The bus is now beginning to re-establish its position as the primary mode for public transport. And, of course, the importance of public transport is a now a no-brainer. Given this scenario, government monopolies (BMTC & KSRTC) occupying this critical space is an anomaly that cannot be suffered any longer.
There's no denying that BMTC has improved its services of recent, and is set to do even better with the roping in of the services of professionals like Prof Ashwin Mahesh of IIM, who has come up with innovations like the Big-10 services, etc. But, whatever, a monopoly has its limitations, and a government one has even bigger limitations.
Besides, the task is really huge if the percentage of trips made using public transport has to rise from the present 40 odd to a level of 70 to 80 (like in London, where the near 90% privately-owned bus services record close to 6 million trips/ week-day, compared to the Underground's 3.4 million - check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_for_London for the sustainable growth of the city.
That apart, if innovative ideas like 'Big-10' haven't quite caught on the way they should have, it is largely because of the last-mile connectivity factor. And, 'Shuttle services' for meeting this need are best farmed out to the private sector.
Another area where the private sector could readily come in is the high-end services, where anyway the BMTC is bleeding heavily. Check: bus-services-a-different-approach
Then, there's also the demand from specific sectors like the IT/ ITES industry, schools, etc, which again are best met by private sector operators. Check: http://praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/09/08/bmtcs-business-oriented-outlook#comment-7848
Because of the prevailing 'license-permit raaj', so far, it's been only the Blue-line (of Delhi) kind of operators that have generally been in the picture, in turn earning the private sector a bad name. For that to change, the raaj has to be dismantled and the entry of reputed players like TVS facilitated, all under the oversight of a duly constituted and empowered regulatory body.
The enlightened members of the civil society are more and more exhorting the car/two-wheler users to switch to the use of buses. While doing so, it becomes incumbent on their part to demand of the government to create the right kind of climate for providing of such services as will make these people want to make the switch (Given today's scenario, however, the trend is opposite, and the NANO is going to be aggravating the situation even further). So, would these worthies, as also other like-minded people, then want to sign this petition addressed to the Chief Minister, please?
PS1: (I have, as on 23/06/12, withdrawn the petition, because of a technical hitch in the configuring of it, explained more fully here, for those interested. I'll be starting a new one soon).
PS2: As of today (17/08/12), I have revived the petition. It may be accessed here.
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