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types of public bus transport operations

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Definitions extracted from M V Act 1988 (http://www.tn.gov.in/sta/Mvact1988.pdf)

2(7) “contract carriage” means a motor vehicle which carries a passenger or passengers for hire or reward and is engaged under a contract, whether expressed or implied, for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum –
(a) on a time basis, whether or not with reference to any route or distance; or
(b) from one point to another, and in either case, without stopping to pick up or set down passengers not included in the contract anywhere during the journey, and includes –
(i) a maxicab; and
(ii) a motorcab notwithstanding that separate fares are charged for its passengers;

2(22) “maxicab” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers, but not more than twelve passengers, excluding the driver, for hire or reward ;

2(29) “omnibus” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six persons excluding the driver ;

2(40) “stage carriage” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey.


The above I expect should help members to understand the intricacies of licensing.

Now, what Mr K Rajavarma Ballal, Chairman, All India Bus Operators Confederation & President, Karnataka Bus Operators Federation, was referring to during my talk with him (check this), perhaps pertained to the following:

CHAPTER – VI (Special Provisions Relating To State Transport Undertakings)

99. Preparation and publication of proposal regarding road transport service of a State transport undertaking. - 61[(1) Where any State Government is of opinion that for the purpose of providing an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co-ordinated road transport service, it is necessary in the public interest that road transport services in general or any particular class of such service in relation to any area or route or portion thereof should be run and operated by the State transport undertaking, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of other persons or otherwise, the State Government may formulate a proposal regarding a scheme giving particulars of the nature of the services proposed to be rendered, the area or route proposed to be covered and other relevant particulars respecting thereto and shall publish such proposal in the Official Gazette of the State formulating such proposal and in not less than one newspaper in the regional language circulating in the area or route proposed to be covered by such scheme and also in such other manner as the State Government formulating such proposal deem fit.

100 (sub-section-3). Provided that no such scheme which relates to any inter-State route shall be deemed to be an approved scheme unless it has the previous approval of the Central Government.

Namma government is apparently seeking to do away with the stipulation pertaining to the 'approval from the Central government'.

Muralidhar Rao

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murali772's picture

Eureka! - transgression exposed

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The accident involving a Volvo bus that charred 45 people to death (near Mahboobnagar), has brought into focus illegal operations of buses that have a contract carriage licence, but operate as stage carriers. - - Stage carriage buses are the only ones allowed to issue tickets to passengers. Contract carriages, on the other hand, are hired by one single group.

Although the city sees numerous such violations, the state transport department seems helpless in curbing the problem. A senior source in the ministry said, “There are numerous violations and the transport department is acting on it. However, this is difficult because of the lobbying involved.”


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

One should think that was the reason for the accident.

Now, I travel quite often by these buses to Kochi - the regular operators being Kallada, Sharma, SB, KPN, Greyhound, etc. Generally, I take a bus at around 10 PM from Madiwala, and I am in the heart of Kochi by 6 next morning, after a fairly comfortable journey. The charge is around Rs 1200/-, and the entire process of booking the ticket, paying for it (all on-line), boarding the bus, etc are totally smooth (of course, it could be a lot better).

As compared to that, if I were to take a flight, it will entail a spend of a minimum of 6 hrs of your day time, in addition to a minimum of 5 times the bus fare. Getting a booking on a train, on short notice, is a near impossible task even through Tatkal.

But, there is a hitch. All of these operate as "Contract Carriage" services, governmed by the Contract Carriage Act (CCA). This means that they are in violation of the rules (under the Act), if they pick up a passenger from Electronic City, Hosur, Palghat, Trissur, or anywhere enroute, even if there are vacant seats; likewise too, if they drop off a passenger anywhere along the route.

During Diwali and such holiday times, when there is a huge rush (as in the instant Jabbar Travels case), the crew try to make a few extra bucks for themselves by accommodating stray passengers on temporary seating arrangements (generally along the aisle). While it does cause inconvenience to the regular passengers, and loss of income to the operator, in no way can it be seen as a safety issue. But, of course, it is a transgression of CCA.

Leaving aside all of that, the very meaning of "Contract Carriage" is like a marriage party, or a school/ college excursion group, entering into a contract with an operator to take the lot (whose names and other particulars have to be listed out), and nobody else, to the destination (and perhaps back). As such, issuing of tickets to individuals, etc, as is the current practise, is in itself a violation of the CCA.

All of the above means that none of the agencies are operating legally. The same applies to the SRS Travels, Satya Sai Travels, and various maxi-cab operations you come across in the city too. And, this is precisely the reason why reputed houses, like TVS (who started off as bus service providers in the city of Madurai), who would otherwise have very much liked to get back into this huge and ever growing business, are keeping their safe distance.

Now, everybody can see that there is a huge demand, and that the government can't possibly meet all of it by itself (even if it can, a monopoly can never be a good proposition). However, given the kind of restrictions (license - permit raaj) prevailing, it is only the Kallada, Sharma, Jabbar types, in the South, and Ponty Chaddha types in the North, who are prepared to "play" the current game. And, they being they, is why the services can't reach the professional levels of a Indigo or Go-Air of the airlines sector. All the same, I would still place my bets on a Kallada to travel to Kerala, a VRL to Mangalore/ Mumbai, and a KPN to Madurai, than the SRTC operations. The ones at the lower end however are generally bad, and theirs are the kind of (dis) services the detractors of privatisation love to cite and create phobia over.

The scenario being as plain and straight forward as that, one would expect of a responsible government to facilitate entry of reputed players into this vital infrastructure field. All that is needed is to amend the debilitating provisions in the CCA, or, better still, scrap the Act itself. It was possibly instituted with a view to maximising revenue. Whereas that approach may be OK for the tobacco or liquor sectors, it should never be so for infrastructure sectors, where you need more and more investments from good players.

And, once reputed private players come into the picture with their kinds of services, the citizens will be more than happy to leave their cars and bikes at their homes, and take to the buses for their commuting needs. And, with that, many of the city's traffic problems will get sorted out automatically, and without having to go for the extremely costly BRT and such options. Even the METRO need be thought of only when a city expands beyond say 7.5 million population.

A major problem is the low awareness levels amongst the public about these basic facts. But, more unfortunate is of the role of a few, who, though largely aware of all of these, but choose to stick on steadfastly to their dogma's by perpetuating a fear psychosis about private operators as a whole.

PS: The Mahboobnagar accident by itself was a minor one. But, what happened was the catching of the fire, and the spread of it (and smoke) far faster than the passengers could take action to exit. Volvo is studying what went wrong, and hopefully will effect design corrections accordingly.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Transgression is by Jabbar

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Mr Murali,

Are you claiming that operating inter-city bus services by private bus owners is illegal as per MV act? You seem to suggest that the MV act has been deliberately made out by the central govt in such manner as to enable the various states to collect bribes! This is presposterous.

You are grossly mistaken. It is perfectly legal to operate inter-city transport by anyone as long as there are no pick ups or drop offs inbetween. For example, if a bus is operating between Bangalore & Hyderabad, it must pick up all its passengers before leaving Bangalore & must drop all its passengers at Hyderabad & not have any in between. This is the gist of the provisions of MV act as relates to contract carriage & it has been practised for decades now. One single party is not required to engage in a contract - several parties (like many passengers) can individually have contracts for carriage on the same bus.

Its another matter that the private operators have been misusing the privilege of the MV act & are regularly picking up passengers & dropping them off in between.

The Jabbar travels incident is but an extreme manifestation of the misuse of the privilege wherein they were carrying more passengers as also loaded explosives into the cargo hold, as some news reports are suggesting. It is also improbable for a bus to start exploding just because it hit a culvert.

idontspam's picture

It is also improbable for a

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It is also improbable for a bus to start exploding just because it hit a culvert

I agree with this... 

 

murali772's picture

in fact, bribe collection is the only purpose it serves

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@ Naveen
It is perfectly legal to operate inter-city transport by anyone as long as there are no pick ups or drop offs inbetween. For example, if a bus is operating between Bangalore & Hyderabad, it must pick up all its passengers before leaving Bangalore & must drop all its passengers at Hyderabad & not have any in between.

Even assuming you are right, why should this be so?

One single party is not required to engage in a contract - several parties (like many passengers) can individually have contracts for carriage on the same bus.

If that's so, what do the following imply?

From the Act (check the opening post): "for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum"

From the New Indian Express article cited by me: "Stage carriage buses are the only ones allowed to issue tickets to passengers. Contract carriages, on the other hand, are hired by one single group".

Its another matter that the private operators have been misusing the privilege of the MV act & are regularly picking up passengers & dropping them off in between.

When you have meaningless provisions like these, what else do yopu expect?

The Jabbar travels incident is but an extreme manifestation of the misuse of the privilege wherein they were carrying more passengers as also loaded explosives into the cargo hold, as some news reports are suggesting.

Carrying inflammable material (leave alone explosives) in a any vehicle, unless specifically licensed for the purpose, is a violation. Some reports may have suggested what you are saying. But, we don't know the truth yet. And, that's precisely what Volvo is investigating. Their reputation is at stake. And, you may be sure they'll get to the bottom of it all, and if there are design deficiencies, they'll effect the necessary correctives too.

You seem to suggest that the MV act has been deliberately made out by the central govt in such manner as to enable the various states to collect bribes!

The Contract Carriage Act (under the M V Act), though originally intended for revenue maximisation, has today become a tool precisely for the purpose you have stated. Likewise, the fixed fare and route regime under the Stage Carriage Act - a bane for the Mangalore and Kochi operators - check this.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Inspector raaj let loose

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With two buses catching fire in the recent past, the transport department has decided to crack down on operators violating permits and carrying cargo tourist busines. - - - Those found violating the rule will be issued a notice and the bus owner has to face legal consequences. The fine ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, and the permit is also liable to be cancelled. - - - - It is common for private buses to carry goods and luggage in the hold and on the roof. Often, they transport two-wheelers, gas cylinders, lubricant cans and other dangerous items. A private bus service manager said business will suffer without revenue from parcels. "Normally, we don't carry parcels, but those who find it difficult to transport goods on trains rely on us," he added.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Any accident is an opportunity for the babu's. Twice the 2k to 5k being fined will of course be going into their pockets, as also up the supply chain. Now, transporting inflammatory material, in vehicles other than those specifically assigned for the purpose, is illegal. There are no two opinions on that. But, what is the harm in carrying ordinary parcels, duly tax paid, to earn a bit more revenue?

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Some logic

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it must pick up all its passengers before leaving Bangalore & must drop all its passengers at Hyderabad & not have any in between.
Even assuming you are right, why should this be so?

I would think this is to ensure that long-distance passengers travel in comfort - license fee may be lesser for contract carriage. If they wish to pick up passengers en-route, they can opt for stage carrier license, but they do not do that becuase of higher cost.

If that's so, what do the following imply?

"for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum"

"by a person" here does not expressly imply only one person - legally speaking, it does not satisfy the requirement of "only one person" since such is not mentioned. I would assume (as would the courts do) that anyone buying a ticket is entering into a contract for carriage to the destination "by a person".

From the New Indian Express article cited by me: "Stage carriage buses are the only ones allowed to issue tickets to passengers. Contract carriages, on the other hand, are hired by one single group".

Its another matter that the private operators have been misusing the privilege of the MV act & are regularly picking up passengers & dropping them off in between.

When you have meaningless provisions like these, what else do yopu expect?

The newspaper is obviously mis-quoting the provisions of the MV Act as they interpret it. This "one single person" or group will not hold legally nor is it intended as such. Inter-city buses have been plying across cities for ages & are carrying many different passengers, not single group. Has this "only by one person" argument ever been posed even when there have been mishaps like the recent Jabbar incident? Authorities interpret it as several persons from one place of origin having contracts to carry till a common destination.

Carrying inflammable material (leave alone explosives) in a any vehicle, unless specifically licensed for the purpose, is a violation. Some reports may have suggested what you are saying. But, we don't know the truth yet. And, that's precisely what Volvo is investigating. Their reputation is at stake. And, you may be sure they'll get to the bottom of it all, and if there are design deficiencies, they'll effect the necessary correctives too.

I don't think there are design deficiencies. The explosions after hitting a culvert or kerb is just impossible even at the speed that the vehicle was moving. Explosions can only mean one thing - inflammable material. Fuel tanks do not explode - & even if they did, the energy is just not sufficient to engulf the whole bus in flames within minutes.

The Contract Carriage Act (under the M V Act), though originally intended for revenue maximisation, has today become a tool precisely for the purpose you have stated. Likewise, the fixed fare and route regime under the Stage Carriage Act - a bane for the Mangalore and Kochi operators - check this

This may be your assumption. I have a different opinion - misuse of licenses has been the bane in this country.

what is the harm in carrying ordinary parcels, duly tax paid, to earn a bit more revenue?

By this logic, why not have passenger trains that also carries goods in the same coaches? And make a mess on the coach floors, rooftops, aisles & wherever else possible? As well as boarding & alighting platforms inconveniencing passengers everywhere? If operators wish to transport goods, there are truck licenses that they can opt for.

I once traveled by bus from Mumbai to Bangalore long ago (during my student days). That bus had loaded so much cargo (packages) on roof top that it was unable to negotiate hairpin bends, climbing up the ghats from Lonavla to Pune. To make matters worse, it had begun raining heavily. Some goods were eventually off-loaded into a van that the bus had to wait for & this had delayed the journey & caused lot of inconvenience to passengers.

 

The compelling factor that goes against private bus operators is that no matter what permits they hold, they tend to misuse them to operate in the manner that suits them best to maximize revenues, even at the expense of passenger conveniences & safety.

murali772's picture

kind of curious

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The compelling factor that goes against private bus operators is that no matter what permits they hold, they tend to misuse them to operate in the manner that suits them best to maximize revenues, even at the expense of passenger conveniences & safety.

So, according to you, private bus operators are and will remain thugs, whatever one may do. But, when it comes to airport development and operations (and other areas too), they are the ultimate (going by your own statements, cited below, from here).

Chennai's airport newly "modernized" & being operated by AAI is having all kinds of problems like roof leaking, repeated instances of false ceiling pieces falling off, baggage belt too steep, toilets dirty /stinking, unfriendly staff, long wait for baggage reclaim, etc. Compared to this, BIAL (& all other privately built or modernized airports that charge UDF) is a huge improvement & investments have to be recovered & running costs are high.

Now, I am wondering what if GVK, who are operating the BIAL and supposedly doing a good job of it (by your own reckoning), get into public bus transport services. Will they too turn bad boys? In both services? Or remain good in airport operations, and bad in bus operations? Just curious.

PS: I can't see the relevance of your citing travel experience from your college days. Whatever, that's clearly a case of overloading, and will not be accepted in today's world. Agencies like REDBUS, through whom you make bookings today, collect feedbacks from travellers, and provide ratings for the services. When I make a booking, either for myself or any of my family members (just last night, my 72 yr-old m-i-l left by SRS Travels sleeper, all by herself, to Karkala), I choose the service provider by the REDBUS ratings, which are fairly reliable. Those with poor ratings will eventually have to shut shop.

 

Muralidhar Rao
ramesh_mbabu's picture

Legal status of company pick up/drop

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Run by company /outsourced to BMTC or private players like SRS. BMTC's license is for stage carriers but runs as contract carriage in this case picking/dropping people across the city without issuing tickets. Private carriers have license for contract carriers but do the same, pick/drop people length and breadth of the city. The legal status might be valid only for services run by say ITI for ferrying their employees between their office/factory and township without picking/dropping people in between. Sounds interesting! Like the recent Gowhatti HC verdict declaring CBI as an illegal entity, what about the people arrested/convicted so far? Will the goverment compensate them?

Naveen's picture

Airports & buses different

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So, according to you, private bus operators are and will remain thugs, whatever one may do. But, when it comes to airport development and operations (and other areas too), they are the ultimate (going by your own statements, cited below, from here).

Unfortunately yes - most bus operators will remain thugs within India's demographics with poor respect for rule of law (same is the case in Bangkok, Manila, Mexico city, etc). Bus operators will keep bribing cops (who are eager to take them) & keep driving recklessly (as passengers encourage & want them to reach earlier) & so on.

As is evident over several decades, most (I'm not saying all) are misusing permits & will continue to do so since it is easy money. There are very few bus operators that operate as per permits. Whilst its easy to say monitor each one of them to ensure they operate as per rules, this is practically impossible since a dedicated cop cannot be spared for each bus & even if they can, the cops will be more than happy to take bribes & keep their eyes closed. Thus, inter-city bus operations can only be as good as the police & users are.

Airports are different - UDF & all charges are goverened by AERA & one gets a receipt for what he pays, customers are from higher income brackets who will not accept any nonsense - so, there is policing by customers themselves.

Now, I am wondering what if GVK, who are operating the BIAL and supposedly doing a good job of it (by your own reckoning), get into public bus transport services. Will they too turn bad boys? In both services? Or remain good in airport operations, and bad in bus operations? Just curious.

The likes of GVK will not get into running buses just as TVS will not as mentioned by you because it is perceived as a low end business involving bribes, corruption, etc that will spoil their reputation.

As far as urban transport is concerned, the only way private operators can provide good, safe services is with dedicated busways & payments based largely on customer service & mileage driven - reward for passenger volumes must be a smaller quantum & monitoring will have to be by electronic means as even BMTC conductors are known to fleece passengers by not issuing tickets.

Naveen's picture

Coffins on wheels

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Loaded coffins on wheels set out on risky journeys

Just about everything is loaded into the buses. Industry insiders say that more than 90% of the buses run on fake permits or have fake registration numbers. The giveaways are incomplete numbers, or those with missing alphabets. Many have either no emergency exit or just one small window-cum-door at the rear, through which even a five-year-old would have to squeeze through.
    A chat with the drivers is enough to raise alarm. Most of them have never been to a driving school but have pledged their driving licences with the owners to get the job. Some admit they don’t know what's inside the engine and have never been trained to deal with accidents. Many have no idea where the emergency exit in the vehicle is, or how many emergency exits the bus has. The public on board is equally clueless.

TOO MANY VIOLATIONS

• Fake registration numbers
• Fake permits
• Used chassis from scrapped or used buses
• Body built by private coach builders
• One or no emergency window
• Windows concealed or tinted
• Luggage is never checked
• Overloading of rooftop and hold of the bus
• No first aid box, or box with inadequate medicines
• Drivers, conductors not trained to handle emergencies, have no technical knowledge

Source

murali772's picture

so, happy with the status quo?

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@ Naveen - So, essentially, what you are saying is that, as long as we have swanky airports (operated by the private sector) for the customers from higher income brackets, who will not accept any nonsense, everything is fine. And that buses are after all for the cattle, and they need remain just cattle-class (after all, it's the same in Bangkok, Manila, Mexico city, etc). But, can the air services take care of the humungous and exponentially multiplying travel demands of the country's population, even if they can afford the huge costs (which they can't)? The answer very clearly being in the negative, do we then not have to look for solutions? And again, when it's very clearly seen that government operators (particularly monopolies) have serious capacity limitations, shouldn't a responsible government be looking for ways to make the private operators meet the challenges, whatever, particularly when they have shown their capabilities in other sectors? And, likewise, shouldn't it be incumbent on every responsible citizen to demand that?

As far as urban transport is concerned, the only way private operators can provide good, safe services is with dedicated busways & payments based largely on customer service & mileage driven - reward for passenger volumes must be a smaller quantum & monitoring will have to be by electronic means as even BMTC conductors are known to fleece passengers by not issuing tickets.

So, by this, are you suggesting that every little Chitradurga, Kollegal, Madikeri, Udupi, etc, have buse services only of the BRT variety?

2(40) “stage carriage” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey.

The above extract, from the M V Act, again indicates that individual tickets can be issued only for journeys by buses licensed under the Stage Carriage Act. Either way, I propose to raise a querry with the Transport Department on this aspect.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

so, what should be the government's function?

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@ Naveen - So, who should be keeping a check on the doings of these low end bus operators (coffins on wheels, as dramatically prtrayed)? Isn't it the government? And, when its own operations are as dismal as seen here (in the words of its own crew members), with what authority can it act? What better argument can there be for distancing operation from regulation/ control, to make the latter function more effective?

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

do we then not have to look

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do we then not have to look for solutions? And again, when it's very clearly seen that government operators (particularly monopolies) have serious capacity limitations, shouldn't a responsible government be looking for ways to make the private operators meet the challenges, whatever, particularly when they have shown their capabilities in other sectors? And, likewise, shouldn't it be incumbent on every responsible citizen to demand that?

Govt RTCs cannot meet all the demand, agreed but, they are answerable to public, media, ministry etc unlike private operaors who use fake lic numbers, fake permits etc & most are untraceable during raids & when mishaps occur.

As long as there are passengers for whom very low fares are more important than service quality & risks are acceptable, we will continue to have cattle class variety buses that collect low fares & try to use every trick possible to earn more - & these undesirable practices spread out to engulf almost the whole of the private bus industry.

Responsible citizens (very small minority) may demand govt to ensure good services from private bus operators, but their demands will keep getting drowned in a sea of low-fares seeking public, whose numbers matter most to determine the way bus owners conduct their operations.

So, by this, are you suggesting that every little Chitradurga, Kollegal, Madikeri, Udupi, etc, have buse services only of the BRT variety?

When cities were small with very little traffic, unsafe speeding by private buses were still manageable as they had been in Mangalore long ago, but when they start growing in size & with traffic increases, private buses become very unsafe, unpredictable, load huge volumes & do not keep times. Public have aleady started venting out their ire in different parts of mangalore now. This happens because most passengers are daily travelers who use the same buses. Inter-city operations differ because each day, people are different.

If private buses are still to be run in growing cities, its better to have BRT. A BRT is coming up between Hubli & Dharwad. I think it will soon be time to have one between Mangalore & Udipi also. Only problem is Mangalore & Udipi are connected by only a national highway, & getting a permission to run BRT on NH road may not be possible.

MaheshK's picture

private buses

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Naveen, right on the spot.

Twice I have traveled by overnight private buses. Both were abt 3 hrs late. as they were plying somewhre else before coming to pick us. Buses are used everywhere so that there is profit all the time. If a private bus is parked for a few hours, private operators feel that they are losing money. As KSRTC is govt run, profitable or not, things move on. Whether there are passengers in the bus or not, the bus will move, whereas the private buses wont budge till most of the seats are filled. They will take passengers as they move along, as it happened in the inferno bus.

murali772's picture

cause and effect

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In the aftermath of the Mahbubnagar accident, we have registered 601 cases and seized 346 buses for different violations like lack of permit, overloading of passengers, operating as stage carriers, etc ‘’The drive will continue even on RTC buses,” Botcha (AP transport minister Botcha Satyanarayana) said.

The owner of the ill-fated bus JC Uma Reddy of JC Travels (
apparently the agency that hired the bus to Jabbar Travels) will be booked, he told reporters on Wednesday said.

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

The implication of this is that insurance companies can deny compensation claims stating that the operation was in violation of the Contract Carriage Act. This is inspite of the fact that the so-called violations were totally trivial, in no way the cause of the accident, and of meaningless provisions of the Archaic Act.

The actual cause has now been more or less determined, going by the following excerpts from this report in the ToI:

Speaking to TOI, APFSL director A Sharada said the preliminary forensic analysis of samples collected from the bus have not showed any traces of the presence of an explosive material. The accident occurred when the right bottom exterior of the bus came in contact with the six-inch metal railing projection on the culvert after the driver temporarily lost control over the steering, she said.

Owing to the high speed, the 26-feet-long railing broke into two pieces. While the first half of the railing pierced the bus, the remaining portion was dragged along for 170 feet on the road before the driver saw the fire and stopped the bus.

The first portion of the railing punctured the right side of the diesel tank causing leakage of fuel while the other half caused sparks. Due to the heat generated, the diesel which has a flash point between 60 to 100 degrees centigrade caught fire which quickly reached the second tank on the left side of the bus, the AC and the rear engine.

"Thick smoke engulfed the bus and the way in which the charred bodies were found in the seats suggests that most inhaled carbon monoxide that might have come through the AC vents in the otherwisee closed bus. The inhalation of the poisonous gas might have incapacitated the victims and resulted in their death minutes before the bodies were engulfed in flames. There were diesel fume marks on all the survivors," the forensic expert who prepared the report told TOI.

The APFSL officials also analyzed the blood samples of bus driver Feroz Pasha for traces of alcohol. However, the result was negative.


So much for the "explosives" theorists.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

45 dead is trivial?

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The implication of this is that insurance companies can deny compensation claims stating that the operation was in violation of the Contract Carriage Act. This is inspite of the fact that the so-called violations were totally trivial, in no way the cause of the accident, and of meaningless provisions of the Archaic Act.

Are you sure that the violations were trivial & in no way contributed to the accident happening?

Is it not possible that the bus may have wasted time awaiting to pick up more passengers in between & it may have led to speeding because of delays & caused the accident?

You may call the act "archaic", but that is the current law & buses were bound to implicitly follow it. If it is indeed archaic, the private bus lobby can canvas to have it modernized.

So much for the "explosives" theorists.

Okay, so it was a steel railing that caused sparks & CO poisoning, but it wasn't the faulty bus design theory either.

MaheshK's picture

Less fuel in the tank?

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The owner of the ill-fated bus is the former Congress minister in AP. We know what "action" will be taken. Botsa Satyanarayana can say whatever he wants. Same for APFSL. They are govt agency and can be influenced by the netas.

The bus was close to Hyderabad (45 minutes?) when the accident happened. That means there was less diesel in the tank. The bus traveled around Bangalore picking up passengers. That must have used some diesel. Its reported that the tank was not filled on the way to Hyderabad. There must be something else (highly inflammabe material) that helped to spread the fire fast. IMO, due to pressure from the ruling party netas, APFSL wont tell the truth.

Vasanth's picture

BRTS no where comparable to Privataization

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@Murali Sir,

And, once reputed private players come into the picture with their kinds of services, the citizens will be more than happy to leave their cars and bikes at their homes, and take to the buses for their commuting needs

It is only your assumption. Why one will leave their cars / bikes and take buses if the buses too has to go through all the traffic their cars/bikes has to go through. Currently people are taking Volvos are because of the comfort and the distance, cars are expensive to drive, 2 wheelers unsafe and uncomfortable. Why people think Metro may change game is that it will not get struck in traffic.

. And, with that, many of the city's traffic problems will get sorted out automatically, and without having to go for the extremely costly BRT and such options. Even the METRO need be thought of only when a city expands beyond say 7.5 million population

Infact, city's traffic will get worsened with Pedestrains, 2 wheelers and Bicyclists being killed more often like in Mangalore.

murali772's picture

recouping losses, that's all

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@MaheshK

Buses are used everywhere so that there is profit all the time. If a private bus is parked for a few hours, private operators feel that they are losing money. As KSRTC is govt run, profitable or not, things move on.

And, here's how APSRTC, within a week of the occurance of the accident, uses the opportunity to hike its fares - for the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

Justifying the hike in bus fares, Botcha (AP minister) said that the increased fares, which came to effect from Wednesday, would not burden the public much. The fares of Palle Velugu buses have been increased marginally with just Re 1 for 5-35 km and Rs 2 for 35- 50 km. The minister said around 50 crore people would travel annually in Palle Velugu buses. The fare hike was just 15 paise for Garuda Plus buses, 12 paise for Indra, 11 paise for Super Luxury, nine paise for Delux and seven paise for Express buses. - - - The fare hike would fetch the RTC an additional revenue of Rs 450 crore and it would help the RTC to recoup some of the losses.

Of course, they are only doing it only to recoup some of their losses. In a monopoly situation (only they are licensed as Stage Carriage operators), one would normally expect a process of citizen consultation through a regulatory mechanism, like in the case of State Electricity Regulatory bodies. Well, that's government for you!

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

absurd to bizarre

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@ Naveen
45 dead is trivial?

Your penchant for sensationalising will put a rag to shame

I had stated "And, you may be sure they'll get to the bottom of it all, and if there are design deficiencies, they'll effect the necessary correctives too". Where was any theory there? As compared to that, you had more or less accepted "some news reports" to assert that the bus was "carrying loaded explosives in the cargo hold".

Is it not possible that the bus may have wasted time awaiting to pick up more passengers in between & it may have led to speeding because of delays & caused the accident?

You could also consider vaastu perhaps

You may call the act "archaic", but that is the current law & buses were bound to implicitly follow it. If it is indeed archaic, the private bus lobby can canvas to have it modernized.

Even Mr Ravikumar, IAS, the Secretary, Transport Dept, GoK, openly admitted as much at the Volvo seminar on the 7th.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

brilliant deductions!

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@ MaheshK

Brilliant deductions, boss! Besides, you appear to have some inside info too. Shouldn't you be taking up these matters with the CBI (ok - there's a problem there - with their locus standii in question now), or atleast IG level officials of AP and Karnataka police? But, then again, "they are govt agency and can be influenced by the netas"!!! So, what do you do? How about Tehelka?

"govt agency and can be influenced by the netas" - so, can't be trusted. APFSL too can't be trusted, for the same reason. The private operators can't be trusted, ever. So, apparently, in this kali-kala nobody can be trusted - guess that's our fate, for all the sins committed in our past janma.

 

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Everyone knows who is bizarre

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Your penchant for sensationalising will put a rag to shame

The accident is a serious one that took many lives & only a very biased person would try to argue that it was "trivial" & claim that rules were archaic. News media is tracking the fallout from the incident, but none are claiming that the incident is trivial nor the rules archaic - it is only you. So, your claim about sensationalizing the incident appears to be to cover up your attempt to downplay the incdent.

You could also consider vaastu perhaps

I do not need vaastu. I'm certain that the driver was trying to make up lost time in hunting for passengers & was also overworked, as is the norm with private operators.

Even Mr Ravikumar, IAS, the Secretary, Transport Dept, GoK, openly admitted as much at the Volvo seminar on the 7th.

If the rules are outdated, they need to be amended, but I haven't heard anyone claiming that they need to be modified - I have only heard you saying this (& claiming that others said so too - perhaps the transport secretary is a bus owner himself).

murali772's picture

unique category

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@ Naveen

Fake registration numbers
Fake permits
Used chassis from scrapped or used buses
Body built by private coach builders
One or no emergency window
Windows concealed or tinted
Luggage is never checked
Overloading of rooftop and hold of the bus
No first aid box, or box with inadequate medicines
Drivers, conductors not trained to handle emergencies, have no technical knowledge


Indeed the above quite defines the riff-raff sector (or mafia) that's largely in control of the public bus transport services sector today. But, simultaneously it's also true that the government monopoly service providers just don't have the capacity to take care of the humungous and exponentially multiplying travel demands of the country's population. That being the scenario, like I have been repeatedly saying, shouldn't a responsible government be looking for ways to make the private operators meet the challenges, whatever, particularly when they have shown themselves to be capable in other sectors? And, likewise, shouldn't it be incumbent upon every responsible citizen to demand that?

But, apparently, as far as you are concerned, private sector is an absolute no-no in the case of public bus transport services, even as you celebrate their presence in civil aviation, airport management, apart from being welcoming of them in hotels, power, airlines, telecom (from here), apart from other areas too, I expect. Well, as such, I expect, yours falls into a unique category not quite provided for in my listing of causes for people to oppose privatisation (check here). I'll list it at "t" now.

Incidentally, who do you think is responsible for the huge T & D losses (euphemistically referred to as theft & dacoity) in power supply, when handled by the government agencies? It's the similar riff-raff lot as in the case of bus services, in collusion with the agency's internal mafia. There is the unique case of a Delhi cabinet minister, who was running an energy intensive battery charging unit, right in the heart of the city, when the distribution was in the hands of DESU. Today, with the likes of TATA's taking over, the genuine T&D losses are being recorded at internationally acceptable levels, and power availability is being recorded at 99.9% (check here).

Similar is the scenario in water supply in Namma Bengaluru, with unaccounted for losses recording at over 40%, and the alternate sources being in the control the tanker, bottled water (with fake ISI labels), borewell mafia, aided and abetted by the mafia within the BWSSB.

The Delhi power privatisation has shown the way out in that specific area. Likewise, there are solutions for all problems too if one wants to look for them. And, there exactly is where the problem lies.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Everyone knows that private

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Everyone knows that private buses cannot be wished away & that is why they are being given licenses to operate in the first place.

However, it is largely left to the general public to help govt oversee that they perform well & provide good services since it is impossible for govt to police every bus. Unfortunately, majority of the public put up with inconveniences & seldom report any deficiencies.

General public (not necessarily private bus users) is indeed asking for & supports govt to enforce rules & hold all erring private bus owners accountable, but there are few who speak very favorably on the behalf of erring bus owners even after they are clearly accountable for gross violations that resulted in many lives lost. Such biases do not in any way help in the efforts to improve them & "meet the challenges".

murali772's picture

distortions, untruths, innuendos, et al

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My statement: This is inspite of the fact that the so-called violations were totally trivial, in no way the cause of the accident, and of meaningless provisions of the Archaic Act.
Naveen's counter: 45 dead is trivial? The accident is a serious one that took many lives & only a very biased person would try to argue that it was "trivial"

N: some news reports stated the bus was carrying loaded explosives in the cargo hold
Me: The investigation is still on - can't jump to conclusions.
Later - So much for the "explosives" theorists.

Me: And, you may be sure they(Volvo)'ll get to the bottom of it all, and if there are design deficiencies, they'll effect the necessary correctives too
N: but it wasn't the faulty bus design theory either.
Me: where did I theorise?

Me: Even Mr Ravikumar, IAS, the Secretary, Transport Dept, GoK, openly admitted as much (about the rules being archaic) at the Volvo seminar on the 7th.
N: perhaps the transport secretary is a bus owner himself

Me: Indeed the above (referring to the list of misdeeds by private operators, posted by Naveen) quite defines the riff-raff sector (or mafia) that's largely in control of the public bus transport services sector today. But, simultaneously it's also true that the government monopoly service providers just don't have the capacity to take care of the humungous and exponentially multiplying travel demands of the country's population. That being the scenario, like I have been repeatedly saying, shouldn't a responsible government be looking for ways to make the private operators meet the challenges, whatever, particularly when they have shown themselves to be capable in other sectors?
N: but there are few who speak very favorably on the behalf of erring bus owners even after they are clearly accountable for gross violations that resulted in many lives lost. Such biases do not in any way help in the efforts to improve them & "meet the challenges".

I expect even a Manish Tiwari or a Kapil Sibal will find themselves beaten hollow in the game.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

More of the archaic-trivial variety

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even a Manish Tiwari or a Kapil Sibal will find themselves beaten hollow in the game

Sure, it betters Arunab Goswami himself!

BTW today's TOI reports that 50% private buses have fake regn numbers.

TELLING FAKE FROM REAL
Sample this: A number plate reading KA-07 8742 does not belong to an alphabet scheme, like KA-01 AC-3250. The first number plate hints it’s a fake registration or fraudulent work of a private bus operator.
Roughly 50% of buses have such fictitious numbers.

Source.  Also see this

I am sure you have your own theories about archaic vehicle registration laws that are responsible for this & the humble, law-abiding bus owners who ignored registering vehicles & displaying regn numbers correctly are not really to be blamed!

This would also qualify to be termed "totally trivial" as well, isn't it?

abidpqa's picture

Maybe Motorvehicle Act is

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Maybe Motorvehicle Act is wrong, but the private bus operators prefer to work under it and do not want it to change.  Even the operators now are somehat reputable with 10s of buses and crores of turnover. Bigger operators may not change situation.  Because of the act, there was restriction in the number of permits, only influential people could operate. But with every new govt, new influential people come, and now they seem unable to fill the bus.  Overspeeding has become thenew attraction for consumers, and private buses do not want any restriction on speed. Solution to overspeeding is understanding between operators in restricting speed to about 100kmph which seems safe for Volvo, as the drivers do not have a say because of antilabour policies. Customers also need to demand safe operation than speed. With apps like GPS Test, travelers can themselves see the speed of the bus.

The real problem is lack of trains. The Bangalore-Hyderabad track is mostly single line. Buses are not a solution to long distance travel. To travel longer than 150 km, trains are needed for lesser expence and comfort. Maybe Volvo can extend that to 300 km. Bangalore Hyderabad distance is double that, and Volvo and other luxury buses are not a solution. The need is to double Bangalore Hyderabad railway line and help people stop traveling in buses. Really, the railways is not expanded because of the private buse operator's influence. Of course, their lobbying is behind the doors and they have the option of deniability. Basically increasing capacity of buses is not the solution

Capacity limitations The private operators do not want the govt operator to run good buses, and they influence the decision making process, and their supporters will say govt has capacity limitations as if they are unaware private operators manipulations that have resulted in limitations. The supporters of private bus operators is only profitable because the govt interference on the side of private operators and not against them.

Regarding Volvo, I think it is dreaming of replacing planes and trains.

MaheshK's picture

One more Volvo accident

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Since the last weekend, we have been traveling in and around Sirsi. We left Sirsi on Thursday morning as scheduled and saw the visuals on the tv in the hotel. We took the Hanagal, Bankapura route. Since we had to reach NH-4, we were told abt the location and came to see the bus. No words to explain. I had never seen anything like this. Let me not go in detail.

Some issues:

1. Why only Volvo's getting into inferno mode? Are the materials used for the bus highly inflammable? What abt Tata's and other bus manufacturers? May be Volvo need to investigated.

2. Why only Vovlo run by private operators are getting in trouble? There are hundreds of Volvo's run by KSRTC. Why none of them burnt like this?

3. Should the glass be so thick that it has to be broken by hammer?

The bus is 40 days old and cost Rs. 1 crore 6 lakhs as per the owner's brother. The bus belongs to National travels (owned by Jameer Ahamd Khan of JD(S) who is an MLA frm Chamarajapet in Blore). I hope things are resolved to ensure no more accidents occur like this.

Naveen's picture

Tata bus also caught fire

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Some issues:

1. Why only Volvo's getting into inferno mode? Are the materials used for the bus highly inflammable? What abt Tata's and other bus manufacturers? May be Volvo need to investigated.

2. Why only Vovlo run by private operators are getting in trouble? There are hundreds of Volvo's run by KSRTC. Why none of them burnt like this?

3. Should the glass be so thick that it has to be broken by hammer?

The bus is 40 days old and cost Rs. 1 crore 6 lakhs as per the owner's brother. The bus belongs to National travels (owned by Jameer Ahamd Khan of JD(S) who is an MLA frm Chamarajapet in Blore). I hope things are resolved to ensure no more accidents occur like this.

It isn't volvo alone & it isn't private alone. See the list of buses burning cases before the Haveri incident:

MAHBUBNAGAR, OCTOBER 30
WHAT HAPPENED: 45 passengers from Bangalore to Hyderabad in a Jabbar Travels Volvo bus were charred to death when the vehicle burst into flames after its fuel tank caught fire near Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh. Most victims were probably asphyxiated to death after inhaling carbon monoxide even before the flames engulfed them, said experts of the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory who analyzed samples collected from the accident site. Diesel in the two fuel tanks led to the rapid spread of fire.
PROBE FINDINGS: Accident occurred because driver Feroz Khan had dozed off. In his statement, Feroz said he’d been forced to drive without rest and there was no second driver in the bus.

 

MANDYA, NOVEMBER 6
WHAT HAPPENED: A Bangalore-bound KSRTC Volvo bus partially gutted in an accidental fire when it reached Mandya. Timely intervention by passengers in the back rows averted a major accident as they alerted the driver and called the fire control room. There were no casualties.
PROBE FINDINGS: The joint investigation by KSRTC and Volvo showed that the wires in the inspection lamp section of the engine had skinned off and when the wire looms came in contact with each other, it started burning.

 

TUMKUR ROAD, NOVEMBER 8
WHAT HAPPENED: 35 passengers in a KSRTC Vaibhav bus from Hassan to Bangalore had a miraculous escape. The bus, manufactured by Tata, was gutted in an accidental fire near Goraguntepalya Signal on Tumkur Road, 14 km from the city. Timely action by driver Yusuf Ali Sharif who poured water on the fire, and conductor Range Gowda, who helped all 35 passengers get down the bus through the front door, saved the day.
PROBE FINDINGS: Reports of probes by KSRTC and transport department

 

Source

MaheshK's picture

DH article - Volvo ready to instal emergency exit doors

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http://www.deccanherald.com/content/369249/volvo-ready-instal-emergency-exit.html

This is interesting. Who is creating the problem?

Excerpts from the article:

"Passey, who flew down from Sweden in the aftermath of Thursday’s accident, said, "We were providing the emergency exit door as sought by the government (transport department) in the past but later discontinued the provision after the stipulation was withdrawn."

He added, "We will provide the emergency exit door again if the government amends the guidelines afresh."

In 2008-09, a department circular was issued stating that the company must design buses with provision for an emergency door in the middle of the bus for easy and safe evacuation of passengers.

However, this circular was withdrawn in 2011 with arguments that the middle door was neither mandatory nor mentioned in the Motor Vehicles Act.

Meanwhile, state transport minister Ramalinga Reddy said, "It has been decided that from now on the buses will be procured only if they fulfill the condition of having one emergency door and one emergency exit. Also, for our own existing fleet of Volvo buses, in BMTC and KSRTC, we will make provisions for having an emergency door along with the emergency exit."

murali772's picture

responsible citizens make a responsible government

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There are two types of permits for buses - stage carriage permit and contract carriage permit. Stage carriage permits allow bus operators to pick up passengers from multiple places and book individual seats on buses (regular services of KSRTC, for instance). Contract carriage buses operate as tourist vehicles where in order to transport a group of people from destination A to B, the bus has to be booked in bulk. An all India omni bus permit is given to those buses operating as contract carriages in more than three states.

P Ravi Kumar, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, reading a High Court Order said that the difference between the two permits was in the intention of travelling. “In case of contract carriages, the intention is to travel together to a marriage or family function, a religious or political function,” he said.

There are a total of 33,000 buses with stage contract carriages, of which 24,000 buses belong to KSRTC and 9,000 buses are owned by private travel agencies. 2,053 buses operate with a contract carriage.

Both the buses involved in the accidents were tourist buses and were operating in violation of the per
mit. Department officials say this is rampant and difficult to implement for reasons such as the lobby involved in bus operations, the fact that the State Transport Authority does not have adequate staff to implement and enforce the Motor Vehicles Act and prefer to turn a blind eye to the violations.

K Amar Narayan, Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety as well as various officials in the Transport Department admit that there are buses that operate in violation of the contract carriage permit. However, they play it down, saying violations have been happening for a long time. The shortage of staff is so severe, in fact, that the department brought in 20 inspectors from other parts of the state to form 10 squads that would check various violations, including permit violations, said R V D’Souza, Joint Director, Transport Department.

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

Whatever, nobody wants to talk of the absurdity of the law, which is keeping away the reputed houses, and repealing/ amendment of which can change the scenario totally. All they are interested in is perpetuating the inspector raaj

I had earlier stated - And again, when it's very clearly seen that government operators (particularly monopolies) have serious capacity limitations, shouldn't a responsible government be looking for ways to make the private operators meet the challenges, whatever, particularly when they have shown their capabilities in other sectors? And, likewise, shouldn't it be incumbent on every responsible citizen to demand that?

It is time responsible citizens spoke up and made the government respond responsibly. The answer clearly lies here.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

scenario worse in rural areas

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Saturday’s road accident (in which an ill-fated goods carrier overturned at Halaki Cross in Savadatti taluk of Belgaum district, killing twenty-two people and injuring 32 others) is the biggest-ever in the district, in terms of casualties, an official source said. A retired police official said passenger and goods carrier owners have been flouting norms by carrying passengers illegally in goods carriers and overcrowding passenger vehicles to earn more money. He questioned the role of the police and RTO officials who were not curbing such illegal and dangerous practices. He sought stringent action against officials who went easy on vehicle owners and operators flouting rules.

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

Very clearly again neither is the government in a position to provide proper bus services, nor will it allow people to do it legally, leading to such scenario.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Babus incompetent?

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P Ravi Kumar, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, reading a High Court Order said that the difference between the two permits was in the intention of travelling.

“In case of contract carriages, the intention is to travel together to a marriage or family function, a religious or political function,” he said.

 
The principal secretray of transport dept is talking nonsense. Violations occur because they carry more passengers than bus capacity, or cargo that isn't permitted, or pick up passengers en-route with only contract carriage permit, or operate in areas not applied for or permitted.

Where does it say in the MV Act that it applies only for "travel together to a marriage or family function, a religious or political function"? If there is indeed a High Court order, he should have quoted the case number. I tried to browse HC judgements, but have been unable to trace any such order. If HC has indeed ordered such, it can be challenged in Supreme court.

Inter-city buses are in operation throughout the country. Are they all in violation since they operate inter-city service buses & do not carry marriage parties? This is absurd.
 
Relevant sections of MV Act are reproduced below.
 
 
Central Government Act
 
Section 2 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

2. Definitions.- In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(7) " contract carriage" means a motor vehicle which carries a passenger or passenger or passengers for hire or reward and is engaged under a contract, whether expressed or implied, for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum--

(a) on a time basis, whether or not with reference to any route or distance; or

(b) from one point to another, and in either case, without stopping to pick up or set down passengers not included in the contract anywhere during the journey, and includes--

  • (i) a maxicab; and
  • (ii) a motor cab notwithstanding that separate fares are charged for its passengers;

(40) " stage carriage" means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey;

 
Section 74 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
 

74. Grant of contract carriage permit.

(1) Subject to the provisions of sub- section (3), a Regional Transport Authority may, on an application made to it under section 73, grant a contract carriage permit in accordance with the application or with such modifications as it deems fit or refuse to grant such a permit: Provided that no such permit shall be granted in respect of any area not specified in the application.

(2) The Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a contract carriage permit, may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions, namely:--

(i) that the vehicles shall be used only in a specified area or on a specified route or routes;
(ii) that except in accordance with specified conditions, no contract of hiring, other than an extension or modification of a subsisting contract, may be entered into outside the specified area;
(iii) the maximum number of passengers and the maximum weight of luggage that may be carried on the vehicles, either generally or on specified occasions or at specified times and seasons;
(iv) the conditions subject to which goods may be carried in any contract carriage in addition to, or to the exclusion of, passengers;
(v) that, in the case of motor cabs, specified fares or rates of fares shall be charged and a copy of the fare table shall be exhibited on the vehicle;
(vi) that, in the case of vehicles other than motor cabs, specified rates of hiring not exceeding specified maximum shall be charged;

(vii) that, in the case of motor cabs, a special weight of passengers' luggage shall be carried free of charge, and that the charge, if any, for any luggage in excess thereof shall be at a specified rate;

 
(viii) that, in the case of motor cabs, a taximeter shall be fitted and maintained in proper working order, if prescribed;

(ix) that the Regional Transport Authority may, after giving notice of not less than one month,--

(a) vary the conditions of the permit;
(b) attach to the permit further conditions;
(x) that the conditions of permit shall not be departed from save with the approval of the Regional Transport Authority;

(xi) that specified standards of comfort and cleanliness shall be maintained in the vehicles;

(xii) that, except in the circumstances of exceptional nature, the plying of the vehicle or carrying of the passengers shall not be refused;
(xiii) any other conditions which may be prescribed.

(3) (a) The State Government shall, if so directed by the Central Government, having regard to the number of vehicles, road conditions and other relevant matters, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct a State Transport Authority and a Regional Transport Authority to limit the number of contract carriages generally or of any specified type, as may be fixed and specified in the notification, operating on city routes in towns with a population of not less than five lakhs.

(b) Where the number of contract carriages are fixed under clause (a), the Regional Transport Authority shall, in considering an application for the grant of permit in respect of any such contract carriage, have regard to the following matters, namely:--

(i) financial stability of the applicant;
(ii) satisfactory performance as a contract carriage operator including payment of tax if the applicant is or has been an operator of contract carriages; and
(iii) such other matters as may be prescribed by the State Government: Provided that, other conditions being equal, preference shall be given to applications for permits from--
(i) the India Tourism Development Corporation;
(ii) State Tourism Development Corporations;
(iii) State Tourism Departments;
(iv) State transport undertakings;
(v) co- operative societies registered or deemed to have been registered under any enactment for the time being in force;
(vi) ex- servicemen.

 

MaheshK's picture

Where is the truth?

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The Indian Express article does not go in detail as why they were in that vehicle. Where in the article it says that there are no bus services? The workers were transported to Maharashtra by the contractor to work as labourers. Some of them spoke on the tv. They were going at night to avoid police as they were using goods vehicle to haul people, which is illegal. This has nothing to do with the bus service.

skumaras's picture

Why no emergency doors on Volvos

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To the question of why emergency doors were introduced on the KSRTC volvos and then withdrawn, there could be one simple explanation. Adding a emergency door would mean reducing the number of seats by two. Typically a semi-slepper multiaxle volvo has a seating capacity of 44. Knocking off two seats would mean a 5% reduction in revenue, and this would be a major hit on the profitability.

So unless the government mandates that all volvos -  new and existing need to refit with a emergency door within a set timeframe, no operator is going to install emergency doors.


xs400's picture

Flaming to douse the flames

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Wow! No Volvos needed!

But this too shall pass.

Maybe the media (Praja included) needs a new distraction now - How about a nuclear tragedy?

Sometimes it is better to look at the man in the mirror.

 

murali772's picture

near non-existance of public transport in rural areas

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Where in the article it says that there are no bus services? - - - This has nothing to do with the bus service.

I wonder if a person making such a comment has ever travelled outside a city other than in a car

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

High Court talking nonsense too?

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The principal secretray of transport dept is talking nonsense.

In my post of 18th, I had cited the following excerpts from a New Indian Express article - P Ravi Kumar, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, reading a High Court Order said that the difference between the two permits was in the intention of travelling. “In case of contract carriages, the intention is to travel together to a marriage or family function, a religious or political function,” he said.

So, is the High Court also talking nonsense?

Incidentally, where did I hear similar talk recently? Yes, of course - Rahul Gandhi's dramatic rejection of his party's proposal to amend the laws regarding unseating of convicted parliamentarians.

Well, when I stated "And, likewise, shouldn't it be incumbent on every responsible citizen to demand that?", the emphasis was on the word 'responsible' "

Besides, the following excerpts from a ToI article (full text may be accessed here), citing the statement made by a prominent operator from Mangalore, corroborates the actual position on the ground too:

Also, inter-state buses are given point-to-point permit. In such cases, the operators are not permitted to pick passengers en route. Yet, this rule is mostly practised only in its violation. "We have to break such rules as unlike KSRTC we pay hafta to transport and police departments to operate the buses. Where will that money come from?'' asked a prominent operator from Mangalore.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the essence of the problem

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A city-based private operator, who owns over 100 Volvo buses, said he pays Rs 12,100 as road tax alone per seat every year for inter-state buses. “For a bus of 44 seats, the annual tax incurred goes up to Rs 5.32 lakh. In this situation, if private operators lose two seats, they incur huge losses,” he added.
    
Another operator based in Hubli said operators compromise on safety because of heavy taxes. “To offset this, they use buses as courier service and carry goods. If two seats are removed for an emergency exit, it’s likely that they’ll compromise even more on safety,” he added.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Rs 5.32 lakhs per annum for the official "Contract Carriage" licence fee, and since this does not allow for a regular bus operation, the huge amount of "hafta's" have to be paid in addition, which can vary according to the season. If it's the RTO's daughter's wedding, it can perhaps match the official fee even.

In the first place, why should the official fee be so high, when these operators are meeting a need, in the basic infrastructure services sector, that the government does not have the capacity to meet? This is precisely what I meant when I posted as below in my post of the 6th Nov.

"The scenario being as plain and straight forward as that, one would expect of a responsible government to facilitate entry of reputed players into this vital infrastructure field. All that is needed is to amend the debilitating provisions in the CCA, or, better still, scrap the Act itself. It was possibly instituted with a view to maximising revenue. Whereas that approach may be OK for the tobacco or liquor sectors, it should never be so for infrastructure sectors, where you need more and more investments from good players."

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

HC order needs to be checked

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P Ravi Kumar, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, reading a High Court Order said that the difference between the two permits was in the intention of travelling.

“In case of contract carriages, the intention is to travel together to a marriage or family function, a religious or political function,” he said.

From the news item, it isn't clear if there is a HC order that explicitly states what Mr P Ravi Kumar is quoted to have said (in bold above). Whilst the HC order may have correctly interpreted "the intention of travelling", does it really state what Mr P Ravi Kumar is saying? i.e. does the order state that the "intention of travelling" must be confined to "marriage or family function, a religious or political function"?

A reading of the "contract carriage" definition in MV Act does not seem to suggest what the Principal Secretary has said since it says "motor vehicle which carries a passenger or passenger or passengers for hire or reward and is engaged under a contract, whether expressed or implied".

So, the HC could not have made such interpretations by what is in the Act & it appears that the principal secretary is adding his own comments.

abidpqa's picture

There is no need for removing

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There is no need for removing seats for making emergency doors. Collapsible or removable seats can be used. The main emergency exit in Volvo is the big glass itself, the option may need to be added to the law. Removing seats in BMTC buses for emergency door is really reducing passenger comfort and just a show.

If they cannot operate without paying hafta, they should stop operating as lawabiding citizens do.  Instead, they add more so they can violate other laws such as speed limits, emergency doors, tax violation. MV Act may be a factor, but there are many obstacles in running legitimate interstate buses like checkposts, etc. What we need is law and order, and interstate trains!  It is confusing, Private players are already there, still benefits are not available except luxury at arbitrary unregulated cost. What is needed enviroment for all players big or small.

MaheshK's picture

Stick to the topic, please

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Where in the article it says that there are no bus services? - - - This has nothing to do with the bus service

"I wonder if a person making such a comment has ever travelled outside a city other than in a car"

My question was where in the article it says that there are no bus services? If you cannot understand this simple, then this is beyond me. When I pointed it out, you became defensive. I think you can do better than this.

Vasanth's picture

JNNURM funded buses not allowed to enter Mangalore

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JNNURM funded buses not allowed to enter Mangalore.

 

More here:

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report-jnnurm-funded-buses-not-allowed-in-mangalore-1924567

 

murali772's picture

mafia raaj, all the way

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Excerpts from the DNA report:

Successive divisional controllers of KSRTC Mangalore division have appealed to the deputy commissioners right from 1991 to cancel the order. In a globalised situation, foreign companies are allowed to operate freely in the market, but a company of the Indian government is not able to operate in Mangalore.

In the very same globalised world, in Bengaluru and most of the rest of the state, the government mafia does everything to perpetuate its monopoly. Besides, it uses JnNurm to push out Bendre Nagara Sarige, which was otherwise doing a fairly good job, in Hubli-Dharwar (check this).

It's one mafia against another.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

difficult case

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@ Mahesh K - Does it require a newspaper to tell anyone that there are no bus services? As for doing better, I doubt I can say the same for you.

Muralidhar Rao
MaheshK's picture

Dont Assume or Imagine

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Murali sir,

Here we go again! With all due respect, please stick to the truth. Just because they were transported in a goods vehicle does not mean that there is no bus service. Please dont assume, imagine, conclude and push your views on others.

murali772's picture

do enjoy your freedom of thought

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@ Mahesh K - When, even between as important towns as Hubli and Karwar, people are complaining of inadequate bus services (check here), where will you have any worthwhile services in as remote places as the ones in question? Even the ones you may have, will be licenced under Contract Carriage Act (if licenced at all - in fact, that goods carrier was operating as an unlicenced bus service), which will again mean it will be operated by some mafioso, using junked SRTC buses, since no operator worth his name will want to operate under the severe constraints.

Now, if you want to accept these views, well and good. If not, please stick to your views; I'll stick to mine - let's stop boring others. Whatever, I have no interest in imposing my views on others, least of all on you.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

endorsement, and danger thereof

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I filed a query, under RTI, with the Transport Dept, the text being as below:

Reproduced below are extracts of definitions from the M V Act 1988 (http://www.tn.gov.in/sta/...):

2(7) “contract carriage” means a motor vehicle which carries a passenger or passengers for hire or reward and is engaged under a contract, whether expressed or implied, for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum –
(a) on a time basis, whether or not with reference to any route or distance; or
(b) from one point to another, and in either case, without stopping to pick up or set down passengers not included in the contract anywhere during the journey, and includes –

2(40) “stage carriage” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey.

I expect the above imply that, quite like in the case of the Jabbar Travlels and National Travels buses involved in the recent accidents, all the travel agencies that are

a) issuing individual tickets to passengers
b) picking up passengers enroute, who are not on the original passenger list

are in violation of the rules. Please confirm.


The response may be accessed here. By calling it an "endorsement", and mentioning in the subject line as "confirmation regarding the violation of contract carriages operating as stage carriages by issuing individual tickets to passengers", I expect, it clearly means that it was this aspect of the law that the two operators were in violation of.

The danger here then is that insurance companies can deny compensation to the victims on the basis of this violation. It will be interesting to find out what the actual position is.

But, equally important is the fact that no operator worth his name will want to operate bus services under such crippling conditions, leading to it all landing in the lap of the "riff-raff sector", in the process, giving the "private sector" a bad name, and helping perpetuate the government monopoly.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

relevant exchanges in mail groups

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NS: may be it would be worth while to check up whether the bus builder has cot some corners to reduce the cost.

Me: The buses involved here are the Volvo's - easily the costliest buses in the country, and costlier by some 5 times the regular TATA/ Leyland buses. As such, they have been targeting a different market segment altogether. To think that they would resort to cutting corners here is rather preposterous

MK: If private operators find the conditions crippling then who forces them to sign the contract?

Me: Yes, that's why respectable private players (like TVS, who started off as bus service providers in Madurai) have kept away from the scene, providing an opportunity for what I have termed the "riff-raff sector", the likes of Ponty Chaddha of Delhi (he died later, though) to grab it all. He will grab it, and pay his way through. In fact, even the relatively respectable players (in the South) like VRL, KPN, Durgamba, Kallada, etc too are doing quite the same.

MK: The issue is too fundamental and serious to be compartmentalized into private and public enterprises or interests.

Me: In fact, this is the essence of the issue. And, that's how the government mafia has kept the reputed private players out, in order to perpetuate their vested interests. Comments like this only tend to obfuscate the issue, and perpetuate the status quo.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

archaic acts and their hugely ill effects

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While Karnataka remains indulgent towards errant private bus operators, Andhra Pradesh is seizing buses from Bangalore violating permit laws.

Many Karnataka buses hold
contract carriage permits, which means they are meant for tourists and not regular passengers. They violate rules and issue tickets. Over the last three months, since the fire in a Volvo bus that killed 53 passengers in Mehboobnagar, transport authorities in that state have been cracking down on bus operators violating stage and contract carriage permits.

Andhra Regional Transport officals have seized at least 1,500 buses from different states. About 300 buses are now parked in Hyderabad and 200 in Rangareddy district. Many of these buses are from Karnataka.

- - - Soon after the Volvo fire, Transport Commissioner K Amarnarayana had told Express that violations of permits have been taking place for long. “Although there are checkposts, unless people cooperate, there is no way to monitor permit violations,” he said. He also claimed that there weren’t enough inspectors to check the violations.

“We have brought 90 per cent of the violations in check and will continue the drive,” said Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy.


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

The Contract Carriage licence allows only for operations like taking a bunch of school children out on an excursion, or transporting a marriage party to the event venue and back. As such, the regular operations of Jabbar, National and even those of the likes of VRL (who have won national recognition recently), which have a totally different character altogether, are not allowed under this Act, and are consequently illegal (Apart from other things, this jeopardises the compensation claims of the victims' families). The Act that covers their kind of operations is the Stage Carriage Act, though it being largely a state monopoly area, the licence is hard to come by.

Now, this is known to everyone concerned, though some of the operators are now pretending that they are not in the know, and expressing surprise at the action being taken by the AP RTO. Apparently, because of the political turmoil in AP, the officials are unsure of the protective cover the neta's can afford them, and are consequently playing safe. As compared to that, in Namma Karnataka, a very "helpful" minister has taken over the portfolio from the mafia kingpin of the earlier regime, and the two very obviously have a convenient "arrangement", even while belonging to different political parties. And, that's how it things have gone on all these years.

Now, public bus transport is a basic infrastructure service (as much as water supply and power supply). There is very clearly a huge shortage in supply, which the state service providers (the likes of the SRTC's and BMTC) have failed to meet in the past, and cannot ever hope to build the capacity to meet in future, either. Simultaneously, there are the likes of National, Jabbar, VRL and other operators, with ready capacity to meet the demand, but who are perforce having to resort to subterfuge to circumvent the provisions of the highly restrictive Contract Carriage Act. These apart, there are the TVS, and such reputed business houses, who are waiting in the wings to invest in this sector, where growth potential is huge, if their entry is facilitated, primarily through the dismantling of the licence-permit raaj (the repeal of the archaic Acts).

The country needs this to happen, and very badly too. Do join in to propagate this demand.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Does Medha Patkar want to effect changes?

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"The large majority of people in cities use public transport; we have contributed to public transport policies for several cities including Kolkata and Delhi" - quote from Ms Medha Patkar (AAP's candidate for South Mumbai in the forthcoming parliamentary elections) in an interview given to ToI (for the full text, click here).

So, is she aware of how the archaic Contract Carriage Act and Stage Carriage Act have been used by the state governments in the South to keep respectable bus transport players like VRL, KPN, Durgamba, etc on tenterhooks (and the likes of TVS totally away), and bring in just mafiosos of the likes of Ponty Chaddha in Delhi, even as the largely monopoly government operators are unable to meet the ever growing demand? If she is aware, then she is party to such retrograde policies, and therefore not deserving of the votes of the suffering commuters. If she's not aware, then that's not good enough. But, at least if she commits to make the necessary changes, may be she deserves support.

Bus transport service is a key infrastructure sector, and the country can no longer afford to have the public sector monopolies messing it up the way they have been all these years, affecting the aam aadmi the most

Muralidhar Rao
pathykv's picture

BMTC Chakra Feeder Services

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The commuters are thankful for these services.
Such Feeder services are long over due for the Railway Stations- Bangalore City, Cantonment, K.R.Puram and Yeswantpur. These should have stops/bus bays close to the entrance/exit of the Railway stations.
 

K.V.Pathy

murali772's picture

long and short of it all

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About a week after I logged in the post of 16th Jan (above), the CEO of an online bus ticket booking agency called me to say that he (as also the bus operators) was in serious trouble because of his "ticketing", being noted by the Transport Commissioner (particularly of AP), as a transgression of the Contract Carriage Act, under which these buses have been licensed to operate. He wanted to know what the solutions could be.

I very plainly told him that, since hold up of the operations are too expensive to afford, the immediate solution lay in organising the operators to collect a few bagfulls of currency and striking a deal with the Transport Commissioner. And, as for a long term solution, I suggested that he and the operators back this petition (and the PIL threreof) of mine.

I didn't hear from him thereafter. The buses are back in operation, apparently. So, I conclude he has taken the first part of my suggestion.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the real killers

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Enforcement officials in transport department rubbished rumours that it was a 'non-booked trip'. The third such bus accident in the state, which left six persons charred to death and several others injured, has raised several questions on the compliance of safety directives and enforcement by the transport department.

Sources told TOI the bus is not a factory product, that it was locally built by coach builders, and the engine could have been assembled. An executive with SPR Travels also said the bus was scrapped seven months ago, but the actual owner, Santosh, chose to operate it by picking up passengers without proper bookings.

But the transport department said there were no such violations. "The vehicle is insured and has a valid fitness certificate too. The driver has a valid driving licence too," an official told TOI. However, investigations to ascertain the reason behind the fire in the engine are directed by the transport department. The officials are also trying to get details of the vehicle from the owner and operator of SPR Travels.


The department said a list of passengers is available at the starting point of the journey in Davanagere. The list was being sent to the department headquarters in Bangalore, officials said.

Despite this claim, no passenger records were found in the operator's Bangalore office on Dr Rajkumar Road in Rajajinagar. "No one is available in the booking offices in Bangalore and Davanagere," he said.

As per the order issued on November 17, after two bus infernos in Mehbubnagar and Haveri rocked the state, a copy of the passenger lists should be available at the starting and destination points, and one copy with the crew. Copies of the vehicle's documents should also be available with the crew and at the operator's headquarters.


For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

When the earlier incidents happened, the Transport Dept and RTO officials were quick to point out that the private players were operating as "Stage Carriages" even as they were licensed only as "Contract Carriages", and therefore in violation of the law. But, now that their game has got exposed, in that it is they who are responsible for perpetuating this anomally, they appear desperate to cover up for the operators.

Let the world awake to the fact that it is they and their political masters who are the real killers.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

consumer interest paramount

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The Upa Lokayukta has now taken up a case based on a complaint accusing private operators of violating permit norms and causing huge losses to the KSRTC. The complaint, filed by one Shamanna, alleges that the Transport Department is working hand-in-glove with private transporters.

At the hearing on Monday, KSRTC officials said the Transport Department should take action against private buses which have a contract carriage permit but operate like stage carriages. A contract carriage is supposed to travel from one point to another without any stops, while a stage carriage is meant to travel on a fixed route with fixed stops by collecting fares from passengers.

- - - More than 70 representatives of private operators, including Durgamba, SRS Travels and VRL Travels, through their advocates, submitted that by way of picking up passengers, they were not violating contract carriage permit rules.

 “There were several private transporters who submitted before the Upa Lokayukta. Some of us who run long route night buses submitted that there was no violation by picking up passengers before leaving the starting point in a contract carriage. For example, a Mangalore-bound night buses doesn’t stop anywhere in between after passing Bangalore city and these buses are not boarded by other passengers in between. We are operating just the way KSRTC night buses operate. We will also submit in the next hearing how KSRTC buses ply without any permit,” Sadananda Chatra, General Secretary, Karnataka State Tourist Bus Operators Association, told Express.     


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

The complainant, Mr Shamanna, is probably making a genuine point. But, what he doesn't seem to appreciate is that far more revenue is being lost through pilferages, and other corrupt practices, inevitable in a government operation, a monopoly at that.

As such, Mr Shamanna would do well to bother with what is in the best interest of the consumer. Looking from that perspective, the question that needs to raised is why should the government be constraining the private operations, through use of archaic acts, when its monopoly operators cannot meet the ever growing demand. Equally important - why should there be monopolies in today's world?
 

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

far more revenue is being

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far more revenue is being lost through pilferages, and other corrupt practices

Please provide stats /reports (if any) to support this claim.

why should the government be constraining the private operations, through use of archaic acts, when its monopoly operators cannot meet the ever growing demand. Equally important - why should there be monopolies in today's world?

Inter-city bus services are not a monoploy anywhere in the country & as stated earlier, if they pick up passengers at several points within a city & similarly drop them off at multiple points at the destination city, they are not in violation of 'contract carriage' rules, as Mr Sadananda Chatra states. However, if they pick up passengers at intermediate points (between origin & destination cities), they are in violation of 'contract carriage' rules & deserve to be penalized. Unfortunately, majority of them do this.

Why do private operators always choose 'contract carriage' license when most of them operate as 'stage carriers'? Why cannot they opt for 'stage carrier' licenses & operate buses legally in line with existing laws?

Most buses opt for 'contract carriage' licenses instead of 'stage carrier' permits because this allows them to get away from declaring their intended routes & timings. When they get penalised for violations, they claim that 'contract carriage' rules are archaic. BTW govt (as regulator) has the right & must seek information about bus routes /times of operation etc when issuing 'stage carrier' permits since they would need to monitor the number of services along specific routes.

murali772's picture

what's the debate all about?

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@ Naveen - Why do private operators always choose 'contract carriage' license when most of them operate as 'stage carriers'? Why cannot they opt for 'stage carrier' licenses & operate buses legally in line with existing laws?

Simply because the government does not issue licenses, as territories other than South Kanara, a few other adjoining areas, and some specified routes, are declared as monopoly areas reserved for government operators.

My own application was rejected on the above basis, and I was instead offered license for contract carriage operation. When I declined, and was leaving the office (Office of the Transport Commissioner), an official followed me outside to say that I could take the license as contract carriage, and operate as stage carriage, like everyone else is doing.

If the government is issuing stage carriage licenses, there is no debate at all.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Debate is not about city transport

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government does not issue licenses, as territories other than South Kanara, a few other adjoining areas, and some specified routes, are declared as monopoly areas reserved for government operators.

My own application was rejected on the above basis

Your application was for a bus service within Bangalore & not inter-city. So, please stop mixing things just to continue your argument about so called "archaic laws". Are you sure that a 'stage carrier' application for inter-city services will be declined by govt? Why do they have the 'stage carrier' provision for private operators at all if they do not issue them?

Also, you haven't provided a shred of evidence re. your claim that "far more revenue was being lost through pilferages, and other corrupt practices".

murali772's picture

can there be some objectivity, please!

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Are you sure that a 'stage carrier' application for inter-city services will be declined by govt? Why do they have the 'stage carrier' provision for private operators at all if they do not issue them?

I called up RTO Tumkur (0816-2278473), Chamarajanagara (08226-222444), Mandya (08232-220031), and got uniform responses that issual of Stage Carriage permit for operations within their jurisdictions involves an elaborate procedure of application, survey, calling for objections from current licence holders (SRTC largely), etc, so much so, not a single new operator has come into the picture in the last five years at least. The Chamarajanagara Supdt told me categorically that there are no private operators in his area presently (it's all SRTC), while Mandya official (who picked up the phone) said that there are enough operators in his area, and fresh permits are difficult to come by. The Tumkur supdt also talked about procedures, and when asked if any fresh permits had been issued in the recent past, he was vague, and said that such info cannot be furnished on phone.

All of them suggested applying for Contract Carriage permit, but from Bangalore.

An indication of the licence-permit raaj is available from a reading of the following section from the Karnataka M V Act (accessible here)

"59. Refusal to accept application for permits.-Where the State Government by notification in the official Gazette has directed the Transport Authorities to limit the number of stage carriages generally or of any specified type under sub-section (3) of Section 71, sub-section (3) of sec-granted in any specified route and has actually  grated permits equal to the maximum number of vehicles of any class, in such area or as the case may be, on such route, the Regional Transport Authority shall notify this fact on the notice board of its office and may decline to receive area or on the route aforesaid."

Before that, I repeatedly tried the Transport Department (Bangalore) phones. But, not one of the many listed was picked up.

Archaic laws

Any law that had its origins on the basis of assumptions which are not relevant today, and in addition obstructs provision of good services to the public, would fall into this category.

Also, you haven't provided a shred of evidence re. your claim that "far more revenue was being lost through pilferages, and other corrupt practices".

Do you want to ask SB, and 135 others who have 'liked' this post, and commented on it widely too, evidence for their statements? There are plenty more all over Praja.

Now, Mr Naveen, please understand that  there is a general consensus amongst Prajagalu that the monopoly government operators can't meet the demand effectively, and therefore the private players have to come in, sooner the better. However, perhaps what most feel is that my 'aggressive' stance may work in the opposite direction, and, as such, they would like to pursue it through softer ways. However, there is no conflict there whatsoever.

As compared to that, you seem to be on a different track altogether - how best to retain the status quo, even with enough people having effectively countered your views, and not just on this issue.

I try to avoid responding to you. But, even that, you choose to make difficult.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Consensus

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Mr Murali

You do not need to respond if you do not wish. I counter your claims as I find them flawed with biases & skewed excessively in favor of private bus operators from the beginning.

For example, you asserted that "far more revenue was being lost through pilferages and other corrupt practices" & Mr Shammanna should have taken this into consideration like as if there were published stats on this somewhere instead of making it clear that this was your own view - even now, you are reluctant to admit this & claim that since others liked your post, it must be fact.

Govt as regulator will need rules & laws to monitor the number of services & timings for stage carriers & it may be true that the rules might need updating since travel demands have shot up as cities have grown. Fact is, rules by themselves are not as flawed as their application & enforcement is - but you choose to resort to terms like License permit raj, archaic etc without looking at them objectively nor assessing them from every possible angle. Instead you see them only through the eyes of private bus operators & how best it can promote their interests rather than the interests of the general public.

Local RTOs in towns like Tumkur, Chamarajanagar etc are not in a position to issue inter-city stage-carrier permits since they are small pass-through cities & hence might not have such powers. In my opinion, licenses for inter-city stage carriers must be applied for at origin & destination cities. For example, if a license is to be applied for a Bangalore-Mysore stage carrier bus, the license should be applied at either Bangalore or Mysore.

What they call survey might actually mean an assessment as to how many stage carriers are in operation & an evaluation if new licenses can be issued for the route & at particular timings or not based on demand, but then govt mechanisms are so pathetic that no govt official wants to make any of these provisions work properly. Where it does work, it results in favoritism & bribery - this has been the problem, at least in as far as Mangalore /DK dist are concerned that I know of. I suspect it may be the same elsewhere too. Calling for objections from other operators is needless as it should be the job of the tranport dept itself to assess demands & services needed - so, this clause might need to be discarded since every other operator whether public or private will object of course.

The real solution lies in govt developing capacity & expertise to assess transport demands & finding transparent ways for issuing licenses for stage carriers - perhaps online & accessible to public as well. All the arm twisting by powerful bus operators (some of whom are politicians), their unions & manipulation must also be tackled, but this is going to need someone in the right position in govt with a lot of guts & determination.

Private buses have demonstrated (in Mangalore & DK dist, at least) how well they can manipulate govt officials that come in their path through bribery & coercion, not to mention resorting to delaying trains & arm twisting even local traffic police with threats by unions - all such possibilities will need to be addressed & safeguards taken.

I'm sure the consensus that you speak of is along these lines & not for welcoming private buses without tackling all of these issues first & foremost.

pathykv's picture

CONSENSUS

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I do not think that Mr. Murali is arguing on behalf of private operators or for his own self.

Whatever he is fighting for is in the interest of prajaas, especially the bus commuters and those who are being squeezed out of the buses by making the fares unaffordable.

The consensus is to  make the system competetive by allowing parallel operation by private operators with necessary checks and balances.

Only then the competition will improve efficiency, bring fares down and most important ,will make transport available wherever it is needed.

I have seen this working well in Tamilnadu.

K.V.Pathy

MaheshK's picture

Need to have both

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In the last few months I have been traveling in KSRTC and KSTDC buses. So far they have been  good. In my recent trip to south kanara, the KSRTC volvo bus started early by 15 minutes as the bus was full and every passenger was there. Why wait they thought and left early. Looks like the private operators are giving a run for the money. This has improved the govt services.  

Naveen's picture

Compare like for like

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I do not think that Mr. Murali is arguing on behalf of private operators or for his own self.

Whatever he is fighting for is in the interest of prajaas, especially the bus commuters and those who are being squeezed out of the buses by making the fares unaffordable.

The consensus is to  make the system competetive by allowing parallel operation by private operators with necessary checks and balances.

Only then the competition will improve efficiency, bring fares down and most important ,will make transport available wherever it is needed.

I have seen this working well in Tamilnadu.

Mr Pathy,

Your comparison of transport in small towns & rural TN with urban transport in Bangalore or for that matter any large city is inappropriate. Compare like for like - Bangalore transport can be compared with Chennai transport, not transport in rural TN. Last time when I queried, you gave example of private vans for temple circuits in rural TN /small towns - this is not a comparable example.

I hope you are aware of what happened in Delhi with competition with the likes of Red & Blue lines as also what is happening in Mangalore city. Competition on streets in cities will only lead to unsafe traffic & poor quality of buses with poor maintenance. If service quality has to improve with competition by involving private operators, BRT is the only option & that too with only one operator in one route, else they will wrestle on the bus lanes & kill passengers.

The quality of buses in Chennai, though with cheaper tickets is very poor. BMTC buses are much better maintained. For better quality buses, ticket cost is bound to be higher. Ticket prices on BEST in Mumbai are similar to Bangalore & this had been brought out in earlier discussions. If fares are reduced, quality of buses will be poorer & majority of the general public in Bangalore may not like that. For those that cannot afford normal buses, there is the option of Aatal Saarige which is cheaper than even TN buses.

My experience in Chennai using public transport has been worse than that in Bangalore since buses are very much over-crowded & of poor quality. Share vans /autos generally fleece the public (they had demanded 100-odd rs for 3km). So, in what way has competition improved things in Chennai? Please don't quote TN for comparison.

I am told that traffic police is now enforcing meter fares for autos in Chennai. Though I am still to experience it, this is something positive & hope it succeeds.

Naveen's picture

Competition not in Urban transport

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In the last few months I have been traveling in KSRTC and KSTDC buses. So far they have been  good. In my recent trip to south kanara, the KSRTC volvo bus started early by 15 minutes as the bus was full and every passenger was there. Why wait they thought and left early. Looks like the private operators are giving a run for the money. This has improved the govt services.

If the bus is already full & since there are no other competing a/c services between Manipal & Mangalore, how are private operators giving a run for the money to KSRTC?

Competition does not always result in better services for users. This is especially true with urban transport.

You may not be aware, but the private bus lobby in DK district had earlier forced the authorities to stop Manipal-Mangalore volvo buses because it was too well patronized. This even though none of the private buses offer a/c services. The KSRTC volvo services had resumed after commuter organizations (like Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti) had protested & complained to district officials.

Also, see this link for more about Mangalore private bus lobby - the complaints against private buses is getting louder there with each passing day.

pathykv's picture

CONSENSUS

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No system, public sector or private sector can be expected to be perfect. We have to choose the lesser evil, under the circumstances. In States like Tamilnadu the poorer sections are provided affordable transport both in urban and rural areas (Madurai,Trichy, Coimbatore, Thanjavur etc. are not rural). Surely even the ordinary buses are improving in quality as I see during my frequent visits.( I invariably travel by public transport only, whether in Bangalore, Chennai or other cities/towns/rural areas).

The  basic problem for Bangalore is BMTC are not able to satisfy the increasing demand for affordable transport. One way is to deploy private sector. If this is anathema to some,alternatives may be suggested. The present state of affairs, denying the basic transport facility for lower income groups cannot continue.

(In todays President's speech to Parliament, top priority fo public transport is mentioned).

K.V.Pathy

 

Naveen's picture

Subsidies have limits

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Again -- Madurai, Trichy Thanjavur etc are in no way comparable with Bangalore. Vehicle population in Bangalore is probably several times higher than human population in those cities. I quoted Delhi & Chennai as examples, but you choose to ignore & talk only about Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Thanjavur etc. As I said, please compare only like for like & not what may have seemed to appear good to you in some smaller cities. Even in a small city like Mangalore, people are fed up with private buses because of the ridiculous competition on streets that adds to congestion & unsafe roads - fares are no lesser either for a city of that size.

Choose the lesser evil ... is very true. Agreed BMTC cannot satisfy the travel demands for a city as huge as Bangalore. For that matter buses alone (whether public or private or a combination) will never be sufficient for such a huge city. This is why rail based solutions are being pursued (like Metro & Suburban rail). If costs have to be cut down with competition in such a large city with so much traffic, services will become sub-standrad & road conditions will deteriorate. It will become highly unsafe & chaotic.

The only alternative to improving efficiencies with bus services is with BRT, but fares may not necessarily reduce. If there is so much demand for affordable transport as you say, Ataal Saarige services would have been increased, but majority are still traveling by ordinary services paying current fares.

President's speech spoke of priority for public transport, not heavily subsidised cheap transport. TN may believe in heavy subsidies (they are also giving away free gas cookers, TVs etc to buy votes). Subsidies must have limits, especially when fuel costs have been increasing.

Vasanth's picture

National Level Policy for JNNURM funds

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I personally feel that we need a national level policy for ticket pricing based on the population, average income, Metro City / Tier 1/2/3. Only those who adhere to such conditions should be granted JNNURM funds.

I travelled extensively in BMTC. Volvos especially have become very expensive. Blame it to 5 rupees rounding in its fare. Any hike in bus fares, there is 5 rupees jump in volvo fare. In 2009, fare between BSK III Stage to Marathalli Bridge was 26/-, in 2012 it had reached 50/-, now it is 80/-.

I recently took a Volvo from BSK III Stage to Nayandahalli which is hardly 3 kms. I was charged Rs. 35 in 500K. 1 month back, when I travelled in 500KE, it was only Rs.15. Not sure if the conductor is charging the right amount, or is it the discrepancy in the fare for different buses. Also, after reaching Mysore, I travelled in KSRTC city volvo 401 to Nanjangud which is 24kms. They charged only Rs.35 and again to Chamundi Hills from CBS in Volvo 201 where I was charged only Rs.28.

Buses in Mysore were very well maintained compared to Bangalore with no awkward sounds from engine and suspension. Also driver was getting an alert if he crosses 60 via GPS. Buses in Mysore is also trackable on Mitra website, SMS and IVRS. These facilities are lacking in Bangalore. BMTC Volvos are frequently failing as we have seen all over the city.

There is a problem with BMTC management which needs to be cleaned up. None of the Governments, former BJP or current Congress is taking it up. Mr.Kumarswamy when was ChiefMinister only showed keen interest on Volvos and BMTC.
Naveen's picture

Too much subsidy too bad, Jnnurm closed

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I think national uniformity for city bus fares based on city size is impractical since fares are state subject dependent on fuel taxes, fuel transportation costs etc which are different for different cities /states. Some broad guidelines by CG may be possible. For metro rail, a fare fixation committee is being planned in view of Reliance's demand for 40rs fare for just 11km. BTW Jnnurm scheme has been closed by NDA govt.

I agree volvo fares in  Bangalore are the highest. Even KSRTC volvo bus between Manipal & Mangalore (some 60-odd km) costs less than what I pay between HAL & SBC (about 12km). But I don't think ordinary bus fares are too high since Mumbai fares are similar.

Chennai fares are the cheapest in the country (even cheaper than Kolkata), but then Chennai's amma is dishing out sop after sop - right from subsidized transport to amma & thatha canteens to free gas cookers to TVs to salt now. Such subsidy on every item will ruin the state's economy & I don't think Karnataka should emulate any of what TN practices.

pathykv's picture

Public transport for the poor

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For any suggestion reasons are put forth why it cannot be done.

Yet to see any positive proposals to mitigate the sufferings of lower income commuters who are denied affordable transport which is the basic purpose of public sector. Neither they are capable of doing it themselves nor agrreing to allow others who are willing.

K.V.Pathy

Naveen's picture

Mr Pathy, I mentioned earlier

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Mr Pathy,

I mentioned earlier about BMTC's Aatal Saarige. Are you aware of this service? Here is a link: http://mybmtc.com/service...

Vasanth's picture

Problem with 1st and 2nd Stage

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Naveen, thanks for the info on closure of JNNURM. Ordinary bus fares are OK for long distances, but for shorter distances, especially Stage 1 and 2 are very expensive. Stage 2 is twice that of Stage 1 and one has to pay double for 200-300 mts.

For instance, from my home to DG Petrol Bunk where I catch my office shuttle, fare is Rs.12 in few buses and Rs.6 in few buses (all ordinary). If I take an auto it is 25. Stage fares needs to be redefined and I think we are paying 3-4 rs extra for first two stages.
pathykv's picture

Atal Saarige

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No information in the BMTC website about routes and timings of Atal Saarige. Is it still running?

K.V.Pathy

murali772's picture

height of obstinacy

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@Naveen

claim that since others liked your post, it must be fact.

The post was by SB, and not by me (I had mentioned this originally too).

Let us try and understand the fundamental differences between our stances. I am for a liberal regime, where both PSU's as well as private players are allowed to operate on a level playing field (it can even be sloped slightly in favour of the PSU's), all overseen by a regulator, whose job will be more to facilitate healthy competition, while keeping consumer interest foremost, than exercising unnecessary and debilitating controls. As compared to that, apparently out of some fear psychosis you seem to have developed about private players in Mangalore, you want perpetuation of a "nanny" state, controlling everything about the bus services, without bothering to appreciate the fact that it is this nanny approach of the state that has been responsible for all the ills of the Mangalore operations. It is to their credit that, inspite of it all, they provide largely better services than the PSU operators.

The talk by Mr J P Gupta, IAS, Commissioner for Transport, Govt of Gujarat, in the opening session, was the highlight of the event as far as I was concerned. He stated that the biggest problem facing the bus transport servivces sector was the messed up licensing and regulatory regime prevailing in the country. Elaborating further, he stated that over 80% of the buses operated by the private players (almost across the country) are licensed as "contract carriages", whereas they operate as "stage carriages" in open violation of the relevant rules. And, it is not as if the government operators can meet the demand if the private players are not there. Very clearly, therefore, there is a dire need to review the entire licensing regime in order to attract good players into the field, and thereby improve the overall quality of services.

The above excerpts are from my report on ConnectKaro event held in March this year in the city (full report may be accessed here). I had mailed the text to Mr Gupta, and got his OK before posting it. Well, when you have earlier said that the Principal Secretary, Karnataka, was talking nonsense, as also the Karnataka High Court judges, I wouldn't be surprised if you continue in the same obstinate vein about Mr Gupta too. God bless you!

PS: Atal Saarige was another of the many gimmicks that the BMTC came up with during the BJP regime, and which they folded up after it had served its limited purpose of getting them some publicity mileage.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Height of perverseness

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@Murali,

claim that since others liked your post, it must be fact.
The post was by SB, and not by me (I had mentioned this originally too).

Okay, noted.

I agree that private sector has a role to play in inter-city travel since govt alone will not be able to meet the demands. The bad state of bus services is not entirely due to ambiguities in the MV act. Even if the laws were made crystal clear, most operators would still attempt to indulge in cheating & subversion since the market is dominated by passengers with low paying ability for most part. No doubt govts will have to keep experimenting with different ways to minimize this but bus sector is the most difficult to monitor owing to the nature of the business where buses are "here today, elsewhere tomorrow".

So, please stop imagining & day-dreaming about "good players" - there are few in the field & this ratio will change little & be incremental because most from the customer base cannot afford travel by premium services & additions will be slow. Under the present conditions with greed, corruption & low-fare seeking passengers, it will take several decades to entirely cleanse the system even if laws are made spot on since govt officials, cops & buses will keep inventing newer & newer methods to circumvent rules. Besides, monitoring inter-state operations needs co-ordination between states that has always been found wanting.

For urban city transport, private operators are never a solution anywhere in the world unless segregated busways are built. Else private buses will block lanes, indulge in speeding to pick passengers, run down 2-wheelers & pedestrians, stop or delay services when passengers are few & create huge chaos on roads. We have already seen all of this in Delhi & continue seeing it in Mangalore, Kochi etc. These are the realities - ability of traffic police to check these has limits & will never be enough, going by global examples. Even cops & licensing authorities will cash in on the mayhem, caring little for commuters.

And, please stop repeatedly attempting to spread false rumours without proof. Are all of the news items about repeated complaints against Mangalore bus operators & road safety imaginary? Is public blocading private buses in Mangalore imaginary? Is over-crowding & stopping services short when buses are not full imaginary? Is harsh criticism against private buses by almost all individuals also imaginary? Recently, my sister (who lives in Mangalore) was mentioning that Mangalore-Udipi highway has the maximum number of accidents in the country despite being 4-laned.

If you continue not to acknowledge all of these as facts, then maybe even god can't help you! These are realities too. So, since you seem to know too little about Mangalore bus services & continue to chant that they are "creditable" just because you wish it were so, please read up & pay more attention to what Mangaloreans say. Private bus operators in Mangalore are a hated lot & public ire may throw all of them out some day soon - Mangaloreans are already saying this - please read from daijiworld.com, mangalorean.com etc. I do not have time to keep posting public opinions any more since you are not just obstinate, but stubborn & perverse in your thinking.

pathykv's picture

Bus service

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Again another long posting giving excuses why 'nothing can be done'.

Please give something positive to mitigate the sufferings of majority of commuters (who have become non-commuters due to unaffordable fares).

Atal Saarige not to be seen anywhere, if at all it is running.

K.V.Pathy

Naveen's picture

Read again

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Again another long posting giving excuses why 'nothing can be done'.

Please give something positive to mitigate the sufferings of majority of commuters (who have become non-commuters due to unaffordable fares).

Atal Saarige not to be seen anywhere, if at all it is running.

K.V.Pathy

Mr Pathy

Can you read or not? The long post was in response to another long post before that.

And I am not here to give you or anyone something. I am only attempting to bring to light the ground realities that some are hell bent on pretending they do not understand.

Ataal Saarige may have been stopped. If there is a majority of non-commuters, why don't you join them too or take the lead & organize a hartal in front of BMTC for low fares or free travel now that rail fares have also been increased steeply?

pathykv's picture

The ground realities

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'bring to light the ground realities'

Others are also well grounded ( I am on Bus floor 99% of the time).

And people who claim to know ground realities are not even aware that there is no such thind as Atal saarige.

There are groups like Bus prayaanikara Vedike who are agitating in front of BMTC office.

I think Praja works at a different level.

K.V.Pathy

Naveen's picture

Non-commuters or on bus floors?

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I am on Bus floor 99% of the time.

And people who claim to know ground realities are not even aware that there is no such thind as Atal saarige.

There are groups like Bus prayaanikara Vedike who are agitating in front of BMTC office.

And people who stated that they have become "non-commuters" are now claiming to be on bus floors 99% of the time, but they do not even know that there was a service called Ataal Saarige.

Such people who always crib about buses (fares, services etc) must either stop using buses or join bus prayaanikara vedike & agitate with them rather than grumbling here repeatedly.

pathykv's picture

Grumbling

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Praja members know who is grumbling.

K.V.Pathy

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