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Bangalore Auto Transit Authority

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Autos in Bangalore are at a minimum Rs 44crore/annum business*, employ atleast 30,000 people directly**, and have a transportation model that most public transit systems will kill for. Yet autos and their drivers are known for all the wrong reasons. I hypothesize, because they have got the organization all wrong.

Also Read: Reva and Autorickshaw

Attempting some sociology, auto drivers and BMTC drivers and conductors come from similar backgrounds, do similar jobs, get stuck in the same traffic, yet auto drivers get sucked into all sorts of useless agendas and get a lot of grief from all and sundry while BMTC drivers go home to hope and a dream.

Further, they do not enjoy any organized training or eduction in either driving or in customer service like BMTC drivers do.

Organized as loosely as they are nobody amongst them can talk about how auto industry will look like in 10 years, how they performed collectively in the current year, or how they can grow, the way a BMTC can. Similarly, they cannot innovate directly or through industry, the way BMTC does with bio fuels and with trying to go public, or with getting volvo to customize products for them.

Currently, they are organized for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being organized to improve their own lot and to expand their business and instead of thinking of themselves as an industry, they are organized under groups that pursue useless agendas. What has being a fan of a movie star, or a language group got to do with being an invaluable part of public transit and in being an entrepreneur in the public transit pie? (which i am guessing is atleast 1000 crore market, BMTC itself is a 800 crore business).

Autos are sitting on a landmine of a business model. They are the smallest possible unit of public transit. If we use an auto, we share a transportation resource. We use a vehicle already on the road to get all the advantages of private transit. That way we don't add an extra vehicle on the road and yet enjoy a door to door service that other modes can only dream of.

Organizing under a public transit authority, or even their own Auto Transport Organization(AUTO) customers get min service levels and pricing guarantees. City gets an opportunity to control connectivity, to centralize training and to control proliferation. They can innovate with service ideas. They can collaborate with other agencies. They can court new players and force monopolies like Bajaj to innovate. More importantly drivers get an opportunity to improve their lives by enjoying the type of perks, stability, and dignity that BMTC drivers enjoy. Obviously my numbers are over conservative, however, non polluting autos, embedded in within a unifying structure can play an important role in Bangalore's public transit. --------------------------------------

Footnotes: *According, to the traffic survey conducted by RITES for Bangalore Metro, it is estimated that there are about 3.4 lakh trips by autos in bangalore/day. which constitute about 7 percent of all trips.

It is not clear if these 3.4 lakhs also includes goods carrier type autos. lets assume 60 percent of these are actually passenger auto trips, thats about 2 lakh trips. of these let us assume only half are hired trips, thats about 1 lakh trips. lets assume all these are minimum trips. that is 12rs/trip * 1 lakh trip/day thats about 12lakh rs/day. 12 lakh/day*365 days/year = 43.8 crore rs/year business running on minimum fare.

**According to EIA of Bangalore Metro there are 71,000 autos. Assuming that only half of these are passenger autos, and discounting multi auto owners, there are atleast 30,000 people employed in the auto industry.


Sailor's picture


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Fascinating Statistics
roshanrk's picture

Interesting idea. This would

126 users have liked.
Interesting idea. This would definitely help both the auto drivers and the general public. I'm sure no one would have thought of something like this; a very constructive idea indeed. How do we get people in charge to think of implementing many great ideas here? There are a lot of great ideas here in the forum, all we need is a way to test the feasibility and implement them.
silkboard's picture

Mr Tripathy had hinted ...

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... that he was thinking of something like this (an auto Transit Authority). Any idea if this idea is still alive?

Will mention this to BMLTA in our next meet. Its not something that BMTC can do, but they can facilitate by partnering with autos for last mile drop in dedicated 'zones'. I think this is what Mr Tripathy's idea was. I am imagining specially paitned (red + gold) autos marked with their dedicated zones, waiting near selected bus stands to drop people around. Perhaps they will get a cut of BMTC's profits, may be they will get fixed monthly wages, either from BMTC or from an umbrella company that will partner with BMTC and emply autos.

Whatever. But this has to be though through, and idea should be pushed by those who can. Managing autos well has lots of benefits for the city, its sad the we see them as problems. 

murali772's picture

the right perception

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Excerpts from TOI (of 14/09/08) article captioned "Re 1 bus ride costs autos dear":

Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto Union, says this is a novelty and temporary phenomenon. If customers switch to other modes of transport, it’s because of the unsatisfactory service of auto drivers, he says. "It’s up to the drivers to get their share of business by displaying good service and conduct’’.

He even gives examples of commuters who use particular autos regularly as they get exemplary service from the drivers.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

social cost of autos.

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Sunita Narayan may have talked about hidden costs of cars, but have we thought of the same for autos?

  • noise
  • kerosene adulteration 
  • traffic slow down due to variable speeds
  • 'entropy' on roads due to "hungry autos". (when on the prowl for passengers, they do 5 kmph near road curbs, I have termed this phenomena as "hungry auto")
These were designed to be short haul vehicles. Its time we keep autos to their designed role and purpose.

BTW, the extra loud noise that you hear out of many auto engines is due to a "fix" they do to the engine to increase mileage by 1-1.5 km per litre. I have an audio interview of an auto driver in Pune describing the process and locations to do it (in Pune).
Vasanth's picture

Why city taxi (omni service) is so expensive?

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I always think why city taxi is so expensive? They run on LPG mostly and charge almost Rs.13 per km. Their running cost as per Maruthi ad is around Rs. 2.50 per KM. Why so much margin? This greedy nature has costed them their business.

 If this would have been say, 9 rupees per km, people would have preferred it over the auto since 4 can travel comfortably and 5 could adjust and travel. For travelling in auto for 4 members, one has to give 1.5 times the meter cost. People would have preferred it more.

I strongly believe that there is lot of hesitance and conservative nature among city taxi drivers. Earlier they were doing with airport trips. Now, they have even lost that. Very few people use city taxi service within the city. Their business is at risk. Auto business is ever green since it is easily accessible plus affordable. Omni city taxi service providers has to come out of the shell, give affordable and quality service to the public and offer competition to auto. Something is better than nothing?

silkboard's picture

key is to 'organize'

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business will grow for all if they 'collaborate'. I had suggested to the KSTDC taxi union president (ran into him at HAL airport in Dec last year, and he was cribbing about HAL closure) that they should try to work something nice out with BMTC.

Last mile travel is a big "hole" left open to whoever grabs it first. BMTC will not let you and me do some business as well as do some good to city's transportation scene by running local shuttle services. Fine, someday they will realize. But if they do something to make these autos and taxis 'organize' around BMTC's long route services, and around key bus stations (which are crowded, but can't be converted into Big-Bazaar bearing TTMCs), that will be a win win for all.

Remember, business can grow for all - BMTC, autos, taxis if we attack the money we are gifting to petrol companies everyday. Thats the chunk to "attack". comment guidelines

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