his services), in SF, it is the private operator that is providing them.

In the SF example, however, I expect the whole fleets of buses are generally idling for close to 18 hrs in a 24-hr cycle, amounting to a huge under-utilisation of capital.

All in all, therefore, the simplest and most cost-effective solution (at least for Namma Bengaluru) would be to licence private operators to provide the elite services to the entire city population, the routings and frequencies being decided more by their estimates of demand, and the fare and even the other aspects overseen by a well-constituted regulatory body. Eventually, the private operators could come into the 'aam aadmi' services also, since, when operated efficiently, there definitely is money there too.

For all that, in the first place, the government has to be made to dismantle its monopoly - let's demand that.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

a strong case for a PIL

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In stark contrast to splurging on real estate, BMTC has spent a little over Rs 150 crore during the same period to procure new buses. In the last two years, not a single bus has been added to the fleet catering to the lower strata of the population. Only high-end Volvos have been procured.
 
- - - Transport minister R Ashoka came out strongly in support of BMTC. “We have purchased more Volvos of late as 90 per cent of BMTC’s buses were ordinary buses. We make profits only from high-end buses and long route buses. The ordinary buses incur a loss of 20 per cent every year.”


For the full report in the Bangalore Mirror, click here

Fine, Mr Minister. But, in pursuit of profits, if you are going to short change the aam aadmi, then you can't continue to enjoy a monopoly too. Why don't you allow the private sector to cater to the needs of the aam aadmi? A strong case arises here for a PIL.

Meanwhile, all those who wish to add their signatures to the online petition, may do so by clicking here.

Muralidhar Rao
abidpqa's picture

When BJP came to power they

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When BJP came to power they introduced Atal Sarige. Now minister is saying only Volvo is profitable. Afterall they are right wing party, so that is expected.

Volvo bus ticket cost around double, and the bus itselt cost more than double the non-ac buses, then how only Volvo is profitable.  Is this something to do with lobbying?Whichever operators are running buses, pvt or public, it all depends on the govt  will. In Kerala, Chennai, public services are doing good job, even in Bangalore, bus services were good say 10 years before. Maybe because of confusion in sorting out priorities in high growth city. There is certainly relation between neglect of non-ac buses and CRS.

There is really need to have more non-ac buses because there are many problems with suspension and other systems in old buses which cannot be or are not repaired.  Other day, I was traveling in a bus in which exhaust was coming into the bus. The old buses will also reduce driver comfort levels also.

abidpqa's picture

Is this the way to make Vajra

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Is this the way to make Vajra services viable?

"At a time when most of the ordinary BMTC buses do the vanishing act during the crew shift change — between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. — these swanky air-conditioned buses take their place. "

No buses between 7 and 8 and also favoring Volvo, both in this report

Sanjeev's picture

Is this the way to make Vajra services viable?

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With no ordinary buses in sight, commuters forced to board expensive, air-conditioned coaches

With the Vajra (Volvo) fleet of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation continuing to remain white elephants, BMTC appears to have invented a new method of making them earn more — to operate these higher ticketed services in lieu of ordinary buses.

At a time when most of the ordinary BMTC buses do the vanishing act during the crew shift change — between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. — these swanky air-conditioned buses take their place.

BMTC has about 700 air-conditioned coaches, some 600 Volvo and 100 Marco Polo (Tata) in its 6,000-strong fleet. While the earning per km of these buses was about Rs. 53 during December last, the cost of operation per km was about Rs. 57, according to BMTC sources.

Dedicated bay

Though Vajra buses have been given a dedicated departure bay at the Kempe Gowda Bus Station (Majestic), it is common to see them occupying bays meant for ordinary services during crew shift change. About a year ago, Vajra buses were given Bay 1 at KBS so as to serve dedicated customers and to prevent them occupying the platforms for too long during off-peak hours.

Kempanna, who was waiting for an ordinary bus for Attibele at KBS in the afternoon, said he did not see a single Attibele-bound one for almost half an hour. At the same time, he saw at least three Vajra buses going towards Attibele and Electronics City.

Fed up with long wait, some of the commuters boarded the Varja buses, he said, and added that he could not afford the fare.

Similar was the story of Girijamma, who was waiting for a bus to Kadugodi at KBS. “Already fares on ordinary services are too high. How can one expect poor people like us to take a Vajra service paying at least five times more?”

Rajashekhar S., a private firm employee, said he had been observing Vajra buses entering bays meant for ordinary services during off-peak hours. This is common particularly on platforms for buses towards Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road and HAL Airport Road, he said.

Asked why he was on platforms meant for ordinary buses, a Vajra driver told The Hindu he had been directed to do so by higher-ups. “We don’t get passengers during this time on the Vajra bay,” he added.

BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parvez said he was not aware of this practice and he would inquire into the matter.

No patronage

A BMTC source said Vajra buses were not patronised by commuters on sectors other than the IT corridor. Even on this sector, Vajra buses ply empty during off-peak hours, the source admitted.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/is-this-the-way-to-make-vajra-services-viable/article4341316.ece

So is how BMTC is profitable  at the cost of Passenger Services.

Even it seems BMTC is cancelling where ever they do not have profitable roots. So  BMTC has very good managment skills in showing profits and ensuring passengers do not get desired services.

Even simple thing in KBS at Majestic facility providing, why BMTC & KSRTC are not  provided roof for the Foot over bridge whcih will  provide shade during summer and cover during rains. 

 

 

 

kbsyed61's picture

Tin Boxes and Red Monsters!

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Courtesy - Citizens Matters

Tin boxes: These are the normal BMTC buses you see, painted light blue and white. They remind me of a Telugu/Tamil term I used a lot during childhood - 'thagara dabba'. Yesterday I saw one bus on Bellary Road; it was so battered and that it almost looked it had just come back from a war zone. The frontside had it metallic frame hanging loose, several nails were missing. End-to-end the bus was full of dents and paint rubs, with bare metal visible all around.

 Red monsters: These are our smart-looking Volvo buses. BMTC uses them for its AC-class Vajra service. They thunder down the ring roads with drivers almost wantonly scattering and scaring people. Most car or two-wheeler drivers are not likely to want to be near an accelerating Volvo on the ring roads. These beasts are far quicker than their size would give away, and in the hands of aggressive BMTC drivers they ride like monsters. The drivers wield these buses like two wheelers sometimes,I feel, braking and accelerating at will, almost. That is why I felt 'red monsters' is apt.

Sanjeev's picture

BMTC hikes AC bus fares, cost of passes

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The impact of diesel price hike on the City’s public transport service is starting to show, with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) hiking the fare of all air-conditioned buses on Saturday night. Fares and cost of daily passes for the Vayu Vajra, Vajra and Suvarna (air conditioned) buses consequently went up.

The Centre on Friday announced a monthly increase in diesel price by 40-50 paise.
With the revision in effect, the rate of Vajra tickets has gone up by Rs 5 after 4 km and Rs 10 after 18 km. For the Survarna AC buses, the fare was hiked by Rs 3 after 4 km and Rs 4 after 12 km. The fare of the Vayu Vajra buses, which ply to Bangalore International Airport, was increased by a minimum of Rs 20. The gold daily pass for the Vayu Vajra buses and the daily pass for the Survarna AC buses will cost Rs 10 more.  

According to BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parwez, the price of monthly passes of all AC buses will also go up by 10 per cent, with effect from February 3. “Ever since the Centre increased the price of high speed diesel by Rs 12.07 per litre on January 18, there has been a cascading effect on the prices of tyres, tubes, lubricants, assembling, iron and spare parts.

Besides, there was an increase of 4.5 per cent in dearness allowance of all BMTC employees from January 2012, which further burdened the corporation. To reduce the burden, we have increased the fare of AC buses in the City,” he said. The fare of AC buses will not be hiked in the next six months.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/309739/bmtc-hikes-ac-bus-fares.html

Its intresting to see will they  not increase the fares for next 6 months.

So BMTC will make more profits with this type of increase.

 

Whats impact  of Diesel price increase  to operating cost per KM   running of BMTC buses of different types. 

Increase in DA prices : Will the customer base also increasing every day for BMTC.

 State / JNRUM is giving funds,  what happens to that ???  Also increase in commecial revenue thru' rents of TTMC,   or Ads???

Vasanth's picture

Vajra - Pain in the pocket

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Fare increases by BMTC has become everyday affair and the amount of hike is too much.

Vajra, there is rounding of 10 rupees. As an example , from Kattriguppe to Marathalli Bridge where I commute it was 50 rupees last month, it increased to 60 rupees till Friday and now it is whooping 65 rupees. Should a passenger pay 10 rupees for 50 paise - 1 rupee increase in Diesel?

There is less frequency due to outsourcing and buses are damn crowded. I felt it is enough of travelling in Vajra and stick to office shuttle timings.

murali772's picture

trying every trick up its sleeve

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Ignoring a government order on fares for stage carriages, the BMTC has altered fare stages to suit its convenience, exceeding the prescribed maximum fare per stage four times over.

- - - - The Government has fixed 2 km as fare stage for city bus services. M.S. Jagannathan and C. Ramachandra Reddy, senior citizens from Marathahalli, who have regularly been following the fare hikes, say that BMTC fares are the highest in the country, which come almost to Re. 1 a km. This fare is 10 paise more than the fare fixed for hi-tech services (90 paise per km) by the same Government notification. During the last 11 years, the fares were increased 11 times. Mr. Jagannathan noted that most of the fare stages of BMTC cover a distance of less than 1.5 km.

- - - - The Hindu obtained fare stages of seven routes as a test case from BMTC and found that not only had stages been shortened, but also instead of a 60 paise increase for every subsequent stage after the first stage, the Corporation has increased Rs. 2 for the next three stages and Re. 1 for the subsequent stages. Commuters are forced cough up almost Re. 1 for every km, the fare fixed for Volvo services by the Government.


For the full report in The Hindu, click here.

Looks like the BMTC will try every trick up its sleeve to increase profitability. That's what the private sector is always pilloried about. But, they have to content with competition. BMTC alone has the privilege of profiteering using its monopoly status. How long do we tolerate this? The simple answer - effective competition - check here.

Muralidhar Rao
Sanjeev's picture

When the BMTC took citizens for a ride

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Citizens, if you are among those that do not believe in air shows, and are better off attending to host of prior commitments this Sunday, then, be forewarned, simply defer it.

Either, if not so urgent, and possible, you would be better off to just postpone it to the next weekend or if still inevitable and absolutely necessary to attend to this Sunday, then be prepared for a costly BMTC surprise. Of course, the show-goers headed to the Air Force Base, Yelahanka, having bought the tickets, have no choice but to bear the BMTC’s brunt to the full.

Cashing in on the crowd-pull factor of the Aero India show, the public transporter, which has taken to running a battery of buses styled ‘Aero India Show Specials,’ has greedily turned it into a cash milking cow for the organisation.

This is utterly and unjustly impervious to the fact that it is fleecing gullible people by heftily rising bus fares. Even if one were to condone this greedy act of the corporation, what, however, drives the final nail in already fleeced unsuspecting commuters is that none of the passes they have procured is valid for travel on these so called ‘specials.’

While the BMTC’s idea of suddenly hiking the cost of travel for these two days may be to ensure that its buses are not perilously jampacked, putting the lives of the commuters in danger on the busy highway, fleecing them and taking them for a costly ride was not only unwarranted, but also unjustifiable.

More so, when BMTC discouraged those already baked in the scorching sun from boarding the bus, even if they have passes. Only the wise men of the corporation can tell what’s so special about these buses on these two days.

Even regular commuters found it strange that the BMTC doubled its fares on the route, to various destinations, and they were caught unawares with the rather rude and tough talking drivers and conductors insisting either the commuters simply debus and prolong their wait or cough up that extra sum.

What was even more intriguing was BMTC buses with normal fares, which for the first three days of the air show were aplenty and running by the dozens, seemed to have just vanished into thin air on Saturday. Not only did this blatant unfair act of the corporation lead to frayed tempers among the travellers, it also stopped short of fisticuffs and physical action.

With none of the buses nor its operators — driver and conductors — giving any proof that the fares have been changed and orders passed to that effect, it was either pay up or trek all the way back to the next possible point where normal fare buses would be available.

So, as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Yes, citizen commuters, it’s your call now.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/311085/when-bmtc-took-citizens-ride.html

Effectively BMTC enchashing  the time  and using IT hand held Machines.

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Making hay...? Or trying to make up the loss in running Volvos?

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Dear friends,

Long time; please have a look at the following praja links that gives enough food for thought on stratified services by our monopolistic public transport service provider. 

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

http://praja.in/en/blog/vasanthkumar-mysoremath/2009/07/26/stratified-bmtc-service-making-profits-with-deficient-servic

Prajas have recorded everything under the sun with reg to BMTC.

 

Vasanth Mysoremath

 

 

rackstar's picture

10 rs diesel hike

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It is for normal diesel users only 50 paisa hike per month. But bulk buyers the hike is already 10rs including BMTC and railways. They are paying 10rs more than normal diesel car owner.

Business oriented look is fine if there is competition.Things shold ease out when competition comes from metro. But some migrants oppose bmtc just because it employs mostly kannadigas.

Vasanth's picture

It was not this bad earlier

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101 users have liked.

BMTC was not this bad earlier. Offlate since past 6 months, they have worsened. Outsourcing of buses plus very high fares making people to think twice before taking BMTC. Auto fare is closer and equivalent to Volvos and Marcopolos if travelling alone, and cheaper than Ordinary bus if two plus is travelling even providing last mile.

Worst is the rounding to nearest 5 rupees in the fare of Vajra and Marcopolo. Every 50 paise increase in diesel prices, 5 rupees increase in bus fare.

When city like Bangalore is suffering from severe traffic problems, efficient and cost effective transportation is the need of the hour. If state run corporations become profit oriented like this, it will further ruin the city.

 

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

KSRTC bags Apollo-CV Award for Mysore ITS- Reality check

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http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-08/bangalore/36215929_1_award-event-traffic-congestion-bags

"Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bagged the Apollo-CV awards as the best public fleet operator of the year 2013 for its innovative project of Intelligence Transport System (ITS) implemented at Mysore recently. KSRTC competed with 500 participants to win the award".

 

I T S in Mysore city buses:
 
 
In Mysore, for the past many months, I am sick of reading these running scrolls on the ITS screens inside worn out city/mofusil buses  and in other volvo/marcopolo/mercedes buses:
 
 
/ರಾಜ್ಯ ರಸ್ತೆ ಸಾರಿಗೆ ನಿಗಮಕ್ಕೆ ನಿಮಗೆ ಸ್ವಾಗತ/
 
/ಟಿಕೆಟನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿ ಪಡೆಯಿರಿ/
 
/ಕಳ್ಳರಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಚ್ಚರಿಕೆ/ (in the central city bus stand itself, a chain snatching took place).
 
and such other (silly meaningless) messages
 
 
 
Candid remarks from Conductors - KSRTC has paid the ITS installer Rs.1.6 lakhs per bus. 
 
I asked a few conductors whether they were happy with ITS... answers ...
 
'ಹೇಳವ್ರು, ಕೇಳವ್ರು ಯಾರಾದ್ರೂ ಇದ್ದಾರ?  ಹುಚ್ಚು ಹೆಂಗಸಿನ ಮದುವೇಲಿ ಉಂಡವನೇ ಜಾಣ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ...'
'ನಾವೇನ್ ಸತ್ತು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆವಾ? ನಾವು ಕೂಗ್ತಾನೆ ಇರ್ತೀವಿ... ಇಂಥಾ ಸ್ಟಾಪ್ ಬಂತು ಅಂತಾ...'
 
 
 
Another instance of inept ITS:
 
An elderly couple wanted to go to a hospital and got into the right bus.  The ITS was working but the recording was that of another route.  After a few minutes, ITS announcement . ...ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮುಂದಿನ ನಿಲ್ದಾಣ ಸಿದ್ದಪ್ಪ ಸ್ಕ್ವೇರ್.  The elderly couple started shouting...ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಬಸ್ ನಿಲ್ಸಿ...ನಾವು ಹೋಗಬೆಕಾಗಿರೊದು ಜೆ.ಎಸ್.ಎಸ್. ಆಸ್ಪತ್ರೆಗೆ...they knew that siddappa square stop was too far away from hospital bus stop.  Wrong announcement had given them some anxious moments ... announcement was wrong. Similarly, many mofusil buses possess the screen but their control panels have not been activated or the crew do not have requisite training or the recorded messages have not been properly loaded.  Buses keep changing their route schedules to suit the needs of buses on different routes.  Identified buses are not run on identified routes. 
 
 
Some new type low floor buses are  long but some circles in Mysore city have small radius.  To negotiate the circle, the driver has to reverse twice.  After protest from Drivers, such buses that could not negotiate were later withdrawn and smaller buses were pressed. 
 
 
Many Volvo buses have started rattling since Mysore city roads are notorious for their pot holes especially in extensions.  Many buses are frequently grounded for either repairs or replacements of expensive parts by the company technicians (KSRTC is still training staff for fulfildged trained group of mechanics for Volvo and other hi-end buses).  Some Volvo routes are making profit and compensating the loss-making routes. Three ordinary buses can be purchased at the cost of one volvo that caters to a class of commuters.  The social obligation of providing quick, clean, safe, secure and economical transport system for majority of the ordinary bus commuters is given second preference.
 
 
Monthly Bus Days were observed during 2011-12 to attract more number of people to use City Service and stop using their own vehicles to reduce pollution in the city, less consumption of scarce fuel.  On each bus day, they would announce that more buses would be run on identified routes. (cleverly withdrawing some buses from some other routes that generate less revenue).  A press conference... blah, blah, blah.  But commuters had to wait for that elusive bus that would come according to its own schedule to intermediary stops sans bus shelters.  
 
 
TTMCs - Huge concrete monsterous buildings have been constructed in different extensions in the name of providing facilities and amenities to city commuters with the JnNURM funding. Classic case of a service provider indulging in Real estate business.  Buses do not run on buildings.  
 
 
Karnataka had the distinction(?) of having utilised 100 per cent funding from JnNURM for providing transport facilities.  But the money was spent on construction activities rather than providing  safe, secure, clean, economical and sustainable transport arrangement for commuters.  They are travelling because they want to reach their work places on time and get back home early; they are not for picnic at TTMCs or for paani puri in one of the food courts in those posh places.
 
 
I hope I have made my points clear.  
 
 
When will they ever learn?
 
 
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath  


 

 

Vasanth's picture

ITS is indeed very good

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Mr. Mysoremath, I had first hand experience of ITS Mysore. I also validated the data of arrival and departure. It is indeed a very good system. Buses are very cheap in Mysore compared to BMTC and for that cost, we are getting world class ITS system.

Display inside the buses about the bus stops are also present in Bangalore and it is of not much use unlike ITS. People always have a complain galore..

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

....knows where the shoe pinches

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Praja came into existence because people had complaints galore and found a platform like that of Hyde Park of London.  Look at how people's complaints have taken Praja to such heights.

 

Just watching the ITS board for a few minutes does not validate a service on which crores have been splurged.  One need to wait for a city bus in Bhogaadi or Ramakrishna Nagara to feel the heat on their head due to absence of shelters and delayed services.  One has to witness 2/3 buses coming together or one bus not bothering to stop at designated stops to validate ITS service.

 

Why there are more Volvos to Chamundi Betta than ordinary buses?  Making it compulsory for aam aadmi to use that service because he has his own time and energy constraints.

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

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