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Poor show by BMTC drivers

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BusPublic Transport

Despite many efforts and initiatives to improve driving skills of drivers of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), results have not matched the expectations. According to data available, this year (till December) 82 people have died in various accidents involving BMTC buses.The number of deaths recorded last year was also 82.

The BMTC, which has been under fire from various quarters for accidents caused by buses, has introduced a number of measures to improve driving skills of its drivers. From bringing in faculty of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, to conduct educative counselling sessions and introducing serene hobbies such as yoga sessions, the BMTC took many initiatives to bring down the number of accidents on roads.

Additional Commissioner (Traffic) Praveen Sood accepted that there has been no significant change in the number of accidents after training, though, he added "The accidents are caused due to a number factors such as human factor and condition of the road".


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

The major complaint against Blueline services in Delhi, as also the bus services in cities like Kochi and Mangalore (operated by private sector players), has also been rash driving, largely. A comparison of the record of the lot against BMTC's record on this factor, would make an interesting study.

On questions of frequency, affordability, connectivity provided, cleanliness, etc, I would rate the Mangalore and Kochi services (with which I am familiar), fairly good (I can't say that about BMTC, though). And, I am sure, if unnecessary controls on them are removed, and their operations facilitated, just by providing a level playing field even, they will measure up to meet the rising demands, which government monopolies can never hope to satisfy by themselves. For more on that, click here.

Now, even as the above report paints a rather gloomy picture, what is shocking is the continuance in service of a driver, who reportedly was suffering from fits, and had even tendered his resignation on account of that. But, apparently, the BMTC officials ignored it, and continued him in service. The relevant excerpts from the New Indian Express report reads as below (the full report may be accessed here):

A conductor of a BMTC bus died after the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a shop in Jayanagar on Thursday morning. The driver lost the control near Vaishali Circle and crossed the footpath before hitting a shop. The police said no passengers were present during the incident. The driver, who suffers from fits, had recently tendered his resignation.

Rather bizarre goings on!

Muralidhar Rao

 

Comments

imran_huq17's picture

Accident by BMTC Driver....

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The Accident pointed out by Murali sir hapenned near my house about 100 meters away.Fortunately it happened early in the morning or else many more people would have lost life.This place is just next to the crowded Ahmed Bazar in Jayanagar 9th block  .

The shutters were completely  smashed and the bus entered almost half inside the shop,that's the impact when the shop was closed and the shutters were down.

BMTC seem to claim that the driver was healthy and had no issues  here....strange.....!!!!!

A few things i wonder about the safety of the BMTC Drivers

How often do they undergo mandatory medical checkup............????

Why not safety seat belt to the bus drivers as well..............????

Other than the driving skills are the given training about the number of lives they are responsible for........????

Are they shown the impact/effects of negligent driving on individuals or society ( I am sure this would definetly help them to be more alert and careful )

Some of the Things which need to be looked for the better comfort for the drivers and conductors would be Radio's  to communicate in case of accidents or repairs of the buses .There must be safety screen for the drivers to prevent distraction from passengers.

recently there was another accident involving school children so i would suggest that to start with atleast the school buses must be fitted with GPRS and CCTV's  which will ensure the safety of the kids.

Regards,

Imran.

sanjayv's picture

Question of incentives

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Driving quality is a function of training, behavior and driving conditions (includes bus maintenance).  Since BMTC is a monopoly, they should not really be competing against other buses.  This competition is a major cause of accidents in private bus service where multiple operators are involved - take the Blue Lines or Private buses in Kochi (or many other routes in rural Kerala even).

However BMTC has the Pushpak buses where a driver issues tickets while also driving the bus.  Those buses are a big example of unsafe driving because you often see drivers issuing tickets and change while driving.  But BMTC has still not phased those out suggesting that they are not serious about safety.   BMTC buses are probably incentivized on the basis of tickets sold and ridership - because you often see buses racing against one other - have seen this even happening especially on Volvo routes on ORR. 

Finally there is the big racket of swindling on change and tickets.  Not sure if that can somehow contribute to unsafe behavior.  Any theories on this? There is also a huge focus on "profitability" of the corporation.  Does this focus impact spending on proper staffing (Pushpak buses) and maintenance?

 

murali772's picture

And, the award goes to - - !!!

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BMTC was awarded the ‘Safety Innovation Award 2010’, organized by the Institution of Engineers, Delhi, on Tuesday. BMTC is the only transport organization within the country to win this award, owing its success to its innovative management systems, which have brought down the accident rate in the city. This involved intensive training of drivers, transparency in the recruitment process, incentives for safe drivers and training on stress relief management.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

But, according to the report cited in the original post in this blog, the training etc hasn't helped much. All the same, they get the award? What is one to make of it all?
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

brake failure - can that be a reason?

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Police said the bus (BMTC - route no 340) was being driven rashly and the driver failed to notice the red signal. However, the bus driver told the police he was unable to slow  down due to brake failure.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Can we accept "brake failure" as a cause in today's world? What does that say about BMTC's maintenance practices? The answer again, as I can see, lies only in healthy competition for BMTC (as also KSRTC) - check this.

PS: There used to be the job title "brake inspector", perhaps in my school days. Is it still there?

Muralidhar Rao
raghunandan85's picture

More details from The

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More details from The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/three-pedestrians-injured-as-bmtc-bus-runs-amok/article4488103.ece

Isnt KSRTC already facing good competition from private operators?


doris raj's picture

BMTC

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Dec Herald reports today ... 'Now you can report reckless BMTC drivers at 'Public Eye' .....'86 people killed in accidents involving BMTC busses in 2012 and to check the increasing no of accidents caused by rash and negligent BMTC bus drivers, the City traffic Police is requesting the Public to report errant drivers at their forum 'Public Eye'....

the article opens a lot of facts which was unknown hitherto such as ... BMTC Chief Transport Officer Nagaraju says there was also "systemic flaw" that forces BMTC bus druivers to overspeed. 'The trip sheet inder which the the drivers operate is outdated.....

and such other facts highlighted in this article

 

Can we blame the drivers  for flaws in the system?

Where are the Prahari Inspection vehicles ? We hardly see them to help commuters and BMTC to operate efficiently and report glaring defects to the Management!

no doubt TrafficPolice' initiatve 'Public Eye' is good but how will BMTC act when there is so much already known  and reported regularly

DorisRaj

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