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Stratified BMTC service & Making profits with deficient service

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BusPublic Transport

BMTC has of late adopted a highly stratified approach in discharging its social obligation in providing efficient service at economical rates to the commuters; its profits have soared because the most of the time the engines of the fully loaded or overloaded buses are switched off at most of the traffic hold ups - their failure and inefficiency in keeping up the running time and fulfilling the prescribed running schedules are open to examination and must be subjected to an indepth audit to reveal the anotomy of BMTC's profit making methods.

Ordinary Buses:

Most of the ordinary buses catering to the majority of the commuters are unkempt,

window glasses are either broken or dirty and untouchable with dried vomit sticking on the glass panels, on the floor and outside the windows,

floors are not swept and lots of dirt keeps circulating inside the bus endangering the health of commuters and creating allergic conditions,

drivers seat and his area of operation are despicable,

first aid box does not exist or if it exists, is either empty or god knows what is inside,

poor visibility of name boards, front board shows a destination and the back board shows some other destination,

name board does not have a proper light,

lighting inside the bus is very dim and we have seen conductor struggling to remove proper change from his bag or to make entries,  

most of red board buses running on mofusil routes are old rickety buses that rattle and make horrible sounds,

they are withdrawn periodically to the workshop to get a fresh coat of paint over the peeling paint only in the interiors,

 those who are sitting in the front seats have to breath the unhealthy hot air that escapes through the poorly fitted rickety covers of the engine bonnet,

the list could be long.

Pushpaks: They are an apology to the name; only difference between ordinary and pushpak is their color is different but seats are almost the same - torn and patched here and there.  They also suffer from maladies -

Pushpak's  2+3 seating arrangement has no place for standing commuters, but most of them are run  on busy routes to capacity and ordinary buses are drastically reduced - clever examples:  trips to Bannerghatta National Park - it is either volvo or pushpaks or other semi-luxury type buses charging higher fares,

commuters are paying for maximum inconvenience and deficient service; one cannot be sure whether they will be able to keep up an appointment. 

Heavy investments are being made to satisfy the higher strata of our stratified society; Volvos are still running to less than half their capacity and reports keep appearing that the daily loss from Volvos is reaching a peak. 

Big 10 is the most stupid service ever introduced by a service provider in the social sector without proper planning and survey. These buses are supposed to cater to hi-end customers who have not even glanced at these ornamental toys provided to them at the cost of sweat and blood of the common commuter who is languishing to get back home as early as possible but there are no buses.

Enough is enough. Stop pampering the hi-end customers with Volvos etc., because they would prefer to travel in their fleet of cars even if it matters that they will be behind a Volvo to the same destination.  It is a matter of egoism for these 'haves'.  Given an opportunity, all of them blah, blah, blah on public platforms but does not bother to practice what they preach. Their vehicles are the guzzlers of most of the fuel and they are the culprits who emit maximum per capita CO2 and create carbon footprints of the highest order.

In the name of reducing vehicles on the road, achieving fuel economy, control of green house gases, climate change, global warming or global dimming, the common man is being put to maximum hardship with minimum services.

It is time for BMTC to go back to basics, look at the common man as their bread and butter earner, fulfil his needs and aspirations of efficient and economical travel, do not show off empty ornamental buses that makes you bleed, try to give maximum comfortable travel facilities to all without stratification between 'haves' and 'have nots'.  Give him proper bus shelters with enough information system through LED boards, do not encourage, even if it is PPP, A/C bus shelters, instead, use the money to provide some drinking water facility etc. at bus stands.

I have a travelling experience of more than 50 years in BTS/BMTC and that is my qualification for this postmartem.    

- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, 9845950440

   

  

Comments

silkboard's picture

At least one statement there is ...

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... untrue.

Saying that

"Stop pampering the hi-end customers with Volvos etc., because they would prefer to travel in their fleet of cars even if it matters that they will be behind a Volvo to the same destination."

Is a stretch. May not be true for those who have fleets of cars, but most of us with a car or two simply hate the headache of driving, managing drivers and wasting needless hours every morning. What you said is the biggest "false assumption" doing the rounds. But yes, its your word against mine.

Its not like we don't know what you have said above. Who is praising BMTC for their excellent services here? Sir, we too have eyes and ears (and nose!), and see the condition of buses everyday. Not the best (my bars are certainly high), but you went a bit overboard there - the quality of buses has gotten better. You may have ridden the buses for 50 years, but I ride them these days, and the quality of ride now is better than what it was in BTS days.

Why can't our goal be to have all of Bengaluru, regardless of their class and creed, travel in nicer buses. Are you saying that Bangaloreans don't desrve comfortable bus rides? Why is your benchmark low?

What are your ideas on fixing all of what you mentioned above?

We have talked this a lot, in fact, even had a poll here for this. Most of us said (via that poll), that we don't care that much for A/c. Just provide neat and clean and comfortable ride, and end to end connectivity. BTW, I should tell you the reason for why I ride the Volvo - their acceleration. Whitefield to city - Volvo does it faster because it has better pick up and speed on slopes etc.

Naveen's picture

I Disagree Too

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Mr.Vasanthkumar Mysoremath,

I think there are many exaggerations & assumptions made on your post.

What BMTC has been trying (even without much support from other agencies) is to at least make an attempt to "pull in" car-users to use their buses such as the volvos. Differential services have also been recommended in the National Urban Transport Policy to try to wean people away from cars, & if it loses some money, I would not blame BMTC, but commend them for at least having attempted to provide such services.

Some buses look shabby, no doubt, but the numbers are not many. I also think it is part & parcel of operating a very large fleet of over 5000 buses - some will be in poor condition.

As regards the numbering, I also agree that more attention is required to display the route/s & no/s correctly at the rear & also in both kannada & english, but again, the number of such cases of incorrect display is not alarming.

Bus shelters are built & managed by BBMP (not BMTC) & we learnt that BMTC had requested shelters in all bus-stop locations, but due to the skewed nature of PPP contracts, multiple shelters have come up at high-visibility areas whilst there are none at some areas.

Rithesh's picture

Common man is everyones priority

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Vasanthkumar Sir,

Thanks for the feedback. Your observations are very valid and true also.

But let us make this clear, we are not just pushing for better Volvo services, we want a better transportation infrastructure and that is what we aim to do with these exercises.

I completely agree with your point - common man should be the priority and will be the priority. We are working on that - please join us in these efforts. There is no point in shooting down one service just because another service is not functioning well. We will need to fix all problems.

We are in this mess because people havent raised their voices consistently, apart from cribbing and whining about it for hours with friends, how many of us have have tried to engage with the BMTC or the Transport minister - hardly any and yet we all want the best services. If we need things to change we need to change - we need to demand things in an organized and civilized manner - and consistently. 

Why dont we start an email campaign and write to out transport minister and BMTC. Lets go and pester the minister and BMTC for better services every week - please take the lead, I will assure you every support that i can give and i will join you.

Rithesh

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Good one. I like it....

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Dear SB,

Your kind quote:

"Why can't our goal be to have all of Bengaluru, regardless of their class and creed, travel in nicer buses. Are you saying that Bangaloreans don't desrve comfortable bus rides? Why is your benchmark low?"

Great yaar; good one. this is exactly the benchmark I have in mind. What we all should demand from BMTC is succintly brought out by your above quote. All of us need nice transport services at economical rates and comfortable bus rides. Let us strive to get it because it is our money that is being spent to provide services to those who do not care about it.

Thanks.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

 

 

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

It is only the crying babies that get milk....

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Dear Rithesh

Thanks. We must certainly voice our concern about deficient/stratified services to the common man by BMTC. It is the poorest of the poor man who will be the happiest person if a clean and a comfortable bus is provided for his travel to his work place at economical rate. We cannot wish away the gap between the rich and the poor. It is akin to the two rails on which our democratic train runs -  They never meet.  This does not mean that poor must get poorer service.  Rich know how to get what they want but a service sector like BMTC going overboard to provide comforts to those who do not care is something that cannot be fathomed as a democratic social service at the cost of the common man.

Bye for now,

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath    

idontspam's picture

Misplaced generosity?

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Rich know how to get what they want but a service sector like BMTC going overboard to provide comforts to those who do not care is something that cannot be fathomed as a democratic social service at the cost of the common man

If you believe it is the rich who are campainging to get BMTC you are wrong. Given a chance most people who can afford to own cars like me will clamour for freeways in the city. Why then are we sitting here asking for BMTC and Public Transport and attempting to get our colleagues to adopt sustainable practices?

sanjayv's picture

A car turned bus user

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silkboard's picture

Good babies don't cry

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Mysore sir, if you are indulging in old fashioned socialist talk that Rich should subsidize more and more services for poor, many may not agree. If "Rich know how to get what they want" was true, we wouldn't have so many problems in Bangalore today (airport miles away, roads clogged, expensive petrol, 11 PM shut down on fun).

Its not that only the poor are getting poorer service, we are all getting poorer services.

I am not syaing that the socialist talk is not good. Providing multi tier services with equal attention to both is one way of addressing everyone. Poor are empowered by providing them equal opportunities, not by talking down the so called Rich people.

To me, true socialism is in thinking about everyone. Old fashioned one is playing the Rich vs Poor game.

Bus itself is supposedly "not for the riches" thing. Its heartening to see that the rich/poor thing has come down in this domain as well :)

Jusr curious - whats your definition of Rich? Are you rich or poor? If BMTC is indeed a loss making company (I think it is), who is paying to cover for the losses - us "Riches" only, alva!? Should we leave the job of  tracking our tax Rupees to others?

srinathbava's picture

As for as my opinon goes

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As for as my opinon goes ..... sir vasantkumar is being using the bmtc for past 50 yrs. 50 yrs ... he has been pulled here and there from the deficent service. so, suddenly when he sees bmtc focus shifting to volvo buses, instead of improving their basic service ... he gets angry and that's natural. 
But, that's not the end of story. Bangalore is growing. People no longer have patience. They want everything to be fast. Now, time is equated with money. As,  a result ... people have started using their own vechiles, Result traffic. This has back-fired the bmtc.. Just look for a moment .......  a service ... only pubic transport service availabe even today .... is making a cry to use its service. We can see how things are going out of hand. So, the one way to get out from this dead-lock is to give a luxurious service, so that it attracts, and refrain from people taking cars. Now that the nano is rolling out, just imagine 2-wheeler ( which occupy most traffic density)  converts to nano. I don't know whether there will be any space left in the road. As, such bmtc are trying to popularize volvo's. 
Again the story doesn't end. Bmtc have to change their operating stratergies, and mangement.
People want a reliable, well connected, clean, economical public transport.
If, they don't change, and go ahead with present stratergies in popularising vovlo, then they will be just wasting a huge some of money, and would miserablly fail in gving service both in normal and luxirous segment.

ok .... these are my thoughts.

thanks,
srinath
 

asj's picture

Lets do some maths

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I agree with views raised by Vasanthkumar. I hate the idea of having a class system for moral and ethical reasons. I find PT in London is a great equaliser, to an extent Mumbai buses were the same as well (my mom retired as Prof & Head of a Dept in a medical college in Mumbai and used the buses 99.9% of her 30 years of service). Most middle class people in Mumbai use buses and trains.

But that aside, the logistics of working out rationalised routes and frequencies becomes more difficult with half a dozen classes. Its easier to rationalise a single pool of buses, that is a no-brainer (try this experiment, imagine you have 100 decent buses for one region and map them out, then do the same with 5 types of buses with differing numbers). Mumbai has AC buses but due to costs the frequencies will remain 1 bus every 30 minutes or so - who will wait. I used to finish work in Mumbai (close my clinic after seeing last patient, no definite time), walk to bus stop, take the next bust - if it was an AC, fine, if not, fine. Mumbai local trains are planning AC services - after much debate, they have given up on idea of AC trains that will run once every 1 or 2 hours - its pointless. Instead they will convert one half of a coach per train (that to at phenomenal costs), but this way, the uptake is going to far superior. Simply put, working with more than 2 types of bus classes is likely to land the service in trouble.  

Now go back to the HOHO post - Prof Mahesh gives some details of cost of running these very fine Volvo buses.  If I remember right, it was something like Rs 350/- per trip. The quetion is do we recover cost by serving 35 people at Rs 10 per ticket or 70 people (which fit in to a bus at any one point) at Rs 5/-!! Best bit is, its unlikely one will have 75 people doing entire stretch of a bus route - people get off mid route, so my guess is that when properly done, up to 90-100 people may be served by a bus - could we not charge Rs 4/- then?

ASJ

  

silkboard's picture

Class by speed

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Class of service by speed, not in terms of road speed, but having fewer stops, may make more sense. Sort of like fast and slow locals of Mumbai.

I was wondering if its possible to make a bus where one third of it is A/c, and two thirds regular. Like how aeroplanes have business class as well as economy.

Point is - don't think BMTC started A/c buses to keep majority people away (via a high price service) or just to burn money. In general, demand = supply. Many need comfortable rides. Now whether comfortable = A/c - that can be questioned. To me, comfortable = not crowded, dust free, and good suspension. BMTC thought Volvo is the answer, it could be wrong, could be right, time will tell.

 

Naveen's picture

Complaints Galore !

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If buses are ordinary, we complain, If buses are good, we complain.

If buses are fewer, we complain, If buses are more, we complain.

Gone are the days of "One Size Fits All". Even Mumbai is now building a complete, air-conditioned Metro network for those wanting such comforts in an effort to reduce street congestion, & even after people were so used to the discomfort of travel in their ordinary, crowded trains.

Likewise, is city bus any different ? Why not have classes in city buses when you have them just about every other place ? Aircraft, Airport Lounges, Cinema halls, Long distance trains, Credit cards, etc. etc.

Bangalore is a case in point - the ratio of quality seekers in relation to those that are content with ordinary services is much higher than any other Indian city (the city has the 2nd largest number of high networth individuals, whilst having a population of about half that of Mumbai & Delhi). These classes seek better services & will use cars, if alternatives are not provided.

The success of the volvo services, by & large is a definite indication of this trend.

asj's picture

Good luck

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Not sure who is suggesting a split bus (Ac and non-AC). As I have said, do the maths and we may find that everyone could ride the Volvo. Unless some of us do not want to ride along side the not so educated majority this should be welcomed by one and all.

It makes bigger sense to have limited (express buses) as in Mumbai (until 90s - all buses in Mumbai were same - only some were called limited as some stops were missed). Since introduction of Kinglong, all old AC buses are to be deemed as just another bus. The pricing on Kinglong was similar to AC bus. Mumbai still does passes for unlimited use and has a simple structure http://bestundertaking.com/transport/index.htm The point is that from point of view of getting the routes rationalised and ticketing structure easier to understand - Mumbai essentially is trying to maintain a two tier structure (the only difference between an old Mumbai bus and AC buses is the AC, comfort levels are otherwise same, all buses are just as well maintained, no broken windows, no dusty interiors, all seats are cushioned).  If London can have a single ticket of just 80 pence for entire journey (irrespective of whether it a single deck, double deck or an articulated  bendi) - be it 1 km or 10 miles,  is it not worth exploring how the maths works?

But feel free to find a way of out the maze of types, classes and different fares and get a system that works optimally - good luck to those who think this is the way forward.

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

Vasanth's picture

Residential Area Volvos are affordable

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Volvos to residential areas have decreased by a far extent. 45G Volvo covering 12 kms from home to Majestic costs just 15 rupees and almost full but not crowded.

In planes,  only seating arrangement is changed and no change in airconditioning, in trains, there is a different A/C coach and non A/C coach.

But, bus, it is in the same body. Probably, we can change the seating arrangement and change the charges, but not with A/C and non A/C since running cost would be the same and people will not be benefitted.

BMTC has got this thing right, all the local areas connected by Volvos with nominal prices and IT areas with more fare to balance. Only thing is IT areas will not be using during weekends during which few buses can be diverted to Malls, temples etc.

Naveen's picture

India is Unique With Very Poor Sections

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One has to first understand the basics - the needs & the realities in India first before comparisons with elsewhere.

This country has nearly two-thirds still very poor that seek cheap city transport services (or even free, if possible). For them, paying anything as a fare is difficult. Very cheap transport has to be provided for them too.

In sharp contrast, we have the growing affordability of the middle & upper middle classes with rising incomes that has resulted in them seeking better comforts & who are willing to pay. If not, they will use their cars.

This is very unlike cities overseas where people form a much more homogenous group & are much better off. Thus, public transport costs are generally far higher & supports the notion of "one size fits all".

How can services be made viable if, instead of about 15 lakhs, we had to spend 35 lakhs per bus (as in the case of KingLong buses) or 70 lakhs per bus (volvos) & collect meagre fares all the time from everyone ? Are we not encouraging a leakage of benefits to the better off who can pay more ?

Making them affordable to all is easier said than done & is wishful thinking, unless we are ready to keep dishing out heavy subsidies to keep the bus services afloat.

I dont think this is hard at all to understand, if one stops comparisons with unsuitable examples.

asj's picture

A full Volvo bus - what do we make of it

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No comparisons have been made with West per se (London got mentioned as an example - but it has nothing to do with culture, poverty levels............its simple maths, if I was a paid consultant I would do the donkey work to produce a pricing strucutre as simple as that of London). It all boils down to running a bus that makes profits (or one that evens out) - I have thought aloud here by asking why we can't have 70 people in a bus at Rs 5 instead of 35 at Rs 10 per ticket - simple. If majority in India are poor, I suspect majority (poor bus users who are not part of this online forum) will understand and agree with what I am trying to hint at.

Now our cities are growing in dimensions, populations, vehicle numbers........ Any new migrant (if Mumbai gets 10k per day, other cities will be getting a couple at least) first uses buses.....then after establishing self......moves to personal mode of transport.......by then more migrants arrive, they take to buses.........so we always have certain percentage using buses. There will be those that can never save enough to buy their own vehicle, the loyal bus users. If 800k in Delhi use Metro, every year the Metro has been operational, 200k vehicles have registered in Delhi.

Now its one thing to say, 12k per hour use Delhi BRT and another thing to compare it with how many used buses anyway on this corridor before BRT - this is true even in Pune, where 50% of all commuters along pilot BRT route were bus users anyway. The moot question is - can the Authorities demonstrate that there is a real shift on consistent basis from use of personal vehicles to buses?

So, here is what has happened (happy to be pointed in direction of data that proves otherwise). The loyal bus users with no option, its them who transfer to use of better buses like the Volvo's and AC buses - this takes its time, hence the lag.

How many who travel and have always used personal vehicles are using the Volvo day in day out simply because they are now available?

No car user in Mumbai gave up his car because AC buses became available. People like me used the AC bus, people who were using buses any way.

So in the name of modernisation, in the name of serving the elite, with hope of converting them to use of buses rather than their vehicles.............end result is that the loyal customer, the poor majority dig deeper in to their pockets.

No one is suggesting we subsidise a Volvo. I simply ask - if the running cost of HOHO is Rs 350 per route (as suggested) - why not use a model to serve the masses, the real bus users better - this is the very essence of this thread.

Many here have experimented with HOHO (and reported experiences) - but how many will use it daily, day in day out, year on year (like a typical bus user in Bangalore or 80% of Mumbai)? I suspect hardly any - but who will bail out these buses, who will them and spend more on tickets - the regular bus user.

Mr Vasantkumar has rightly quoted SB, I repeat it and rest my case - "Why can't our goal be to have all of Bengaluru, regardless of their class and creed, travel in nicer buses. Are you saying that Bangaloreans don't desrve comfortable bus rides?

Its easy to get lost in discussions about evolving India.............for goodness sake, 90% of middle class in Mumbai uses PT (highly educated people rub shoulders with the poorest) - what is exclusive about Bangalore or Pune middle classes? 

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

Naveen's picture

Ho-Ho is Not a Suitable Example

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90% middle class in Mumbai use PT with highly educated people rubbing shoulders with the poorest - this is why I had stopped using trains in mumbai a long time ago, as did many mumbaikars who have shifted to cars - I know this as many from my mumbai office have told me as also some of my relatives who work & live there. In my opinion, mumbaikars deserve better services, & that's why the Metro is coming up there to ensure that at least these new trains are not crowded all the time - fares will surely be higher than existing trains.

Also, this does not imply or mean that it has to be as miserable everywhere else - even mumbai has realized that the only answer is to provide higher services for those that demand & pay for it.

As SB mentioned, comfort = not crowded, dust free, & good suspension. In hot climate, I would add AC as well.

Hop-On/Off is one service that is running empty & is the wrong one to base calculations on. There are many other volvo services all over the city (like the 335E & the 500) that are running full despite the higher fares, but with no rubbing of shoulders. If the math is worked out for them, it will give much different results & one can conclude that it might make sense to run these services, & subsidise rates on other ordinary services, but if they are crowded with people rubbing shoulders like in mumbai, many will opt out & return to their cars.

There are many car users who have changed to buses since volvos were introduced & some have also mentioned this on praja, though one may have to make a survey to find out exact numbers. The point is, people change over to be rid of the tiresome driving & seek other options & this is one option that can be made available.

New cars will keep getting sold & traffic may keep rising, but a more comfortable alternative service has now become a neccessity & need not be frowned upon because others cannot afford it. It may be a long-term goal to make such more comfortable travel affordable for all, but it will take time & is still far away. For sure, subsidies cannot be dished out to all.

I do acknowledge that working out several differential services will be a burden, but if a single class service is opted for & even if the buses were all nicer volvos than now, buses will start getting very crowded & the car owners will shift over as they will prefer it to heavily crowded buses anyday.

And what about the cost of providing only volvos everywhere ? Maths tell us that it will cost some five times more - so, for 5000 buses, the cost will be 3500 crores ! Where is this going to come from ? We have been a nation with too many subsidies. Let us not continue to make these subsidies reach those that are well-off also in the name of catering to the poor.

asj's picture

Clarifications

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  1. Who is advocating subsidy?  In fact I am saying find out running costs and get the pricing right.
  2. Who is recommending we travel in over crowded buses? Instead of 35 I am saying a bus can serve 75 along entire route. I hope people are not suggesting that they won't use buses if they have to stand - as then it would apply to Metro trains too.
  3. HOHO was used as an example because Prof AM gave details of the running costs on one of those routes. If anything I am referring to Vasanth's example of Volvo's running full elsewhere when I say that rather than new customers, the old loyal customers have moved to Volvo, I will bet a tenner on this (currency of readers choice).
  4. Where will 3.5 k crore for buses come from? Where is the money for Metro coming from? And no one suggests 5000 buses are needed pronto - that is not the argument made here. Rather its about making more comfortable buses available to larger population and not just elite.
  5. Mumbai's trains are over crowded, that does not make the service provider inept. That so many people still use them suggests the contrary. PSA has rightly suggested in another thread - one can plan for a given size of a population. I have previously said (on another thread - Prof Newman's speech), every city has a CDP, by statute based on town planning principles one can caluculate appropriate populations and plan accordingly. As things stand, Mumbai gets 10k migrants, Bangalore will have its share........its a matter of time before every train and every bus is crowded (like it or not).
  6. Mumbai also is an example of poor leadership..........story will repeat in other cities sooner rather than later. Throughout 90s and this decade investment went in to flyovers. Starting with 55 of them (that regime has not come back to power since) - money spent on 9% vehicle owners (at cost of majority PT users)!!! Despite largest tax contributor, a city of 16 million has only 3300 buses!!! Despite contributing huge amounts by way of taxes the financial capital of India is only getting its Metro only now (when discussions and plans date back to early 70s).

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

Naveen's picture

Pricing Startegy ?

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Assuming an investment of 70 lakhs per bus, & overheads (viz. running costs, maintenance, staff salaries, spares, etc.) at about 50,000 rs per month, & a revenue of about 2.16 lakhs per month (assumed average only 25 passengers per hour for daily 12-hour operation X 25 days X 20 rs. average fare per passenger per hour), the net profit would be abt 1.30 lakhs.

Thus, it would require 54 months to recover the principal invested & probably another 18 months to recover interests. That is 72 months or 6 years, after which the service can commence subsidising ordinary services to the tune of abt 1 lakh per month, assuming some increase in maintenenace costs.

Now, assuming ticket prices are slashed to 5 rs with 75 passengers (with obvious rubbing of shoulders), the revenue would be -  75 X 12 X 30 X 5 = 1.35 lakhs.

After deducting running costs of 50k, net would be 0.85 lakhs. Recovery of this will take 82 months & a further period of appx 35 months for interests (ie. about 10 years !). By then, the bus would be old & maintenance costs will flatten profits, which may now have become meagre with increasing running costs.

Now, would the pricing strategy in the 1st case help better to serve society or will the 2nd case help better ?

It is obvious that with the profits during the 4-year period (after the first 6 years) in the 1st case, ordinary services can be subsidised or out of the profits, benefits can be given to ordinary passengers, such as better quality of buses, better seats, lower fares, etc. Further, those passengers that might consider using the bus instead of cars will have the option of a higher quality service & it might lead to decreased congestion, though this may be difficult to quantify.

And last, but not the least important aspect, authorities will have more teeth to enforce traffic restraints & TDM measures (such as heavy parking charges & congestion pricing), which can assist in controlling traffic growth.

What do we gain in the 2nd case ? No revenues for profit generation to speak of, more irritation for car users as they will detest over crowded buses, a lot more cars on the streets, highly crowded roads & more expenditure on maintaining & increasing road infrastructure ! - Exactly where we are today - Total & complete chaos !!

I also do not subscribe to new flyovers & new facilities for cars unless proper PT is in place to cater to all sections. All new transport & road infrastructure MUST be with the single focus on mass transport, be these ordinary trains, Metro, Buses or Monorail. If 10,000 buses have to be run on Bangalore's roads, so be it - drive the cars out, if need be, but give differential services to cater to all groups of commuters first - tomorrow, they should not have reason to complain about poor & low quality transport or overcrowded & uncomfortable buses with a strong lobby & demand more road infrastructure - this can only be possible if proper services are in place first.

I rest my case for differential services, as also recommended by National urban transport Policy.

asj's picture

Who bails out whom

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http://www.bmtcinfo.com/english/atpresent.htm This link gives some break up of 5494 buses run by BMTC. Look at the number of Volvo's and other so called posh buses - the number is so small that to think that higher margins on these buses subsidise ordinary buses is a bit far fetched.

Now, out of 3.8 million bus users each only  month, about 2.35 lakhs Monthly public passes are issued - guess why?

http://www.bmtcinfo.com/english/passes.htm This page may give an hint. Then compare the pricing with that of BEST (compare like with like). One can either do a limited edition of a designer shirt and earn small fortune or get something bulk produced and earn many times more by serving masses. Talking of interest rates - can one imagine how much a business may make if Mooolah was collected in advance? If 3 million people used pre-paid passes........we are looking at some pretty decent sums here.

The difference here is not just in pricing, probably the 3000 ordinary buses (a minute number is made up by AC buses, only 15 King Longs) in Mumbai are far more decent than Bangalore black and red boards. BEST maintains buses so well that they are used for up to 15 years - plenty of time to earn a moolah.

And in all this we forget the advert money - BEST has now got adverts even on handle bars and backs of each seat.

If profits are a key, then get rid of your overheads - why spend on conductors (working in shifts, BMTC probably pays salaries to at least 2 if not 3 conductors per bus)? In todays day and age, smart card tech is available in India - like mobile phone top up, the vouchers can be made available in every corner shop, card readers are cheap. If prfits are the key, lets be ruthless and get the house in order (and I have said this to PMPML and BEST too).

Bottom line - get a smart business head to run the show (instead of our Babu's).

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

idontspam's picture

PPP in BMTC

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 If prfits are the key, lets be ruthless and get the house in order

One answer would be to get the bus operations outsourced for a fixed fee and keep the pricing with the BMTC. In the outsourced contract keep the base fee attractive but low and have incentives for automation measures, efficiency, reliability, reach, volumes handled, discipline on street etc. Let BMTC only audit. You could start with specific routes and then add routes to the same vendor or bring in different vendors for each set of routes. If you bring in different vendors you have to ensure they all use the same standards else it will become chaos. Single large tender for all routes for say 5 years will attract international players like SMRT SG, MTR HK etc.

Vasanth's picture

After Nano - a Volvo like bus within 20 lakhs -Challenge to Tata

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Well, Tata showcased by Nano how cheaply they could make a car. Next challenge that bus corporations should pose to him is to give a Volvo comfort bus in the range of 10-20 lakhs so that the investment is returned quickly to the bus operators,(BMTC in our case) as well as frequency is improved by 3-4 times since we have more buses.

Government as well as bus corporations can invest in the R&D of such a Bus.

Currently Tata Manufactures Marcopolo buses supplied to Delhi BRT & Mumbai. Costs are too high at 55 Lakhs for A/c and 35 lakhs for Non A/C. BMTC bought two buses and found the quality is not worth the investment compared to Volvos which is 15 lakhs more.

 But, same bus if it is designed in the range with 20 lakhs, it is worth for all the bus corporations to go for it.

 

 

murali772's picture

IDS avare'- sari haelidhiree!

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Even on something as basic in today's world as updating the website, if the approach is as lackadaisic as evident in this comment, this city can't afford to have them operating our bus services any longer, whatever not as a monopoly - period!

When Naveen went on ask how come the BMTC web-site, which had originally been conceived very well, is generally seen to be un-updated, the CTMO turned to one of his assistants with a "baega maad-ree", explaining away generally that the tender had expired and they needed to re-tender it. The assistant nodded his head, none too enthusiastically, though.
For the full text, click on:   http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/rithesh/2009/04/01/bmtc-meeting-update-need-innovative-ideas-praja#comment-12928


My God, even the dumbest of operators could have made huge money putting to good use the wealth of free gyaan available on Praja. But, not BMTC!

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Not Just a Business: Congestion, Pollution, Equally Important !

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IDS's suggestion is similar to various privatization efforts of bus operations, particularly BRT in many cities abroad to get the best for commuters, but I dont think BMTC nor KSRTC nor any other body has the know-how yet to supervise performance parameters effectively - corruption & a general lack of commitment plague just about every govt institution. However, a start has to be made at sometime, & now is as good a time as any.

City bus transport is not merely to maximise profits but to serve the needs of all groups at appropriate service levels, including the rich - especially the rich since they are the ones dependent on motor vehicles, cause air pollution & reduce the overall quality of life for all by demanding more roads & responsible in some way for removal of trees.

With population & income increases, even Mumbai, the financial capital is shaking up to the futility of one type of service due to the flight of bus users to cars. What about so many other capitals - the technology capital, the political center, the automotive capital ? Should they now remove different classes of buses because Mumbai did not have them before ?

Even Mumbai has realized that the consequences of such an approach, overlooking the present day reality, the demands from the people & continuing with vintage Indian mindsets, have already been quite negative for traffic control, road safety, pedestrian safety & air pollution.

Some of us still insist & claim that differential services cater only to the rich & a uniform system is better suited, but have no answers when confronted with questions such as traffic growth & control of air pollution.

Today, we may have 310 volvos. By April-2010, plans are afoot to add another 200. In six years, we may have a 1000 more. Will such incremental increases in the volume of buses offering better quality service not help all these efforts ? More & more people will be able to afford such services as time goes by & traffic control can also be simultaneously enforced, as explained above.

I think we should shed off these long-held biases & wake up to the reality that is staring us in the face - the central govt has also shaken up with it's NUTP, but some of us keep insisting as it might bother our conscience - it will for some time, but any stand that we take must be rational with long-term implications for better quality of life & progress for all.

silkboard's picture

Just to say ...

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... that I have been reading this with interest. May be we should create a separate thread like "BMTC - hard maths and stats" or something, because comments on this post seem more eye-opening that the original post itself.

asj - I am with you on one thing here - the goal should be to provide Volvo or super quality ride for everyone. How will this be doable is maths and business models. But if this is not feasible, multi-tiered service would attract all. From my preliminary observations, Volvo in Bangalore is taking car and bike users off the road, majority of Volvo riders were not BMTC customers earlier because of crowded and dirty perceptions.

Mumbai is not always the right benchmark or comparison for Bangalore. Some reasons:

  • BEST has the advantage of working to feed and support the long-haul train services. BEST trying A/c buses is something I have not read a lot about, but majority works far from residence (avg trip distances are large). If I anyway have to get to a CR/WR station and sit packed in a train for 15-20 minutes, whats the point of 10 mins of A/c comfort in the bus?
  • Bangalore is still small, so much so that its still possible to think and imagine BMTC to provide commute connectivity (periphery to CBD). BEST has always worked with CR/WR, and to CR/WR, Mumbai's island structure has been an advantage.

BTW, that city, with its so called "spirit" has brewed a breed that has, till recently, put up with traveling like worms in trains. That quality of PT, simply because it had no parallel, was taken off as the pride and lifeline of the city. Problems Bangalore faces today were all faced by Mumbai 15-20 years ago. I say this because I saw the city, its jams, its congestion and migrants during my Powai days. May be you loved those tight huddles and embraces in the trains, but I didn't. 4 years (of studies) in Mumbai, and I was sure that I don't want to continue there and didn't apply for a single job in Mumbai. But back then (20 years ago), our country was different, not all could afford private transport, and citizen's expectations were (carefully managed?) to be low.

Summary of my last "perceptive" paragraph is that Mumbai's perceived PT goods (75% of motorized transport by PT) has a big "lack of quality options" angle.

Some references from the Nov 2007 World Bank paper on Mumbai PT (will provide link later):

The average speed of buses on ordinary routes is 12 km/hr, but is 16 km/hr on limited
routes, with fewer stops. ... Heavy delays, especially on feeder routes to suburban railway stations, result in waiting times up to 30 minutes, and force many commuters to walk 1.5 to 2 km to their destinations (Shrivastava and Dhingra, 2006)

BEST buses ... revenues fall short of operating costs. The shortfall is made up in part from electricity revenues.7 In 2005-2006 fares would have had to be raised by 29.6% for BEST transport operations to break even..

Due to high demand, there is serious overcrowding in second-class compartments, with as many as 5,000 passengers traveling per 9-car train during peak rush hours.8 This can result in 14-16 standing passengers per square meter of floor space.

in 2005-2006 ... According to official figures, suburban rail operations posted a loss of Rs. 123.8 million, implying a subsidy of 1.2% of fares

What if the bus subsidy was removed - whats the "elasticity" like?

The elasticity of bus commuters with respect to the bus fare ranges from -0.36 to -0.32. This implies that removal of the bus subsidy (i.e., a 30% increase in fares) would reduce bus commuters by 10-11%. To which modes would these commuters switch? Most would switch to rail only; however, some would switch to walk only, and some would switch to a car or two-wheeler.

Anyway ASJ. Want to make it clear that I am not arguing with you here. Urban PT in India as a fascinating topic, and there is so much to share (I have read a lot recently) that typing stats and content here is a big function of time :)

asj's picture

Yes, but let's not mix issues

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Mumbai's over crowding is a different matter. No transport system is going to cope well with that size of population and migration level. If London's population doubled, it will still be 2-3 million short of Mumbai's population. Despite 8k buses and over 400km of tube network, I have been on bus stops and tube stations where it was not possible to board buses / trains. I have been in many tube journey's where if it had not been for UK climate, I would be smelling someone's armpits (right now we smell unwashed winter coats).

Its a matter of time and Bangalore will become 14 million - can we run away from reality of over crowding? Is it the train operators fault that our cities can't rfegulate their growth (population - 50% of Mumbai is unauthorised slums - thats about 7 million people).

If Mumbai had the right poilitical will, it would have 8k buses (3300 odd buses carry 4.5 million) and probably moving 7-8 million people (as many as trains). Mumbai has switched to cars not because people are earning more (this city always had people like me and my parents who could buy a car but did not bother), but because from 90s all money went to flyovers. Mumbai has now come a full circle and finally there will be more investment in rail network and buses (some 900 new buses are supposed to be ordered).

Speed of buses too is out of control of BEST - and it is same whether it is Volvo or Ashok Leyland - they both get stuck inn traffic. Ironically this city where vehicles ownership just about hits double figures has no bus lanes. There is now some talk of Haji-Ali getting experimental kerb side lanes for buses.

Subsidy - I am not suggesting we need it at all. But there is no harm in it per se if a source is found. BEST has a history of the electricity arm profits subsidising buses. London now uses all money from congestion charging on improving road based PT / NMT facilities - no harm done, definitely not if we are subscribed to a larger agenda of saving this planet. Certainly to an extent if not entirely advert money should help. One Malaysian company, Landmark 360 Media Ltd, offered to provide Pune as the top bidder at Rs 1,038 crore for 2,520 bus shelters and 2,386 buses - out source advertising to right people and money can be raked in.......in London there are even LCD screens inside some buses - there is no limit to the potential. As usual PMC and PMPML with its corporator led committee's let go of the deal (perhaps no kick backs were comnig any one's way).  

All this talk of interest rates and subsidy is mere distraction. Is Tata Nano not heavily subsidised? Did they not get soft loans at 0.1% interest rates? If DMRC can get a soft loan, what is it that stops our bus operators from getting these facilities?

But this thread to me is not to do with any of the above. Its more to do with hidden and new form of untouchability that seems to be taking shape. We will pay Rs 20 as long as we do not have crowded buses, let those who can't afford use the black and red boards. We would rather have buses half empty and yet make a profit by finding those who can pay premium prices - all this takes me back to the great thread on living in enclaves.

But operating decent buses at decent prices is easy when one reforms the way we operate our services. Next time Praja meets BMTC bosses, ask them (apart from some other questions above) how much is spent on conductor salaries, how much is spent on cleaners (instead of automated cleaning devices)........As I said, for those who want to make profits, find a businessman to run the service (and let us then stop thinking like social workers and politicians who will want to keep conductors as they have strong unions connected with local political processes). 

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

asj's picture

More on advert money

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Visit http://www.bmtcinfo.com/english/ads.htm 

At 1200 per side per month X 12 X 5k buses = 216000000 (I won't bother calculating what returns this may fetch on an FD - all businesses use every banking tool available to compound money).

And this is revenue from buses, bus shelters can double if not add more.

Of course, the shelters and all buses, including black and red boards must be in a shape worthy enough to find companises ready to use them for displaying their pride products (in Pune, even after ban on Guthka adverts, old ads stayed on buses for ages, only because there were no new takers).

Our service operators are rather hopeless when it comes to doing business (well most cities dont even know how to rationalise their routes and frequencies - what are they good at?).

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

silkboard's picture

we have mixed up many things

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Let us create separate threads, for hard nosed maths on BMTC. I will move or copy some comments from here to the new post to kickstart it.

You keep bringing Mumbai (and London) to every discussion, so I had to throw my perspective though distracting insight. Comparing Mumbai of today and Bangalore of today is unfair, its arguable that Bangalore has a shot at managing its crowding levels better than Mumbai has done.

Your talk of "hidden untouchability" is waiting to be attacked, though I will let it go as it will be ideological talk, not fit for this forum.

blrsri's picture

BIG10 a.k.a mumbai commuter rail?

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 Should that be a comparison, if not just on capacity, on where Bangalore is heading..?

- Make BIG10 the only option to reach CBD's..stop other busses which start from Majestic/Market..we will then see if Market/Majestic really needed all these busses in the first place

- Give them exclusive bus lanes wherever posible

- Work at an average speed of atleast 25Kmph

- Make wait times at bus stops not more than 15 min anywhere on BIG10 route

BIG10 seems to be a sensible move..but needs to be supported well!

If we can make BIG10 a success..it would not be too difficult to replace the BIG10 routes with LRT or Metro..depending on the capacity study!  

Naveen's picture

SB - Quite Right

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SB - I also choose to refrain from responding or commenting any more as Mumbai & London models are thrust in repeatedly as the only available benchmarks for all issues. Even in the past, other more suitable examples put forward by me had also been completely ignored, whilst quoting London /Mumbai as the only examples to be considered.

The latest is that ideologies are being put forward ahead of realities. I fully agree that such mixed talk is also misplaced & unfit on this forum.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Great going...but hold it guys..are we loosing thread?

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Dear All,

With all these wonderful feedbacks, observations, calculations, economic viability suggestions, reducing social stratification, comparisons etc., a whole lot of ideas that are measurable, sustainable. affordable and replicable  have surfaced from the depths of minds of the concerned commuters. 

Many feed backs are based on real time experiences, knowledge and  suggestions made with one aim, look at the majority class, give more impetus to make transport that much comfortable to all; and if you have any spare capacity, experiment with caution to provide hi-end class of transport. 

Our only request is - please do not experiment at the cost of denial of minimum needs of the majority commuters. What we need is class actionJustice can be delivered on the basis of  'need' and 'requirement'.  "Requirement" of a percentage of a class of commuters may be hi-end buses like Volvo etc., but BMTC, being a social services sector has to deliver based on the "need" of the majority class of commuters with affordable, clean and fast mode of transport, albeit in ordinary buses.

These serious discussions from concerned citizens on Praja.in only goes to show how BMTC is a part and parcel of their daily life.   No doubt  it has given enough food for thought for the BMTC guys, consider them seriously, pick out suggested strategies that have social, economic, technically feasible and replicable ideas, discuss, if necessary, by calling Praja forum guys and implement them for the benefit of all sections of the society. 

One suggestion - How about running  'standing only' buses for short haul routes (provide four courtesy seats behind the Driver for elders and ladies with babies) - say Majestic to Mahalakshmi Layout, Malleswaram, City Market, Shivaji Nagar at reduced fare with proper 'in' and 'out' design and auto ticketing facility?   

asj's picture

Amazing

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Not surprised by whatg is being thrown in here. The reference to London was - is it worth thinking how they manage to have single 80 pence ticket for whole journey (hope being we can learn from same) - where is the comparison here? Mumbai one will think is closest in most respects one will have within India. Again, I focused on pricing of tickets / passes (not over crowding et al which has been dragged in to conversations for reasons beyond me). But then we are told that comparison even with HOHO is unfair. Amazing, as all the threads around Praja from BIAL, Metro, Mono, BRT look and compare with all and sundry.

If majority masses and their need Vs needs of elite is idealogical, what is the reality? Why I wonder was so much time spent in this very fora discussing whether we live in enclaves, the battle between Have's and Have not's.............just the other day the car was described an extended part of our residential enclaves by someone.

I hope to share views with right intent, needless to say we will have contrary logics and experiences, but it is for each individual to find the useful feedback and do what they want to with it.

But I take it that there is now a new idea floating around - Bangalore is unique, do not compare. And I am more than happy to accept the same. My best wishes. I hope a day comes when I read experiences of many academics here of their experiences of daily commutes on public transport and not just experimental travelouges.

Vasantkumarji - I like the idea of standing only buses (perhaps there could be 2-4 seats for elderly / disabled). Worth exploring.

ASJ

murali772's picture

crux of the problem

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To quote ASJ "Our service operators are rather hopeless when it comes to doing business (well most cities dont even know how to rationalise their routes and frequencies - what are they good at?)."

Therein lies the crux of the problem.

The BMTC lot have got it embedded in their minds that the people of Bangalore will not accept anything less than door-to-door services, and transfers, even if just one or two, will not be acceptable to them. And, their 'stage' fare system perpetuates that mind-set resulting in the commuting cost almost doubling with even one transfer. This is what has led to the fragmentation of the services, resulting in there being over 1800 routes (routes like 121 have sub-routes from A to Z and even beyond), though many of them have just one or two 'schedules(operations/ services)' a day.

Apart from the mind-stes are the possibility of well-entrenched mafia operations, which could get upset with changes.

And, that's why when a professional like Prof Ashwin Mahesh tries to rationalise and simplify the operations on the lines of BIG-10, & KS, there's so little co-operation, and perhaps even an element of sabotage.

Well, with concerted effort, these can change. But, the much faster route would be to bring in good competition, perhaps initially for the high-end services, where anyway the BMTC is bleeding heavily.

But, for all that a good regulator is an essential pre-requisite. One thought that the BMLTA was conceived with that in view. It is totally disappointing the way this organisation has floundered.

And, what is the ABIDe doing about it all?  

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
gizmofreak's picture

anoher viewpoint

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Hi Vasanth,

I understand your concern for the common man. However, I would  disagree with with you on one point:

When the Volvo's become really popular, BMTC can generate larger margins by running Volvos than from the normal services. In effect, this would enable BMTC to use 'rich' man's money to better the services of the 'poor' man. They may be able to run the normal buses at a much more subsidised rate at the cost of the premium services. 

Thanks
Gizmo Freak

(This is my first post, and just to introduce me, i belong to that strata of society which belongs to "can buy a car", but I kept delaying the decision in the hope of better available premium BMTC services. Today, I am happy that there are so many Volvos on the road. I always use them, and if not available, I use the normal buses.)

 
murali772's picture

uniform tariff per ride

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Doc ASJ - I can't agree more with you on the logic of a sigle uniform tariff per ride. The following was the recommendation made by me in this aspect (under the grid & feeder concept) to the BMTC as the co-Chairman of its CCTF, now almost five years back:

FARE STRUCTURINGS
A single uniform fare structure for a ride irrespective of the distance traveled, say at Rs 2/- per ride on the feeder routes, and Rs 3/- per ride on the grid routes. The advantages are of simplicity of operations helping to lower manpower costs for ensuring compliance considerably. After a 3-month or a 6-month period, the fare figures may be revised upward or downward depending on whether the operations are recording a loss or profit, respectively. Given the fact that the public is going to enjoy better overall connectivity, there may be little resistance to marginal upward revisions. The slight disadvantage that short distance travelers may face exists even today. The advantages are however overwhelming, and in the larger interests of the BMTC and hence the general public.

Monthly passes
The monthly passes may have denominations of
a)Rs 250/- for travel as you like on any grid or feeder route.
b)Rs 100/- for travel as you like, but only on feeder routes.
c)Rs 175/- for travel as you like, but only on grid routes.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

When Volvos become Cash Cows... by Freak

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Dear Gizmo Freak

Welcome to Praja fold. Your wishful thinking of Volvos becoming cash cows is duly acknowledged. That is a matter of future and since you have already reached 'can buy a car' category, Volvo/BMTC will be poorer by one.  But till Volvos (Rs.70 lakhs per bus) become good earners, should BMTC run them at one third of the capacity while thousands of commuters will be sweating it out waiting for some contraption called ordinary bus (Rs.15 lakhs per bus) to arrive and carry them to their destinations albeit at a slow pace?. 

Think about it without bias of "I can afford an AC Volvo".

Keep in touch.

 

 

 

Naveen's picture

Another Example

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Gizmofreak - Thanks for posting your angle & you are one of many in Bangalore that have discarded use of the car in preference for better volvo buses. Though I am not a daily commuter, I too have found the service very refreshing & use it whenever I can & have noted that a lot of car users are now using these services.

However, I am disappointed that when the new realities were explained in detail as to why differentially priced bus services were required, conservative ideas began to impose themselves with closed, narrow mindedness when there was ample evidence pointing to the contrary, & even with bizzare allegations claiming that there was a hidden new form of 'untouchability' that was taking shape.

In my opinion, the authorities have read this correctly & recommended such services through the National Urban Transport Policy, or NUTP, but some of our brethern still belong to the middle ages & find it extremely hard to accept the new realities in the country.

I think that with efflux of time, these services can & will be available to all, but the priority now is clearly to rid the streets of congestion with too many cars & other vehicles & also to reduce pollution.

Toward this effort, I think you have contributed too !

 

Mr.Vasanth - It is not wishful thinking for Volvos to be cash cows. On many routes, these services are already seeing good patronization levels. In fact, BIAL Suvarna services are now being discontinued as Volvos are outperforming them with better loads.

My area does not have direct Volvo services nearby, but there are groups already requesting them since they do not wish to drive cars for their daily commutes. It will of course take some time to generate substantial revenues, but I think it is worth a shot as benefits can be many (ridding streets of congestion, subsidizing other services, etc.).

idontspam's picture

Stats please?

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But till Volvos (Rs.70 lakhs per bus) become good earners, should BMTC run them at one third of the capacity while thousands of commuters will be sweating it out waiting for some contraption called ordinary bus (Rs.15 lakhs per bus) to arrive and carry them to their destinations albeit at a slow pace?. 

I will have to put this down to baseless rant unless there are statistics backing up the claims of "thousands of commuters" waiting for "slow paced" buses etc. There seems to be ignorance of the ground traffic situation in Bangalore. Just when we have figured out a way to get people off private transport it is being made out to be an either or situation pitting an artificially created rich against the poor. Where have I heard this before. I remember it was the villages vs city fight wasnt it?

navshot's picture

Yes, stats are needed...

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I agree with IDS. We need stats. I think we need stats on usage of Volvos too. Its being claimed that some of the Volvo routes are successful. We need stats for that too along with other things.

I don't know why we frequently get into this debate on Volvo/AC v/s ordinary buses. As I've stated elsewhere, we conducted a survey within our office (which is a typical IT company with 60%+ owning cars) and many car users really wanted reliable transport with a level of comfort, not necessarily Volvo.

Today, we have buses like Pushpaks (BMTC fleet operating exclusively for our tech park), which many car users are quite happy about using. To most of the users, Volvo would be great, but its a wish list item than a need. What seems to matter is reliability and some level of comfort and cleanliness. We did the cost analysis to operate Volvo. It would have increased our monthly charge per user by about three times. Since there was no real demand within our company for Volvo level of service, it was dropped.

-- navshot

 

-- navshot
skumaras's picture

Volvos have a few advantages

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It may be the case that people generally want reliable transport, and do not necessarily need Volvos. However Volvos have a couple of advantages which we cannot discount.

1. They are low floor and have wide doors. Thus it is possible to make frequent stops and still get people in and out quickly without losing much time. This is particularity important in areas like Whitefield where the buses drop of people often quite close to their offices.

2. They have good acceleration compared to other buses and this allows them to keep pace with cars and two wheelers on the road thus negating one advantage that private vehicles use to have.

3. Being air conditioned people don’t mind that much if the vehicles get stuck in signals or traffic.It also helps that they have good suspension and are generally more comfortable.

 


asj's picture

Stats

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Navshot - nice one. Stats are needed all round and not to just prove one set of assumptions. If 3.8 million use buses each day, is it too much to  say a good few thousands at any one point are experiencing hardships pointed out by Vasantkumar? If its hard to believe then perhaps this may help http://www.consumercomplaints.in/bycompany/bmtc-a20208.html

ASJ

PS: I would have shared the report on uptake of AC buses on Pune BRT route that ran full buses until differential pricing was introduced and ticket costs went through the roof - but hey, Bangalore is unique. As for judgements on who is conservative, those who persist on differentiating, I wonder how they will be judged by Aam Admi. And the Village Vs City debate will haunt us in the decades to come as village after village gets emptied (some 850 million will be urbanised by 2051, so say people who write NUTP like reports). And who can blame them, urban life with all its investments is not just attractive, but their only hope of surviving. BTW, even NUTP does not give stats / evidence to support the notion that differential pricing helps.

 

 

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Stats are media reports

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Whoever said we should not have Volvos?  If one stands near Malls in Bengaluru, one can see Big10 buses standing for hours together and when they move, there are hardly any users.  To popularise Volvos, BMTC launched Re.1 ride in all volvos and on that day all the volvos ran fully, I was also one of them - hmmm. nice ride but could not afford it with regular fares from next day.

Media reports are my statistics information system. The holistic approach to keep cars and other vehicles off from roads is no doubt laudable but most of it is being preached than practiced.  INFOSIANS successfully experimented with "one-day-no-car" - that is a much better grassroots level achievment. It is this kind of approach that is measurable, replicable and sustainable. 

These facts cannot be useless rants and whatever stats required are available in media reports, only wish they will also not be dubbed as useless rants/rich and poor subjects.

silkboard's picture

dear Adhiraj

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Dear Adhiraj,

I can see that you are upset. Dont be please. all I wanted to say was

  • Back then, buses provided better rides than the fiats, ambassadors, and standards. Since late 90s, "competition" has improved significantly, and that is a likely reason many new commuters have moved away from PT.
  • I am not an A/c fan, made that very clear. The vision is same as yours - top tier service for all.
  • If you continue to think CR/WR trunk and elongated structure don't make Greater Mumbai a diffrent case, then you are being unfair.
  • Subsidizing PT could be like subsidizing crowding and "long distance" commute pattern for a city. That subsidy is eventually going to the "Rich" only. The service providing fraterntiy, the carpenters, the canteen buys, the storekeepers etc come to the "Rich" neighbourhoods to provide their services at lower than "market" costs, isn't it? Charging "at cost" for PT would mean incentivizing "work near your home", which is a much better proposition than "stay at Ulhas Nagar and work at Dadar" scheme of things.

I was with you on that great "enclave" thread. I give it to you that this multi tier bus service discussion has some elements in common with that.

I see Volvo like service as BMTC facilitating "car pool". It helps them fight the bad perception by drawing out those who wouldn't have ventured. Sorting out BMTC the right way (good quality uniform service) may take some time, say 3 years. How many car commuters (at 4000 cars a day) would you be putting on the road till then. A higher tier service is a little practical right now, thats all.

When BMTC gets its act together, do you think people would be fools to ignore a perfectly neat and clean bus at 1/4th the fare and still opt for A/c buses? I can tell you after seeing a live example  - NO! Just go ask BMTC if 333P (A Volvo) has lost riders after Big10 Varthur Road started (new Ashok Leyland semi low floor bus).

However, at the end of it all - your point about there being tons of scope for getting the "business right". Hats off to you for digging out so many examples merely by picking out stats from BMTC website itself. If I go to the next PRaja-BMTC interaction, I am going to carry along some stats-requesting list of questions from you!

Naveen's picture

No One Supports Excessive Urbanization

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In the larger perspective, it is correct that the present trend is driving people out of villages & filling up the already overflowing cities. This is clearly undesirable, but has been the trend in most developing countries. This is because the quality of infrastructure & the availability of services has remained extremely poor in villages, peri-urban or semi-urban areas. The cities are somewhat better, but still far from satisfactory - they face a huge, new challenge with heavy street congestion with creation of new jobs, population & income increases.

In one of my previous posts, I had mentioned that instead of roping in the MNCs for only infrastructure development throughout the country, we have invited them for selling their cars, consumer goods, suits, perfumes & fashion goods - materialistic things, the arrival of which could easliy have been delayed until proper infrastructure development was underway.

One cannot blame the govt alone for this. We also sought better cars, we desired better clothes & perfumes. If we had been sensible & had there been sufficient support to liberalize & improve only infrastructure all around the country & not just in the cities (such as power, telecom, transport, water, roads), things might have been quite different. This did not happen, & we are now paying a heavy price for it - as did many developing countries, like Thailand & Taiwan in the past.

We do not have proper PTs but we have BMWs & Audis. Dont we still see opposition to liberalize anything related to infrastructure, as we did with Telecom & Insurance ? So, why rest the blame entirely on the babus ? I think we are all to blame, too. The babus will do exactly what fetches votes & brings in jobs, because they will need these "acheivements" to brag about, come elections.

Now that we face these realities, why are some of us so much against differential pricing, particularly when there is atleast some chance for cities to reduce dependence on cars & 2-wheelers ?

Even in the most developed countries, they do have higher classes with higher charges. Thus, differential pricing is here to stay & will not disappear, though the "difference", as some see it too largely, will reduce with time & with poverty reduction & general economic development.

One might extend this & say that people should not live in better quality accommodation when their country men are still struggling in hutments - even this is true, is'nt it ? All we can do is try & assist the poor by over-charging the rich & under-charging the poor.

These facts may be hard to accept for most of us, but sadly, they are true.

asj's picture

Dear SB

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Let me first stick to the thread. I have not suggested the rich subsidise the poor (I dont think the poor want that either). I am not suggesting the rich or poor need to tred on each others toes and fight for space and travel uncomfortably (but there is no reason why they can't sit next  to each other and enjoy same comfort if they can).
 
There may well be some Volvo services starting to do better, my gut feeling is it is more due to their routes, frequencies (duplicating exsisting ordinary bus routes, but I am happy to be corrected on this) and the fact that many ordinary bus users moved to them (a small minority may have given up of their vehicle). But this story just over a month ago gives the bigger picture (some thing Murli Sir seems to openly agree with and I doubt much will have changed in a month or so) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4197654.cms - I find it rather shocking that the report actually has a BMTC official suggesting that advert money will help break even in 3 years. How does one read this - its fine to keep ticket rates high, run buses half full in the hope that people give up cars? If so, how long is one supposed to wait for? And in tis case the advert money is subsidising whom (rich or poor)?
 
If you note what I have posted, I suggest a different pricing model to break even. In this world of differential pricing one can run an exclusive food bar in a 5 star hotel serving 100 people or consider making same if not more money by running McDonalds (or a decent Udipi) - where mass production, assembly line like model churn out cheaper but just as palatable meals for majority (I use McDonalds as an example given that Bangalore, as of now, has only 10% living in slums). 

I also want to point you in the direction of -  http://www.mail-archive.com/citizens-action-forum@googlegroups.com/msg00819.html - mails from people respected in the transport world (including international mailing lists). This is also a relatively recent e-mail discussion and hence relevant.

Now revisit BMTC site - what seems like a boastful publicity (when most cities are demanding a change in law so as to allow bus service providers a respite from paying road taxes), BMTC claims it pays Rs. 14.19 lakh to the Government towards Motor Vehicle tax (daily). In return buses get 10% of road space (or even less), no bus lanes and having to remain stuck on congested roads. So why pay so much in taxes? If this amount is true - 2 days worth of taxes will give a brand new bus of a decent make, every 4 days one could buy a Volvo!! If SEZs can IT parks enjoy tax breaks why not our bus undertakings?

BMTC also takes pride in telling the world it is the only profit making bus service (in India, I have heard some people say in Asia). But if this is the sole purpose, then we can kiss goodbye to concept of comprehensive bus services. This letter also adds to many frustrations reported in one of the other links shared above http://www.publishaletter.com/readletter.jsp?plid=9140 (as an analogy rather than comparison, Pune has over 8k buses, only 1000 belong to PMT, the rest all serve staff of the companies IT and industry in PCMC - this is not a problem as these buses are leased from private contractors, but irony is that beyond making 4 trips a day, these buses are occupying precious road sapce in Pune and adding to congestion).

Here I would end by saying that too much is made out of Mumbai's geography. Far too much is made of trains. This post should help http://pune.praja.in/discuss/forums/2009/02/some-best-bus-routes-i-used Equally, even if BEST is modest in saying on its website that it supports the railways, this stopped being true 2 decades ago. BEST is far more than a feeder, one can make direct or at worst signle transfer journeys from souther tips to Western, Central and Eastern suburbs. In fact the reason why BEST serves only 4.5 million and has only 3300 buses is more complex - the Geography puts BEST at a dis-advantage. Greater Mumbai is made up 6 Municipal Corporations. BEST could not go beyond Mulund and was limited for considerable time to dropping people off at Vashi just beyond the creek. All the other 5 corporations run their rubbish bus services - which means trains were (and even now are) the best options for people past a geographical bounds created by creeks (even today, to get to Dombivili and Kalyan by road, one first has to go to New Bombay). There is some good news though, BEST is said to be getting permission to run buses in Thane as well. I recommend if you can, to track down Raymond Lim's speech from laste year (he made 3 as Singapore's Transport Minister) - not that I want to compare, its more to do with the principles of running services - Singapore use to restrict buses from running parallel to the trains, but once trains have hit a saturation point, buses take over and on two lines, buses are going to no more remain just feeders. This happened in Mumbai many moons ago. It will probably happen on Bangalore's Metro too, its a matter of time, so the whole idea of buses being feeders is not written in stone (though many have this concept).

I can go on about Mumbai, but the reason I ever put this city in frame was with respect to their tickets and passes pricing structure - it is of course entirely up to Bangaloreans and Bangalore to do their own thing. I stand by need for reforms and finding ways of saying goodbye to conductors (on average as per Sudhir Badami paper, 8 people are employed per bus in almost every bus undertaking in India, Mumbai is the worst in this regard, I suspect due to needing 2 conductors on their double decks) - but for various reasons this won't be easy.

ASJ

www.driving-india.blogspot.com

silkboard's picture

Got it

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We have digressed too far now. What I don't like now is that you are making me sound like I am defending BMTC here.

Whether BMTC can run Volvos well or not was not the point. It was about whether there is a need for differential services.

BMTC can't run Volvos well, and they can't run their other services well as well. Experts love to only pick on the Volvo part because a story like that (Volvos bleed money) "sells" well - newspapers or traffic experts don't even care to analyze rest of BMTC for us, or the wasteful TTMCs. For all things non-Volvo, papers love to project BMTC as the profit making body, which you and me know, they are not.

Thats why we started down this path of building an engagement with BMTC. Little did we know that the critics want nothing but the mutiny :)

murali772's picture

mutiny & engagement

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SB avare'- The goal of my 'mutiny' has been to achieve liberation from the tyranny of the BMTC monopoly. I suppose nobody can have a quarrel with that objective. All the same, I had done my best to engage with them over the past so many years to try and improve their services. It was in the same spirit that I had agreed to join the recent effort also. But, what I sensed was some kind of a sabotage happening of the recent reform efforts, and that's what has set me more mutineous now.

The question before the engagers is which of the factions they want to engage with, since the two clearly appear to be working at cross-purposes.

I am more and more convinced that the only option is all out mutiny. Capt Gopinath can be a good ally.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
blrpraj's picture

stratified services by private parties using a common infrastruc

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I definitely disagree with the classic socialist mindset of the rich vs poor divide. There definitely is a no crime in being rich or poor.  I am quite surprised though that nobody has pointed out the classic concoction of socialism(the state being the whole provider) + bad planning + miserable execution without seeing the big picture.

With proper planning and execution stratified services can in fact be provided with careful and intelligent planning. Indian cities are kind of unique in the sense that they have explosive population growth(a big percentage of which relies on public transportation), very little road space, exploding personal vehicle population

 

Where is the lack of planning? - Currently Bangalore is witnessing a road widening fever along with construction of magic boxes, flyovers, elevated roads etc....many have pointed out that road widening is a short sighted approach and I agree with that completely.

 What should be happening is construction of elevated (wherever needed) and surface level (as far as possible) dedicated grade separated busways crisscrossing Bangalore and intermeshing with the Metro at major statons (if not all)  and connecting multiple "hub" terminals. Imagine what a different place Bangalore and a lot of Indian cities would have been if we had wonderful urban planners who designed neighbourhoods/localities with public transport hubs and connected these with dedicated busways? (of course with somebody enforcing laws so that those designs got translated to reality)

What should the govt be doing and what should it's role be? -

  - The state's role should be that of  a regulator (a watch dog) that lays down

      specifications and enforces those along with rules.

  - It should also primaily focus on providing the requisite infrastructure in terms of bus bays, bus terminals, dedicated bus-ways, signalling & information backbone (so that any provider can tap into the information backbone to feed in information like location, speed, destination etc.)  in partnership with private parties on a PPP basis.

 - The state can continue to be the operator of buses like BMTC is today but should throw open the field to private operators who ply their buses on this common infrastructure.

Finally coming to the topic of the thread, providing stratified services -> With the above common infrastructure setup (with proper planning & execution & enforcement) why can anyone not provide stratified services without compromising general quality of service?

Be it a airconditioned super luxury bus (complete with laptop ports, breakfast etc) plying non-stop from Yeswantpur to Electronics city in 30mins OR a ordinary non-AC 50 seater bus  packed with 50 seated and 20 standing stopping at every stop or hub  OR a ordinary non-AC 50 seater bus again packed with 50 seated and 20 standing plying non stop from Yeswantpur to Electronics city  they would travel at the same top speeds on a common infrastructure built to common specifications and standards; have the same level of safety standards. 

Who cares about rich or poor? If one is poor and wants to choose an affordable service then the individual can get into the appropriate class of bus. If one is richer and can afford a higher level of service then get into the appropriate class of bus providing service of your choice.

 

I can guarantee you once thing, without appropriate development of infrastructure on similar means to improve the running time and efficiency of bus services we will not be making headway and the situation is not going to improve.

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Was public consulted..a la JNNURM..Volvo intro?

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Invariably all public service oriented project proposals are taken up, keeping a 'class action' scenario.  Class action refers to 'majority users need' and it is always a prerequisite for authorities concerned to elicite public opinion/popularity survey/ economic viability/replicability/sustainability and other parameters before spending their money. 

No doubt, Research, trails, errors are a part of our living but prudency in public spending is a sacred duty of any authority authorised to spend such moneys from the consolidated fund of India.  This kind of financial prudency has borne fruits through systematic planning and providing services to the majority users of any kind of infrastructure provided in the past several Five Year Plans.  

No doubt 'change is the essence of life' but it should not be at the cost of rendering disservice to majority and service to minority, albeit at a cost.  Result is - running empty/low occupancy Volvo buses (Rs.70 lakhs apiece) at the cost of providing reasonable transport service (Rs.15 lakhs apiece) to need based 3.8 million commuters. Other failures ..HOHO, Big10, Air-conditioned bus stop (albeit PPP) etc. 

In addition, we find a lot of outsourcing is being resorted to by KSRTC/BMTC for introduction of technology based 'improvements' with GIS, GPRS, etc.  Without being too cynical, it has to be pointed out that a bus will arrive at a bus stop only when it could come and the man at the bus stop can get in and reach his destination when the bus takes him home.  This is the reality of the situation and the family of the commuter will be worried till he gets back home because they cannot track him with any kind of GIS/GPRS system. 

My personal view is we travel in BMTC buses to reach destinations and not to enjoy travelling - some of us get even trampled, school children are crushed, women with babies get dangerously jolted, senior citizens with their meagre pension are getting nudged all over and are suffering silently and the list is long.

He feels the agony of the hit below his belt when the looks out of the overcrowded ordinary bus and finds an empty Volvo going to the same destination but procured out of the money contributed by himself and his fellow majority travellers in ordinary buses. 

Stratified transport service to majority users is too glaring to be brushed aside as an isolated happening; what is most glaring is the experiment with providing comfort zones for a few.  Volvos may be making a few bucks, of late, on certain routes but the cost involved in running, occupancy ratio, fuel consumption and its failure to achieve socio economic changes cannot be dismissed just like that.

 

idontspam's picture

Socialist Republic of India

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Volvo buses (Rs.70 lakhs apiece) at the cost of providing reasonable transport service (Rs.15 lakhs apiece)

Thereby we should also abolish AC in trains, we should oinly have 2nd class unreserved. We should also not have business class in planes only economy. I cant believe how far people go to dumb down our quality of life.

By extension we cannot have rich people because they are a sin to society... they are not supposed to run business and prosper because it makes them rich. Let all rich people give up their money and go to state support and ask the state to provide jobs to all. Why do I get the feeling the former USSR is in the making?

idontspam's picture

Parochialism

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I want to take this stand here. There is an unserved set of passengers who want to use public transport at a certain level of safety, reliability and comfort but are resorting to using private transport due to unavailability. Volvos (Synonym for premium service) give an opportunity to get this class on board and reduce the private transport thus serving the common good of all class of passengers. There is a currently served set of passengers (3.8 mil) who already have an option but may be underserved due to ineffeciencies in routing and lack of safety reliability and comfort. I know Praja has been campaigning for bettering the services in general and also serving the unserved and underserved. I am convinced all campaigns and meetings by Praja emphasise safety, reliability and comfort without distinctions of class. This class war is artificial and created by parochial thinking.

blrpraj's picture

re: Was public consulted..a la JNNURM..Volvo intro?

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@Vasanthkumar My..

Everything has a cost and usually a better class of service costs more relative to a class of service that is not so good.

1) good private English medium schools (which most of us on this forum probably have attended and probably definitely want the same education for our children) 

      versus

Govt School        

2) Living in a good decent house 

     versus

     some rundown accomodation provided by the housing/slum development board ..or..even worse

3) travelling in reserved coach (2nd class/ac/non ac/etc. ) in train

versus

Travelling by unreserved coach on trains

   4) procuring  good quality drinking water for me and my family in the absence of running tap water at home 

      versus

  standing in a mile long line to get water from the local nearby tank probably having contaminated water.

I would not beat around the bush and unabashedly say that I want the best service in each of the above category if I can afford it. I can assume the same is true of 99% of the forumers here since we are talking about English educated computer savvy people on an online forum...so I will eat my hat if anybody says they would opt for a lower class of service.  Now, in each of the above cases, going by your logic are we getting better service at the "cost" of the others?

Sir, I don't think you are addressing the root cause of failures be it this public transport system, railways, roads etc.;   lack of proper planning, execution and enforcement plus systematic discipline are the root causes.  If you carefully read my previous post i have advocated building a scalable public infrastructure backbone where buses and metro trains mesh with each other. On this backbone various classes of service can be run.

Moreover if you really see, public transport for the majority of the population is being subsidised by the taxpayers who are earning higher incomes and through other forms of taxes; with just the fare collection I doubt if a bus costing even Rs 10 lakh apiece is affordable.

But, yes, I do get your point about the disparity in the cost of the vehicle, and this is where a transparent bidding process with proper law enforcement helps. Also, buses operated by private parties will also help..where the taxpayers don't subsidize expensive buses and the private parties will have to sustain themselves with adequate capital and fare collection. What is important though is the common infrastructure (dedicated busways, bus bays, hub terminals etc.) built to standard specifications and having rules plus operating standards common to all operators.

 

 

 

  

skumaras's picture

Could spin off Volvo operations to a separate company

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The opinion of majority of the people in this thread is that a differentiated service needs to be provided to lure people from their personal vehicles to public transport – primarily buses. Personal vehicles do not include just cars. It also includes two wheelers, auto rickshaws and the yellow cabs which all combine to increase the congestion on our roads.

Judging by the good patronage received by the Volvos on the 335E and 500K routes it is evident that the Volvos have been successful in getting a large number of people to use public transport. It is highly doubtful whether these people could have been persuaded to use public transport just by adding more ordinary buses.

One complaint Ms. Vasanthkumar has about the Volvo’s is that they are being procured at a hefty price “out of the money contributed by the majority travelers in ordinary buses”. If that is the case it is certainly unfair. One option to avoid such a situation is to shift the operations of the Volvo buses to a separate company which could again be state owned. This new company should be responsible for its own finances and then we can see whether the premium services are sustainable. This is not a far fetched option. Some states like Tamil Nadu have a separate company to run their express buses.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

socialism, parochialism...aam aadmi does not understand...

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Frankly, as an aam aadmi, I do not understand the meanings of these bombastic words.  What I understand is and appeal to BMTC authorities is to make arrangements to reduce my travails of travelling by BMTC buses, the need for fast,  efficient and economic transport system, whether it is by ordinary black/red board buses or affordable Volvos/Leylands until I become a slumdog millionnaire. 

Though I dislike to be dragged into rich and poor controversy, which was not the original intention, when I started this Post, I will be failing if I do not give my views to blrpraj and skumaras -

root cause - yes sir, this is the point at which I am trying to drive home; you are right - 'attakke haaradavanu, bettakke haariyaane?'  Even before finding solutions to the travails being faced by aam aadmis (no need to go into details again), BMTC started splurging, squandering and indulged in risky investments in Volvos/Big10 etc.  There are enough elaborations in many posts on this point.

Then there is this chaotic vehicles movement on narrow roads that force most of the over crowded BMTC buses switch off their engines on roads around the Central Business District; results in less consumption of fuel but adds to the engine efficiency of the vehicles and helps its bottom line of P&L account only let that profit go into Volvo. 

hi class living - A/C, I class, private schools, decent houses, reserved coaches, classy living. Yes Sirs, answer to this lies in the vision statement of Mr.Manivannan, IAS, a highly proactive Praja member and DC of Mysore - "Life is beautiful (conditions apply)".  In tamil they say "kuduth vechavungo".

Hi-end schools are run by private investments because State has miserably failed like BMTC to provide even decent infrastructure and environment for the children of 'have nots' thus forcing the gullible people to opt for high end schools albeit with loans - socialistic pattern?  

Laluji's turned railways 360 degrees, reduced the problems of common man and considered going in for hi-technology and bullet trains shortly worth,

Decent houses in A class cities have become Volvos and Big10s for aam aadmi.

We cannot wish away poverty;    'rich' and 'poor' are like the two rails on which the train of democracy runs; the rails never meet, they only cross each other and the different kinds of people travel by different class of accommodation.

Taxes are being collected for not providing required services;  but money is being spent; where did my money go?

Let me quote a Vachana from Vachanaamruth Saara:

Umbuvudilladonige, umbuva chinte (one who is hungry, will think only about how to survive without food)

Umbalu aadare, uduvaa chinte (once he gets something to eat, his next thought will be on what to wear)

Udaloo aadare, iduvaa chinte (once he gets some clothes to wear, then he thinks of hoarding)

Idaloo aadare, hennina chinthe (once he has enough lucre, he starts thinking of having a wife)

Hendiru aadare, makkala chinthe (after getting a wife, next his thoughts will be on children)

There is so much to learn from this Vachana for BMTC and also to those who have already attained the stage of silver or golden spoons;

So far as black board bus commuters are concerned, we are at the top line of this Vachana.

Separate company to run Volvos through investment from the 'haves' is a very good proposition and I wish BMTC goes back to its basics of providing socio-economic beneficial transport service, even if it means subsiding its service from the profits made out of such a Volvo Transport company.

I did travel in Volvo and enjoyed it when it was Re.1 for a day only.

 

 

 

 

idontspam's picture

Double standards

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Laluji's turned railways 360 degrees, reduced the problems of common man and considered going in for hi-technology and bullet trains shortly worth

Really? Please see this PAC report slamming the IR. By your logic the railways have no basis for introducing 1st class, AC, shatabdi or rajdhani let alone palace on wheels or bullet trains.

In fact Laloo was proposing to screw the common man by introducing a side middle berth in 2nd class! What were they building a train for midgets or a WW2 bunker?

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

PAC reports are lying in ghettos of Parliament;

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Why pick Railways alone? Railways is a classic example to showcase to the world that it is possible to turn around such a mamoth loss making public sector utility service with a little imagination and down to earth management strategies. But BMTC embarking on unchartered frontiers without properly addressing the needs of the commuters at the grass roots level is something that is worth questioning by PAC.

What about the other points in my post? 

Rithesh's picture

Railways is no different than BMTC

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Vasanthkumar Sir,

I see no difference between how Railways and BMTC are being run. Both claim to be profit making entities. Both make profits by hardly investing in commuter infrastructure.

Railways - basic things like toilets both on the rails and in stations are horrible, stations are mostly filled with filth, they are not commuter/disabled friendly, they do not invest in rail infrastructure - like ROBs, RUBs (as a result other road users have to suffer), the coaches are as bad as BMTC buses, they are over congested (refer to that middle berth problem IDS pointed out), new projects/track doubling/new tracks hardly go as scheduled, trains are never on time (over utilization of tracks) - causing delays, etc etc.. After independence we have hardly added any new tracks!!

No point in stating the issues with BMTC - you know it better than anyone.

Both the railways and BMTC also make significant amount of money from non-commuter operations - real estate and ad revenues. If BMTC has Volvos - railways have Shatabdhis (and they are also talking about bullet trains now). A Shatabdhi always gets the first right of use on any track - all others have to wait for it to pass by - why aren't you opposing Shatabdhis?

We need to be fighting for better services on non-Volvo buses and that cannot be achieved by killing Volvo services. These are completely non related issues.

Railways turn around was not because of Lalu"ji". He just took the credit for it.

blrpraj's picture

railways has the same ailings as BMTC

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@vasanthkumar

The only credit that railways can take pride in is being one of the largest networks in the world, otherwise as far as safety, average speeds, cleanliness etc. go a lot is left to be desired and we are behind 2nd world countries (like China) also.  India's strong point is it's railway network and is in fact a gold mine for investment and expansion but when the classic concoction of corruption, bad planning, inefficient execution (similar to what is witnessed in BMTC, Airports Authority of India ect) you get to see what the end results are.

When I visited London for the 1st time in my life, I relied on efficient public transport for 4 days without a problem(in an alien land) and in fact wen to Cardiff which is about 2.5 hrs away by fast train and back to heathrow again by train; but in my own Bangalore it can be an ordeal to use public transport say for example to get from Kormangala, do some work in the city then interchange with transport to Mysore and then get back to Kormangala.

I really wish there is proper planning and infrastructure from the ground up is built where a 5 lakh bus or a 75lakh ultra luxury bus can ply with passengers intermeshing with other modes of transport (rail, tram etc). It of course costs money but we have no other way out than investing. Why can't Bangalore (and other Indian cities) have a crisscross of multilane freeways for the exclusive use of high occupancy commercial passenger vehicles? Very often we complain about the bad influences of the west(I am digressing from the topic a little bit) but, doesn't it make sense to copy some things to our advantage? Imagine multilane freeways (complete with on ramps and off ramps) for the exclusive use of high occupancy vehicles(HOV) ..for discussions sake let's say 25 seater and above. This exclusive use can be limited to let's say 8.00 am to 7.00 pm  if required and opened for private vehicles during off peak late hours if required as a tollway where private vehicles will have to pay for using the infrastructure.

The number of jobs generated in the process would also be significant and we could set a benchmark to the rest of the world if we setup this system.

 

 

 

Naveen's picture

Clean Buses - Our Responsibility Too

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Mr.Vasnthkumar,

You demand repeatedly for "clean, fast, efficient & economic transport" from BMTC for all, & it appears that your demands have come as a result of the introduction of volvos with higher ticket prices that are cleaner & better. They may not necessarily be faster since traffic conditions effect them equally as it does other buses. The only advantage is that volvos have better engines with quicker pick-up.

Have you ever considered why buses are not so fast & are losing efficiency ? Why they are unclean, as you state ? I will leave the economic part aside since only volvos (some 224 buses) are higher priced.

They are losing efficiency because of crowded roads - crowded roads mainly because there are too many cars. And there are too many cars because these car users do not want to use ordinary buses & demand much more cleaner buses, is'nt it ? So, the first step in the solution to make buses "fast & efficient" is clearly to remove as many cars as possible from the streets, is'nt it ?

Yesterday, when I was travelling by bus from Madivala, I noted a person peeling oranges within the bus & dropping the skin under his seat. Another passenger (sitting next to me) tried to spit out of the window, but some of it stuck to the window glass. So, BMTC is not the only party responsible if buses are dirty & in poor condition. People are equally responsible.

BMTC can maintain buses only as clean as passengers allow it to be. So, I don't buy your argument about BMTC's failure in maintaining buses clean since we also contribute to the dirt within the buses. It is our collective failure !   Similarly, if the streets are dirty, we cannot just only blame BBMP for it.

Maybe you should consider a campaign to educate people to keep buses clean & co-operate with BMTC to help maintain a better public transport before blaming only BMTC about unclean buses.

BMTC's experiment with higher priced services has a chance of reducing cars on the streets. In the process, they may also improve road efficiency for all city buses, & hopefully they will generate enough revenues to subsidise & help in the effort to improve services for all.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Are people responsible and

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Ritesh Bhai,

You are right; there is a legacy of decades of wretched service in railways. we will come to that later and may be we will have a separate post through Praja to invite a wider audience on the lines similar to BMTC topic.   Your point : Shatabdhis getting preferential treatment at crossings goes to prove my point that even railways are stratifying their services at the cost of the passenger service.  But there is every possibility of the driver making it up to keep up the timings.

But BMTC?  Chaos on roads, switched off engines, economy in diesel use, showing it as profit and the crowd inside sweats it out whereas Volvo standing next to black board bus is empty.  Great social sector service? How I wish I was inside that Volvo having a good cool nap by stretching my legs, but, could not...reasons are universally known.  This clearly indicates that I am not against Volvo, let them run empty and let me dream, me inside it. Got it?

Lalu took the credit? Really? Then why other umpteen number of Railways Ministers were not able to make a 360 degrees turn around during their regime? What credit they got? Increased losses?  We must learn to be grateful to those who have rendered 100 grams of service whereas there are those who have been hogging tons.

blrpraj

It heartening to note that you were able to get the best of public transport service at London and I am sure at least cost.  Can I also dream of such a system through BMTC? That is all my concern and the rest is only incidental.

Naveen Bhai,

You are one thousand per cent correct. People should be more responsible; like they claim their rights they must also discharge the constitutional obligations of doing their duties and responsibilities. But they only know how to spit Zarda on the tarmac soon as they land in India. 

Sample of what I have done: (1) Rajajinagar II Block, KLE International School, big safe wall alround;   I have written this personally on the wall in red paint : "Ye naayi, moothra beda" (Hey dog, do not urinate here) still, people unzip while kids from top floors keep watching - lnauseating isn't it? (2) Same place - all educated and responsible  living around, 9 to 11 PM, they come out to have a whiff of fresh air with a large plastic bag containing their "household holasu", dump it right in front of the building housing a hi-end Computer Technology Institute of KLE. I have written on the wall "Ninna Holasu Nanna Mane Munde yeke?" (why are you dumping your shit in front of my place?"  Anything more to educate? Sorry.. because I have objected and got smeared with lot of muck...by our Garden Shitty Shitizens.  THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO THOSE WHO ARE GOOD CITIZENS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

BMTC BOTTOM LINE BUSTED BY VOLVOS-2008-09-LOSS-Rs.3.28 crores

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Dear All,

BMTC has incurred a mamoth loss of Rs.3.28 crores during 2008-09 in running Volvos introduced in 2006 (while 3.8 lakh commuters wait for ordinary buses)- Loss for third consecutive year.

To stem the rot, Prof.M N Srihari in his report has suggested:

Increase Volvo seats from 35 to 45;                                                                   

Run the fleet only during peak hours;                                                         

Withdraw from loss making routes;                                                               

Provide Volvos only to IT/ITeS hubs;

All these boils down to how a social services sector has embarked on adventure capital investment plan with stratified /deficient service to one section of the society :

bad investment; 

idea of roping in car-wallahs and two wheelers failed;

government should immediately direct BMTC to stop buying more Volvos;

Source: Deccan Chronicle dated 14-4-09 pg.2 

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

blrpraj's picture

what the question really is

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@vasanthkumar

The real question that BMTC and the Govt. has to answer is that could a higher priced service have been provided using a bus that cost say at the most 5 or 10 lakhs above that of an ordinary BMTC bus. It is very resasonable for anybody to raise an eyebrow if BMTC is procuring a bus at 5 or 6 times the cost of an ordinary bus to provide premium services.

Secondly, like I said before, premium services should either have been spun off by BMTC as a self sustaining corporation OR have been provided by a private party OR should have been provided in parnership with a private party on a PPP model with major capital infusion from private sources and remaining sustenance from passenger fares collected.

Vasanthkumar, if you are referring to the economics of the high priced services and the fact that the volvo service is in fact a white elephant receiving subsidies, I am totally with you on that; if I were the BMTC chairman and BMTC was my company I would not be buying buses worth 65lakhs or more when 99% of buses in the fleet cost a fraction of that and are earning a majority of the revenue. But, please make no mistake, I am not against the premium service itself.  The service needs to be delivered correctly without subsidies.

Without solid data and without doing data mining using IT it will remain mere speculation if car users are being swayed towards using buses by providing premium services. The said data can be captured 1) at the time of purchase of premium service passes where the purchaser lists the number and types of vehicles owned  and  2) at the time of actually using the service where the passenger swipes the pass against a pass reader in the bus. Then, on a daily/weekly/monthly montly basis the collected data can be accurately analyzed for tracking these parameters -

1) how many actually used the service vs how many bought passes/tickets

2) what are the hours of the day that had most number of passengers

3) what routes had the most passengers, which bus stop accounted for most number of passengers, where did most number of passengers get off (i think the last one may be obvious..most passengers would be getting off at electronics city or whitefield)

I am not sure if BMTC is already doing the above data mining and tracking, can anybody please clarify?

 

Naveen's picture

Scanty Data-Yes, But Assumptions Incorrect

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I agree that data about usage patterns for volvos is unavailable & needs some serious introspection.

But, I think the assumption that only IT areas use these services is incorrect. I boarded a volvo at Shivajinagar at about 4.30PM, bound for JP Nagar & got off midway. The bus was totally full at Shivajinagar itself & had many who were standing. This may be because there are few volvos from Shivajinagar, but this shows that usage is not confined only to the IT areas.

The IT areas corner much of the crowds using volvos for sure, but there is also a market for different destinations, as my experience tells. The no. of services can be reduced to only those segments that do not lose money.

I dont think one can declare that the effort to rope in car users has 'failed' yet. This would of course require data, but there are atleast some indications that some car users prefer to use volvos.

s_yajaman's picture

Volvo costing - an attempt

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Agree that Volvos should stand on their own feet.  Need to understand fixed and variable costs for a Volvo.  Let us make some assumptions.

Fixed cost

Cost of Volvo = Rs.75,00,000.  Depreciates over 5 years.  Depreciation cost = Rs.15,00,000 per year.

Driver + conductor salary = 2 sets of crew @Rs.15,000 CTC = Rs. 7,50,000 per year

Maintenance costs (cleaning, checking, etc) 2% - Rs.1,50,000 per year (just a number)

= Rs.24,00,000 per year

Let us say a bus does an average of 15 kmph for 14 hrs/day = 200 km (approx) per day

Fixed cost / km = 24,00,000/(200*350) = 24,00,000/70000 = Rs.35/km (approx)

Variable costs/km

Diesel @2kmpl = Rs.20

Tyres 2 sets/year = 12 tyres *10000 / 70000 = Rs.2/km

Oil changes, servicing - 7 times a year - Rs.70000 - Re 1 /km

Variable costs = rs. 23 /km - add 10% for others = Rs.25/km

Total cost/km for a Volvo bus @70000 km/year = Rs.60/km

Daily cost for a volvo = Rs.12,000

Per trip cost for a Volvo assuming 20 km trip = Rs.1200.  If we assume that 30 people use a Volvo per trip - we need to chargeRs.40 for a 20km trip or rs.2/km. 

Given that variable costs are Rs.25/km we can have off peak hour fares to get more people - this can be at Re.1/km. and fill in the buses. 

Srivathsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrpraj's picture

a further attempt at volvo-nomics

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1) Killer costs
“Our calculations appear to have terribly gone wrong,” a top BMTC official told Bangalore Mirror. While the earnings per kilometre from a Vayu Vajra bus are just Rs 25.48, the corresponding expenditure incurred per km is considerably more at Rs 41.53. The mileage clocked by a Vayu Vajra bus, which costs around Rs 75 lakh, is just 2.56 km per litre of diesel.

source -

http://www.bangaloremirro...

2) General bus-onomics ;this is a very interesting article that should give us more insights about the vehicle costs itself, what features make a bus more expensive and why

http://www.cseindia.org/A...

3) Another attempt of explaining volvo-nomics to the layman

http://ecofin.wordpress.c...
 
Please draw your own conclusions, but, I would go by the figure of Rs 41.53 indicated in the BangaloreMirror article (assuming that the article is correct and a  reliable BMTC official was a source for the article).

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

BMTC is cornered..time to come on line..

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blrpraj

I am also not against having a little desert after a good meal; but leave alone a good meal, when the meal itself is hard to come by, I do not want to dream of desert at all.  Only after collecting statistics through the trip sheets/way bills of conductors at depot levels, of each and every bus, figures are arrived at to announce its working results.  This appears to be a solid enough data and Rs.3.28 crores loss is official. 

Here is a repro of what the conductors and bus drivers of Vayu Vajra have to say (cut and paste from Bangalore Mirror of 14-4-09) 

"Passengers have complained to us that it is irritating to sit in the bus and wait till it starts. They instead prefer to reach the airport by a taxi and wait there,” a Vayu Vajra driver operating from HAL airport said. Joining in, a conductor pointed out, “None of the Vayu Vajra-designated stops en route to BIA have bus shelters where passengers can wait. Why would any air traveller stand on the main road and wait for our bus to arrive?”  Another reason why air travellers do not prefer the Vayu Vajra is because of the crush during peak hours.  “As our buses have a seating capacity of just 30 persons, people get irritated when they do not find seats. On their next trip to BIA, they invariably prefer to hire a taxi or get a family member to drop them at the airport,” another driver said.
 

Naveen

Prof. Sreehari is a traffic management expert and after analysing the data and statistics supplied to him, he appears to have arrived at the conclusion that enough revenue is being earned through Volvo service to IT/ITeS sectors and his recommendations have to be studied.  

Shrivatsa

Assumptions made for fixed cost, variable costs and proposed revenue earning methodology appears to be reasonable and it is a good exercise. Let us hope, with such proactive and constructive suggestions, BMTC will be able to recoup some loss. 

Hold it, I saw a blackboard bus coming and I just wanted to close this post...but the bus zipped past my bus stop and may be I will continue in my next...Bye for now. 

 

 

 

s_yajaman's picture

Need to understand assumptions/data

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Interesting that BMTC has rs.42/km on Volvos.  Need to understand the assumptions a bit more.  How much is variable and how much is fixed. 

Let us assume Rs 50/km as the cost.  225 buses running 200 km / day - means daily costs are around Rs.22,00,000 or about Rs.6 crores a month.  We need to have revenues more than that.

Let us say that BMTC introduces a Vajra pass at Rs.750/month and that can be used on any bus as well.  How many additional people will have to utilize Vajras passes / month - 80000 extra people need to buy this pass.  In a city of 450,000 cars and 2,000,000 two wheeler and 100,000 autos should not be difficult.  BMTC has to put these buses where the money is. It might have to reserve 20 buses for political destinations, but has to put the others in economically viable places.

There are (from bmtcinfo.com) 2.35 lakh monthly passes issued (Rs.400/month?)  Let us assume that 10% of these upgrade to Vajra and contribute rs.350/month more as well.   That is Rs.84,00,000 additional revenue.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrpraj's picture

volvonomics - from a different source this time

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Deccan Herals puts it at Rs 45 per km. So I think an avg between 41.53 (BangaloreMirror) and 45 (DeccanHerald) can be taken for our computations.

"BMTC officials said that the cost of operating each Vajra bus amounts to Rs 10,000 a day, while fetching a daily revenue of Rs six lakh. “With close to 100 volvo buses plying on City roads, the promotional offer made us poorer by Rs five lakh on the four days it was run for Re 1” BMTC officials said.

The BMTC spends Rs 45/km as operating costs for these high end low floor a/c buses. Factor in the average ticket fares that range between Rs 10 and Rs 80, the promotional exercise was done to offer the common man and those who have not travelled in a volvo a chance to do so, added BMTC officials."

source - http://www.deccanherald.com/CONTENT/Sep162008/city2008091690271.asp

Vasanth's picture

Another source of Volvonomics

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http://bangalorebuzz.blogspot.com/2009/04/volvo-buses-drain-on-bmtc.html

Question is why not other alternatives or manufacturers of similar type of buses at lesser cost could not be approached.

Why not BMTC not exploring mini A/C buses like SRS Travels one run for companies at lower occupany routes and sticking only to Volvos.

Why BMTC is dancing at the whims of politicians and providing Volvos wherever they demand.

Why not ordinary non A/C low floor  buses with similar comforts, pickup and suspension as that of Volvos not being explored like the Delhi BRT buses.

Major source for loss I see is the 66 bus run on the HOHO.

 

s_yajaman's picture

More Volvonomics from Bangalorebuzz

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Got some more juice from Bangalore Buzz

"● TRANSPORT BODY INCURS LOSSES FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR According to sources, in 2008-09, 310 Volvo buses earned Rs 52.56 crore as revenue.

But the operational cost of these buses was Rs 55.84 crore leading to heavy losses for the Corporation
."
 

a. 310 Volvo buses - does this mean it includes VV?  As per their own website they have 224 City Vajra buses

b. Assuming a cost/km of Rs.42 this means that they ran about 13 million km in 2008 or about 121 km/day/bus.  Very low.  Given that fixed costs will be 50-60% of their costs they need to improve utilization of buses by running them for 16-18 hrs/day even if it means 2 sets of crew and run them on the right routes.

c. Does the revenue also include advertising revenue?  Because I saw somewhere up there that revenue/km is just Rs.25 or so.  They cannot bank on those forever.  In an economy in recession that will be the first to go.

Srivathsa

 

 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

s_yajaman's picture

More Volvonomics from Express Buzz

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"BMTC had targeted to earn Rs 10 per km from ads. The operating costs of a Volvo bus" is Rs 52 per km.

 

BMTC had quoted Rs 20 lakh per bus per year for ads on a Vayu Vajra bus and Rs 6 lakh per bus per year from others. All BMTC buses on the airport route, 40 Vayu Vajra and 43 Suvarna buses, and 46 Vajra buses on city routes were up for advertisements.

 

More Volvo buses to come BMTC has planned to purchase 200 new Volvo buses in the current year. This is part of BMTC’s plan to add 1,000 new buses to the already existing 5,441, utilising the JNNURM funds from the union government.

 

The Minister for Transport, R Ashok in the Legislative Council last month said that all the 264 volvo buses (Vajra and Vayu Vajra) were making a daily profit of Rs 19.59 lakh through advertisements.

 

However, the BMTC had been incurring a daily loss of Rs 4.35 lakh due to operation of these buses"

Here the bus numbers add up.  224 Vajras (same as bmtcinfo) and 40Vayu Vajras = 264 buses.  Rs.52/km as the operating costs.  Comes between the rs.41 from Bangalore Mirror and the Rs.60 from my back of the envelope calculations. 

Lots of different numbers from different sources.

Srivathsa

 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Some awakening by BMTC...Standing only buses...

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Media: www.deccanchronicle.com page 2

/fewer seats in buses for ladies and elders - improved interiors  and exteriors - more moolah /

I had posted a suggestion to BMTC requesting for removing the seats and providing a few only for ladies and elders and for modifying interirors of existing blackboard/red board buses with short haul durations say Majestic to Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur, Basaveswaranagar, Vijayanagar shivajinagar, city market, etc., 

Now BMTC appears to be interested in introducing such a facility: 

My further suggestions in this regard:

Make life of ladies that much comfortable by bifurcating the bus with grill work with an aisle for conductor only and men should not move over to the other side reserved for ladies;

Put trailers on such short haul routes (any way traffic will allow only that much speed at snails space)  with

maximum standing and minimum seats -

 keep large window openings for air circulation -

have proper strong straps to hang on while standing -

provide fans from roofs like railway compartments -

keep the interiors free from dust, grime and dried vomit -

let there be proper 'IN' and 'OUT" facility and restrict both ways movement with lock in - lock out facility

introduce e-ticketing or swiping travel cards or even prepaid cards

-  Volvos/Big10 can also be introduced for experimentation -

with reduced seats,

more standing,

reduced fare,

limited stops  --  Results in:  More money, good and moderately comfortable service.

- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath 

idontspam's picture

Gender discrimination

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 bifurcating the bus with grill work with an aisle for conductor only and men should not move over to the other side reserved for ladies

Wow, You make swat valley sound like a liberal democracy.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Holistic thoughts needed

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IDS Sir

Why bring in gender into such an important point of protecting the honor and dignity of our women folk who have no other go but to use public transport? Let us think in a holistic manner and give them a confidence that Praja-galu are around to give a helping hand in making their life that much safe and secure. 

Bifurcated buses are nothing new - I have travelled in such a bus in Kolkata, the only difference being, in one half of the bus meant for men, sheep were also being transported and they were not complaining of harassement from men.

We are all rational human beings; but sometimes, some loose rationality and behave like animals. Some such beings are present on a regular basis in BMTC buses.

I am sure some lady Praja (Jennypinto-ji or anybody) will be able to throw more light on behalf of the fair ladies about their experience.

If somebody had indulged in such acts in Swat Valley, their rules are totally different for indulging in Talibanised Pinching and shoving etc., of the women folk in their land.

SOS /Jenny Pintoji..../

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

SB_YPR's picture

How reliable is this "expert analysis"?

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Hi,

To stem the rot, Prof.M N Srihari in his report has suggested:

Before accepting "expert" views at face value, one needs to examine the credentials of the person making the statement. IMHO, any "expert" who conducts a survey and concludes that the average occupancy of V 335E is 6 passengers, needs to have his head examined.

Increase Volvo seats from 35 to 45; 

The seating capacity of a Volvo is 41. Where did he get 35 from?                                                                  

Run the fleet only during peak hours;       

On Sunday, I spotted an Orange Line and V 331A  at Shivajinagar around 1 pm (non-peak hour). The OL left jam-packed with standees, while the 331A left with about 20 passengers on board. Is the suggestion for BMTC to further lose passengers?                                                 

Withdraw from loss making routes;

OK. But "loss-making routes"  should be classified on the basis of operating revenue and not on random generalisations like "non-IT" or "peak hour service" etc.                                                           

Provide Volvos only to IT/ITeS hubs;

I wonder if he has ever travelled on 45-G, 201-R, 500-D or 258-C (all of which are non-IT routes).

All these boils down to how a social services sector has embarked on adventure capital investment plan with stratified /deficient service to one section of the society :

When 95% of the fleet consists of "ordinary" buses and only 5% of "luxury" buses, I wonder who is being provided with deficient service here?

bad investment; 

government should immediately direct BMTC to stop buying more Volvos;

So, on the basis of incorrect statistics, farcial analysis and  unexplainable generalisations, comes a grand, hollow conclusion. Such is the greatness of the self-proclaimed "experts". And the best part : they expect people to buy this trash, and there are many who do.

Need I say more?

Regards,

 

~~~~

Manish, Nagarbhavi.

~~~~

Manish.

silkboard's picture

335E and average 6 passengers

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How do people calculate the average passengers in a bus, is it

  • Average occupancy per km? or
  • Total number of tickets sold divided by total number of times the route was run? or
  • Avg number of people who travelled full route? or
  • Something even more stupdi and basic like avg number of people observed at either origin or destination per route run?

A serious report quoting stats and surveys should mention what the stats mean and how was the data collected. May be Prof Sreehari knows what the "avg passenger" stat means, and the newspaper reporter didn't care to explain. But I will like to see the full report myself (it should appear on BMTC site if he did it as an official engagement with them)

In past, some of Mr Sreehari's reports haven't mentioned the detailed sample set and survey method for stats. The numbers could very well have been based on observation at a bad spot like Majestic (I have taken 335E and 333P till Majestic in peak hours, after Kanteerava stadium, I hardly had 6-7 people left for company.).

I wonder when was the last time BMTC got a proper marketing and operations survey done from an external paid expert. Business plans and decisions can't be based on reports produced by a bunch of us enthusiasts, or "internal activists" (my term for activists "within the system").

To clarify again, I am not challenging Prof MNS or us self-appointed Praja expert's analytical skills. But market survey or operation audits are serious affairs.

idontspam's picture

Kid gloves = gender discrimination

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protecting the honor and dignity of our women folk

Discrimination = Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit

s_yajaman's picture

335E - 6 passengers and all

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SB,

If there is truth to the statement that 335E has only 6-7 passengers in general after Corporation, then it is a very valid observation.  It might be the case that there is no option but to run 335E from KBS (workshop/depot).  Or it might make more sense to run it from Shantinagar TTMC if most people are indeed getting off by the time the bus reached Richmond Circle.  People who want to continue to Majestic (if there are only 6 or 7 of them) can take 365/356C. 

High time BMTC did a (renewed?) commuter survey and asked people where they were headed to rather than making assumptions.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

ashwin's picture

Traffic experts and other strange animals

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This Sreehari dude's claim to fame is making statements like 'trees on footpath are impediments to pedestrians and should be chopped down' and 'Trees belong in parks, not on the road'. And these are only some select sample.

Like any self proclaimed expert, he knows that publicity is his life blood, so making xxxxx statements from time to time is the way to stay in the news. I would disregard any findings from such 'experts'. They aren't worth the paper they are printed on.




 

idontspam's picture

The "dude" is true

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 You can follow the discussion on this here

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Big 10s Backfire !

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Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Bus! No more BMTC on road..dude is right again

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Hi Manish

Here is something for you to chew on. 

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/bengaluru/bus%21-no-more-bmtc-fleet-expansion-994

Report: By 2012 BMTC wants to put 10,000 new buses on the roads of namma Bengaluru - VOL-ume-WOES ! 

- let us do some simple calculation:  If each bus has a length of 50 feet and requires about 5 feet in the front and 5 feet at the back to keep it moving - total 60 feet road is required for each bus.  This means 60' X 10,000 buses = 6,00,000 feet of road will be required to keep them on road by 2012?  Any idea on how to provide this length of road by 2012..?

- Metro is likely to be ready by 2011 - hopefully.  20 per cent commuters of BMTC may change their travel mode and  road vehicles speed within city will be 4 kms. per hour. 

- BMTC has already lost several crores..new hi-end buses not utilised by commuters - It is foolish to keep on increasing buses without road infrastructure.

- Vasanth Mysoremath

 

SB_YPR's picture

Throw the cars out

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Hi,

let us do some simple calculation:  If each bus has a length of 50 feet and requires about 5 feet in the front and 5 feet at the back to keep it moving - total 60 feet road is required for each bus.  This means 60' X 10,000 buses = 6,00,000 feet of road will be required to keep them on road by 2012?  Any idea on how to provide this length of road by 2012..?

I'd like to provide the solution with some more calculation. A car occupies about half the road space of a bus. So, the space occupied by 10,000 buses would be the same as occupied by 10,000*2 = 20,000 cars. Eliminate this many cars from the road and you will find space for the buses.

Various methods of eliminating cars such as congestion charges, heavy taxes, odd/even numberplate rectriction have all been discussed on the forum in the past. Every one of them can be implemented with sufficient political will. So, the solution is not a problem. The question is : are we ready to throw our cars out?

As to me, I'd prefer to see 10,000 Volvos on the roads instead of 20,000 cars.

Regards,

~~~~

Manish, Nagarbhavi.

~~~~

Manish.

skumaras's picture

Why this blind Volvo bashing

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>>>- BMTC has already lost several crores..new hi-end buses not utilised by commuters - It is foolish to keep on increasing buses without road infrastructure.


I don't understand why Mr. Vasanth keeps on harping on with this theme of non-utilization of hi-end buses by commuters. Maybe he sees empty Volvos in the area where he lives, but that is not the case with all routes.

I work at ITPL and take the Volvo buses from Agara (near Silkboard). From early morning till noon it is impossible to get any seat on 500K which shuttles between Vijayanagar and ITPL. Not only that, the buses are jam packed till about 2 KM from the final destination. There are some Volvos originating at Silkboard (500C) in which I manage to get seats. It is the same story in the evening. From about 4:00 PM till past 8:00 PM the buses run jam packed from ITPL till well past Silkboard. I just manage to get seats in the evening since I get in at the first stop.


I observe other Volvos that run in this area and I see that the occupancy is reasonable; maybe not as high as the ordinary buses, but then you don't expect that people to put up with huge crowds after paying a premium price.


It is true that these buses may run with low occupancy in the reverse direction of the commute. But there is nothing BMTC can do about it. They may have to run one half of a schedule Ithe return trip) practically empty. The buses can't magically appear at the origin of the route again after completing one half of the schedule.


It is easy to bash these services saying that they are only meant to cater to the car using elite. But that really is not the case. A large portion of users of these buses are just middle class people who would other wise have taken out their two wheelers adding to the congestion on the roads. And some of the users are car owners like me who have discovered the advantages of using public transportation. If these services are dismantled (as some on this forum seem to want to), it will only cause all of these bus users to switch back to their private transportation.


I agree that some route rationalization of these Volvos is required to divert the buses to more profit making routes. But again, people won’t patronize these buses if the buses are not regular in a route which means a bus at least once in half an hour or so. Also it takes time for people to notice that the buses are plying regularly and then consider switching to them. So there will be some inefficiency for a period of time till people switch.


But we don’t really have any alternate if we wish to decongest Bangalore. Or if there is one, the people who bash these services could articulate that clearly instead of just criticizing one of the few good initiatives that I think BMTC has come up with.

skumaras's picture

Space on the road for the 10000 new buses

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Statistics obtained from the Bangalore City traffic police web site

Vehicle population in Bangalore city:
Two Wheelers 2263552
L.M.V 553321
Auto rickshaw 95859
H.T.V. 50096
H.G.V 109051
Others 103251
Total 3175130

 I guess if the new buses can result in a small fraction of these vehicles getting off the road, there should be enough space for all of the 10,000 new buses.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Wishful thinking-800 new vehicles being registered per day...?

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If no new vehicles are put on road during these two years, it is possible to find some space for these 10,000 buses as wishfully thought by our friend Kumar. 

But New New models of zaazzy bikes, flashy cars, fuel gurgling SUVs, are being introduced almost every week and people with lucre are going in for new second/third vehicles in a family.

It will be in the fitness, to calculate the mind boggling figures of space requirement that emanate from intro of such new vehicles. Most of the old vehicles are not discarded/sent to junkyard or removed from the road, they always find new owners.

Let us make one thing clear - we are not against any kind of comfort zones for any class of people - they also pay taxes and have a right to claim transport infrastructure - but - at whose cost? Is the comfrot zone being provided commensurate with such tax payments while 3.8 lakh commute everyday in miserable conditions?  BMTC is not a proprietary concern to invest as it likes but it is a social sector public domain commercial corporation with its primary responsibility to provide 'class action' transport within the ambit of available resources - not to buy white elephants that burry its bottomline.

- Vasanth Mysoremath

 

ashwin's picture

Who said Volvo Vajras are loss making ?

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Dear Mr. Mysoremath, do you have any data to back up your contention that the Volvo services are loss making? Or are you making conjectures based on your idealogical biases ?

You may have done back of envelope calculations based on various assumptions, but the numbers you get would depend on the assumptions you make, which may seem reasonable to you but not to someone else.

Even less reliable would be media reports which seem to be based on nothing but the editor's need to  fill space. The ones I have read are as full of conjecture as Bangalore is full of people.

The only numbers that have credibillity would be those published by the BMTC as part of their annual financial report, where they break out the numbers for Volvos separately. Or obtained from them via an RTI application. 

As far as I am aware, no such data exists. BMTC doesn't seem to have published financial figures later than for FY06-07. If you have access to such data, could you please share it with the rest of us so we can have a debate based on facts, not our idealogical biases.

If not, it is your word against some one elses. My contention is that, excluding the disasterous HOHO aka Kendra Saarige service, the Volvo services as a whole make an operating profit i.e. they more than recover the cost of running them (diesel + crew salary + routine maintenance).

If you consider routes that have been running atleast year, which is a reasonable period for new routes to stabilise (both Volvo and regular), I say that these generate enough operating surplus to also cover their cost of capital (interest on bus purchase cost) + depreciation.

Overall, the Vajras are a profitable service for BMTC and it is in their interest to expand these services as fast as possible.

 

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Vajras are overall profitable...share your data with us pl.

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Ashwin Sir,

Aam aadmi like us are not the accounts keepers of BMTC.   

Your take about media  -  /Even less reliable would be media reports which seem to be based on nothing but the editor's need to  fill space/  may not be taken kindly by the journos who might read your post.

Anyway, I would like to repeat the question you have asked - if you say that  "Vajras are overall profitable...." then, what is your source of information and why was it not posted to refute even the best media reports?

Posting something just for the sake of posting means nothing to Prajas.  The IVth Estate is something that is respected in a democratic system.  We should not indulge in such easy talk about Media.

Havn't you heard "We believe comment is free, but facts are sacred" ?

- Vasanth Mysoremath

Srivatsava's picture

Ashwin may be right...

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  VKM sir,

             all the calaculations here on Praja have been based on cost/ expenses and  pricing/occupancy only. ashwin (Prof.Ashwin Mahesh??)  may have knowledge about the advertising revenue from Volvos. That surely will be the game-changer in the profit-loss calculations...

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

sanjayv's picture

the fourth estate

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The fourth estate may be offended by ashwin's statement, but I think some introspection on their part is due.  Why is it that the press is not able to offer us more insight into the cost numbers/? The Rs 50 per km has been discussed several time in the past year or more.  Till date, they have not been able to report additional detail that throws more light on the break up of the expenditure or revenue or passenger numbers.  Is it because they are not asking follow up questions or that answers are not available?

silkboard's picture

P&L is not as simple as a news item

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DH is publishing news, not analysis. Something is up at BMTC - internal wrangling perhaps, that we hear unnamed BMTC officials being quoted on figures etc.

There is no point arguing without real data here. Profit and Loss calculations are not as simple. You can't just compare capital expenditure of bus 1 vs bus 2, you need total cost of ownership, maintenance and insurance contracts. Operating expenses - need to see detailed data behind those. And nobody is even thinking of putting monetary value to pollution (some buses pollute less than others) and carbon credits BMTC could generate if it can prove that it is moving cars users to buses.

Whether VKMM sir would want to hear it or not, Volvo has attracted car users. Myself and 100 other Praja members here who have switched for daily on once-twice a week commute would sign up to that statement.

If one has to go by daily or monthly profit and loss statements (that newspapers are dishing out to us), then even Namma Metro would be seen in red for at least 30 years if not more.

BWSSB loses money as well, so do we ask them to stop supplying water to homes?

So please stop this. If you want to talk P&L, use this forum to provide stats and full picture. Starting with perceptions and criticism first, and then finding data to support them is more of the approach our media (esp electronic) takes today. Analysis = data, and then conclusions.

Come in the field please - let us get data from all aspects.

On Vajra - what we need to hear from BMTC is if they have a long term business plan - a guarantee that BMTC will rationalize/tweak and adjust the High end service plans so that they make business sense - run only on IT corridors, or club with Big10 (every 3rd or 4th Big10 equipment a Vajra) etc etc. From what we know, BMTC wants to work to tune its Vajra services.

Now, by saying all of above, am I putting myself forward as BMTC sympathizer? Neither yes, nor no - I don't care about BMTC. I care only about good bus services, and will pursue all routes that get me that. And we know that there are two possible routes - BMTC improving its operations, or BMTC looking to outsource more or privaize. Work to support both, why put all your eggs in just one basket?

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Kind attn: SB Sir-Stats and Full Picture

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silkboard's picture

You win sir

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skumaras's picture

BMTC could be subsidized from other sources

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Vasanth Sir,

It is possible that BMTC may not be making profits on all of the routes where Volvos are run. And I agree that it will be a very unfair system, if these unprofitable routes are cross subsidized by the ordinary commuters who are no doubt being provided a deficient service by BMTC. That is why I had suggested in a previous post that the Volvo operations should be spun off to a separate company where it will need to price its tickets and run it services in such a way that I can be profitable by itself.

But the current state of the system is that BMTC has a monopoly on city bus services in Bangalore. Though Murali Sir has made a passionate plea to eliminate the monopoly of BMTC, many within Praja are not convinced that the private sector is capable of fulfilling the social obligations such an organization is expected to. In such a situation we need to find solutions to running these premium services within the existing scope of BMTC.

While agreeing that cross subsidization of the BMTC Volvo services should not occur I wonder whether the Volvo service really needs to be self sufficient from the ticket revenue alone. In much of the developed world city bus services are subsidized by the government since they play an important role in reducing the traffic congestion in the cities and improving the air quality by reducing the number of private vehicles on the road. There can be no argument that the BMTC Volvos have helped reduce the number of private vehicles on Bangalore roads. So maybe the Volvo operations of BMTC could be subsidized by some surcharge on Petrol or congestion charges on private vehicles entering the CBD or some similar tax.


s_yajaman's picture

My comments - on VKMM's BMTC numbers

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Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Prajegala Aasheervaada... more figures

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s_yajaman's picture

In lakhs

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Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

BEST Vs BMTC is wrong comparison

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Ravi_D's picture

Some interesting BMTC numbers....

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Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Notice huge difference of Profit per km - P is reduced to 50%

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sanjayv's picture

let's not cherry pick data

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Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Railways to give free passes to students...Whither BMTC?

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How nice?  This is the way to encourage parents to send their children to schools for continuing the literacy programme.  It is bound to make a difference in the mindset of parents.

BMTC - Are you listening?

At the cost of 2 Volvs/Big10s/HoHos that are running half empty, the entire students population in Bengaluru can be issued with free passes - correct me, if I am wrong and making a wishful thinking.

Mamata Didi's words : "One cannot sacrifice the human face for commercial interest". 

- Thank you Mamataji on behalf of millions of school children.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Hurrah-ThanQ Ministr-Single seat low fare buses 4 low income grp

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Good news folks.   Source: B'lore Mirror 26-5-09 - Prajas had suggested 'standing only' buses with few seats for senior citizens, disabled and ladies carrying lads.

BMTC will be introducing new buses - cost Rs.15.60 lakh each - with LOW FARE, single seats on either side, more standing space with enough ventilation and light arrangements to give the low-income folks a feel of near comfort zones in commuting. 

- I for one believe that it is bound to catch up like wild fire, will be a thumping success and volume will take care of any kind of expenses.

While the Transport Minister has rightly set his mind on intro of such buses for ordinary folks,  the BMTC officials are singing a different tune - Apashruthi  with unwanted comments about making loss with intro of such buses. 

- BMTC is stated to be spending Rs.25 per running km including fuel, service, salary and other charges and they doubt if these new buses will be able to recover cost etc. 

Question: What is the Expenditure Figure for running per km of Volvo etc., Please answer. 

Question: Why they did not sing apashruthi when Volvos/Big10/HoHo that are making BMTC bleed, were introduced is something they will have to take with a pinch of 'nashya'. 

- Commuters will have to keep a watch on any kind of 'kirkiri' by BMTC officials when those buses are put on road and post them on Praja so that it can be relayed to the Transport Minister.

- It is said that investment on these buses are not covered under JNNURM

Question: - Are hi-end Volvos covered? If so, is JNNURM subsidising such loss making investments?

Let them sing.  No probs Minister Sir, BMTC is making profit and since this has a touch of 'class action' go ahead and just do it and Thank you once again.

- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

-  

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Volvo loss woes of BMTC extended to Mysore 16 volvos 2/6/09

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Not withstanding the continuous loss of rs.3.28 crores in 3 years in running of Volvos by BMTC,

in Mysore, KSRTC  has introduced 16 volvos from 2nd June 2009 -

Rs.38.45 crore allocated by JNNURM for Mysore public transport sector improvement

Rs.15.31 crore spent so far

100 more will be added in a phased manner-  

Know some facts:

BMTC has incurred a mamoth loss of Rs.3.28 crores during 2008-09 in running Volvos introduced in 2006 (while 3.8 lakh commuters wait for ordinary buses)- Loss for third consecutive year.

- Cost of Volvo - Rs.75 lakhs each

- Ordinary bus Rs.15.50 lakhs

- Most of Volvos, Vaayu Vajras in Bengaluru are running half empty

To stem the rot, Prof.M N Srihari, Traffic Expert in his report has suggested:

Increase Volvo seats from 35 to 45;                                                                   

Run the fleet only during peak hours;                                                         

Withdraw from loss making routes;                                                               

Provide Volvos only to IT/ITeS hubs;

All these boils down to how a social services sector has embarked on adventure capital investment plan with stratified /deficient service to one section of the society :

bad investment; 

idea of roping in car-wallahs and two wheelers failed;

government should immediately direct BMTC to stop buying more Volvos;

Source: Deccan Chronicle dated 14-4-09 pg.2 

When namma Bengalureans are turning their face away from Volvos/Big10s/HoHos will the poor Mysoreans salivate for those Red monsters?

- Are JNNURM funds meant to invest in glamourous toys like Volvos or are they meant to ease the commuting problems of the ordinary commjuters?

Similarly, Monstrous concrete Bus Stands  without designing concern for the heritage value of Mysore are being constructed and an amount of Rs100 crores have been earmarked for 7 bus stands in Mysore City.  The hidden agenda is to create shopping malls and earn some lucre. 

These Volvos will be 'ootakke illada uppinakaayee....in Mysore..at best, they may run 3/4th empty due to some tourists who may like some some comfort zone.  However, they will be bleeding Mysore Division city transport with mamoth losses.

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

Vasanth's picture

Volvo scene is different in Mysore and Bangalore

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Mysoremath Sir, Volvo scene is different in Mysore compared to Bangalore. I stay near the ORR in Kattriguppe are in Bangalore and I see the ITPL and EC bound buses full with people standing. This increases very much near BTM. I also see the Majestic bound Volvo 45G which takes the same route as Pushpak 45G also full due to very minimal cost difference. Lots of car users have already taken the Volvos for office commute and offloaded the traffic to some extent. Since the population of Bangalore is ever increasing, it is compensated by the new user. It is the misleading media report to fill the page which confuses people. Vayu Vajras and the HOHO are the killers of BMTC. I think Vayu Vajras can be replaced by something like a Airconditioned Minibuses. I agree that more normal buses needed, we also need these kind of services. Scenario in Mysore is totally different. Although cost is bit more than the normal buses, people are very rigid to take the change. Mysore City to Chamundi Hills is only 20 rupees, that itself people are rigid to take. One more thing in Mysore is the KSRTC officials donot interact with public like the BMTC does here in Bangalore. I know Murali Sir will have his comment ready, but we get immediate response for the emails as well as we from Praja had many meetings with BMTC. It is not so in the case of Mysore.
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Not against Volvos for "Haves" but at whose cost?

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Per  se, we have come to recognise and grudgingly live with the blatant stratification scenario of various services in our psychophant society between "Haves" and "Have Nots". 

As already stated above, whose money is involved in procuring Volvos, mercs and macropolos? 

- Isn't it the majority people's money?

- Does it not amount to indirect subsidy being extended to a section of the society who have refused to give up their cars and use the public transport system?

- Whereas aam aadmis are being put to untold miseries every day while commuting to their work places in crammed, badly maintained dirty buses.

- If the Govt had permittedf Volvo transport as PT service and if no money had been invested from the consolidated fund of India, nobody would have raied any of the fingers.

- As you have rightly pointed out, Mysoreans are highly conservative and they also do not have that kind of money to splurge on such unwanted luxurious services like Volvos etc.  Many buses running on city or mofussil service are an apology for clean transport system and timely running of city services is a dream. 

- Providing loss making Volvo service to a miniscule section of the commuters by KSRTC/BMTC at the cost of majority commuters is not the duty and responsibility of a social services sector undertaking.  

- Vasanth Mysoremath 

xs400's picture

Self Serving

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After reading the posts from many Praja members, one thing seems clear. Praja members are very articulate but are self serving, most dont see or dont want to see what Mr Vasanth Mysoremath has stated which is in the interest of the general public and not the section of the public who travel by Volvos.

silkboard's picture

Self serving? Hmmm

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Wasting precious time thinking about all this boring, depressing and disappointing stuff, and networking with like minded people or local govt bodies can hardly be called self serving :)

But yes, this is Praja. You least get to know what the majority of Internet using citizens think of things, and that theoritically correct thinking and solutions are different from what is practical.

xs400 sir, you used a pretty big term in there - "interest of the general public". Big claim it is if you think you know and understand that. At least I don't, and I am still learning everyday!

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Stratified BMTC/KSRTC services (contd.3)-Benz buses next?

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Source: Deccan Chronicle pg.4 today

After Volvos bled BMTC (remember two editions of post : Stratified BMTC services with more than 150 posts and 4000 reads.. appears to have been blocked with last post by SB - most boring, depressing et al superlative language but conceding that he is still learning...hope not having dyslexia - Internet Hyde Park - no logical conclusion?),

/Benz buses too costly for comfort/

In a nutshell:  - Since 4 months Benz delux luxury buses are on TRIAL RUN between B'lore - Mysore - cost Rs.65 lakhs each may just be a little too much for its budget (vow!); unsure about how popular with public -still assessing response - will negotiate better price and then again run them on Mysore route -

- Good thinking on the part of KSRTC

@ xs400 on 'stratified bmtc' post :- your post has hit the nail on the head - social responsibility of public transport provider.

- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

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