We are coming off from this debate. Idea is to leave the debate, and talk specific proposals. There have been some high level talk on the subject from Murali, asj, myself and more, which are around how to open up city transportation market, market size, and good and bad parallels for this from around the world (London, Mumbai, Delhi etc).
Murali, Naveen - I think there is a way for us to join our energies. See, the points for common grounds are:
- Need for a statewide regulator, from safety, amenites and pricing perspective. Refer these maxi cabs in Bangalore and Naveen's alleged dangerous drivers in Mangalore. Both require regulators. On amenities front, refer the contrasting bus stands (public and private) at Channapatna.
- BMTC's statement that local shuttles are unviable business. Not sure if their statement is on record, but we have heard this on some forums. Refer Murali's own business plan for Koramangala shuttles, and Narayan's old proposal about TTMC driven local shuttle serrvices.
- Poor performance of BMTC's "high-end" service - Vayu Vajra. Lets be fair here - BMTC tried something pro-actively and with good intentions - it assumed something anyone else would - that air travellers will need nice a/c buses. And this was a destination oriented service. But it hasn't worked. Whether its pedestrians or top company executives, people are either dying or getting hurt on NH-7 every other week, and Airport vajras haven't seen good uptake for same reasons we discuss so often - bus stands, information about services, time it takes relative to a taxi, last mile connect, bus interchange problems etc.
Now, our goal is common - make about 15-20% of car commuter shift to buses. Or, have BMTC/PT carry 55-60% of city's commuters. Right?
Now again, why would BMTC (or Minister Ashok) be apprehensive about opening up local transportation sector in Karnataka? Two possible things, right?
- Worry about BMTC employees losing jobs
- Possible mistaken notion that citizens at large may not like the change, basically, a belief that there are more Naveens and Vinay Baindurs than Murali or idontspam or Pranav or whoever.
With things laid down like above, wonder if we can lay down some clear and tangible proposals, like, say:
- Opening up local shuttle services?
- BMTC withdrawing from some routes to focus on trunk routes - TTMC to TTMC comnectivity?
- BMTC dividing city into zones, and auctioning routes for each zones with terns and regulations that include pricing guidelines as well?
- BMTC keeping destination oriented routes, and auctioning off direction based routes (Big10, upcoming circle routes) to private players.? Or Vice-versa.
And along with either of above, a constant would be for either KSRTC or DULT or BMTC itself (since it is the local transportation guru) to play the statewide regulator for urban local transportation.
Once we write some clear and little more doable proposals (compared to drastic ones that can't drive conversations like - sell BMTC off, or dismantle BMTC), I think we can try approach Ministers and Transport Secretary or whoever to lobby for them.