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Will you support a PIL against BBMP & BMTC or GoK transport ministry?

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Public Transport

Are you pained by mobility situation in Bangalore, and think that it has not improved or worsened during last 5 years? If yes, then would you read below and answer these two questions?

  1. Do you see any merit in such a PIL (below)? Will we be able to gather hard evidence to support it?
  2. Next, would you be willing to pitch in and fund the legal costs of running this PIL (below)?

Speaking for Praja RAAG. we have been doing our bit of constructive advocacy. We talked about Metro feeders in 2009, we were shown good looking plans. We have been at Namma Railu (Commuter Rail), but progress is not very encouraging. We talked non motorized transportation, did see some progress, but in pockets. We talked Bus Priority System, the concept is moving in some form, but not at the scale and pace at which it can realize its potential. We keep bringing up the poor quality of bus stands and bus to bus interchanges (remember the hall of shame spots?) but still don't know who is responsible. We seeded Bus Day, which has turned into a good marketing initiative for BMTC for sure, but with no real changes on basic demands of printed schedules, passenger information system, amenities and grievance redressal systems.

Other civic groups and individuals who have been at similar constructive initiatives would also agree to this, That in all of these, while there tends to be a little progress here and there, one thing stands out. We DO NOT know who is responsible for ensuring safe mobility, in expected time frames, with adequate equality. We DO NOT know who is responsible for reporting on whether all these government entities combined are helping to improve mobility in the city. Forget a single agency to report on mobility indicators, even BMTC doesn't publish them. Revenue, passengers carried etc are NOT mobility indicators.

Some one has got to be responsible from the government side for things that usually fall between BMTC, BMRC, BBMP Traffic Police and BDA. We ought to know if there is a grand plan where all the flyovers, new JNNURM Buses, swanky Metro traiins fit in. If there is none, then let the fact be placed openly by state government so that we can then start saying NO to all new transportation investments. If there is indeed one, then let GoK appoint some existing or new agency to measure and report progress on the plan. And this progress must be reported in terms of outcome - Marathahalli to Magadi, Bommasandra to Peenya, Harohalli to Nagwara and such - and not in terms of projects status.

Unless we get clear about what rights we have to our to mobility, this endless trail of investments will continue without any clear outcomes and responsibility of outcomes.

Now, for the PIL (this is NOT about privatization as such,not in direct ways, basics about accountability and "service" come first), the structure of letter to the High Court could be like this:

Bus stands and Bus interchanges

  • How many bus stands exist in the city, and who maintains them?
  • Why are there no bus stands and safe pedestrian walkways between the bus stands at Marathahalli, KR Puram, Hebbal Flyover, Domlur Flyover etc?
  • Why are there no skywalks for pedestrians to cross over at these crowded interchanges? Who decides when and where to put the skywalks?

Profit motive and viability

  • BMTC is on record - "Feeders, Last mile shuttles are not viable". Does BMTC's charter include any clause about viability?
  • If BMTC considers anything to be un-viable, what steps has it taken to consider claims off private parties who are willing to take the risk to make it viable?
  • For agencies like BMTC and BMRC, has anyone outside of state government done an audit to ensure that the revenue and expenditures they incur are efficient and in line with the charter they are incorporated with?
  • What are the standards of corporate governence for monopolistic public agencies incorporated by the state government? Who is auditing the agencies against these standards? Is this auditing agency again owned by government?

Return on investments

  • All mobility investments in last 5 years, totals. Any measurement on the benefit they have brought in?
  • Who is responsible for reporting on the benefits brought by these investments?

Transport planning related studies

  • Who is responsible for integrated study and planning to make our mobility safer and reliable?
  • How many such studies have been done? How many of these have been inputs to investments made in last 5 years?

Let us carefuly list 20-30 items on above lines with the criteria that they should have clear evidence - pictures, numbers or hard facts. We can't send a letter to high court with rhetorics and ideologies. The basic structure of letter could be like this

  • We are suffering due to poor quality of mobility - lack of safety, and standards of time.
  • There is inequality (focus is roads and cars, those who can't afford cars have a disadvantage)
  • Money is being invested to make it better, for last 10 years
  • We don't know who is answerable for the investments - or if they have helped improve the quality and remove the inequality
  • There are examples where there is lack of clear ownership - bus stands, bus interchanges, last mile mobility, commuter railways, Metro feeders etc
  • So, dear High Court, please help us us the following
    • If someone is answerable and is tracking how the standards of mobility are improving, would you tell us who that agency or ministry is?
    • Would you request this agency or ministry to report every quarter on mobility indicators that tell us directly about service parameters such as time, safety and inequality.
    • If such an agency doesn't exist, please tell us why any mass transportation mobility investments should continue?
    • If state government or the said agency expresses its 'inability' to either report on progress of mobility indicators, or take accountability for progress of mobility indicators, would you instruct the government to setup a regulatory authority who could work on the said 'inability'

Okay, I am probably getting a little techical now, but let me end with the question for all readers

  1. Do you see any merit in such a PIL? Will we be able to gather hard evidence to support it?
  2. Next, would you be willing to pitch in and fund the legal costs of running this PIL?


[will edit later to correct typos etc]


silkboard's picture

Likely outcomes?

114 users have liked.

We may request for and get either of the following

  • A real and meaningful BMLTA or DULT
  • A regulator for state wide, or urban loca public transportation
  • Service norms for BMTC
  • Clarity on BBMP and its accountability on mobility in the area it "governs"
  • A single office/website where all agencies report progress of their plans and works
  • Addition of more items in "Right to Services" bill, regarding mobility.
  • If we can't get mobility related services included in right to services, then pressure on state government to withdraw from mobility area.

Picturing backwards from outcomes would be a good way of judging if such a high profile 'project' will be worth it or not.

silkboard's picture

Collect and share all "evidence" together, using Internet

120 users have liked.

If we decide to get going on this, will collect all evidence at a central location through Internet (here on a dedicated page, or a page on facebook linked to, or a dedicated website itself)

  • Pictures of buses, bus stands, pavements
  • Time recorded from trips between common destinations
  • Newspaper articles where any state agency or ministry has indicated any "helpless-ness" or "unviability"
  • Examples of mobiliity indicators that determine quality of mobility service delivered to me. (MoUD already got them done few years ago)

Will also have to create a separate Bank Account for all money collected for this campaign, and regular expense statements on this account.

kbsyed61's picture

GOK to be precise!

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First of all, I am all for the PIL. Count me in.

PIL should be against the GOK as the line of questioning listed above encompasses GOK more than any single entity BMTC.

My 2 cents are that, in pursuit of making the case water tight,  we identify different examples of Bengaluru residents who have been failed by the GOK in providing him/her a decent transport infrastructure -

  1. Residents from areas who has nothing but Bus to rely on,
  2. Parent/Child who has to rely on unsafe tarnsport to schools,
  3. Office commuter who is forced to use a private vehicle,
  4. Entrepreneurs who is struggling to get right skilled employees due to unreliable transport choices to the prospective employees
  5. Travelers who are often at the mercy of Autos/Cabs to travel inside the city
  6. Small time trader who struggles to keep his profits due to absence of PT system which support carriage of luggage at lower cost from different wholesale points
  7. Plight of auto/Taxis operators who often provide the service without any support of PT authority for basic amenities for them - Stands, Security, Parking, Rest places with toilets etc.
  8. Plight of Senior Citizens, Children, Physically Handicap persons - Non availability of amenities that are major hindrance to their mobility.


silkboard's picture

So, not much support

102 users have liked.

Not many comments here, and very few emails private messages as well. Not much support for the PIL, or may be the post is too complicated and long,

Can't even think of undertaking such a thing without at least 6-7 people for company. Saw how Sankey Tree Widening was okayed by the High Court? Perhaps, the narrower the PIL gets, narrow about the demand - don't cut X trees here, or narrow about the prescription - I want privatization, lesser the chances of it getting us much. There is always some plan in the works to fix the mess, so will say the state government. There would always be some past precedent or approval to fall back on.

But asking for regular reports, or measurable differences due to "recent investments", or about basic rights or services residents of Bangalore could expect, I feel we may have a shot at fixing some accountablity for the mess, which may or may not be on its way to improvement via Metro Rail.

We may ask for 1 agency to oversee all investments that are active, and report on them - on the progress status, as well as "measurable impact". That itself would be a good win to aim for. comment guidelines

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