Skip to Content

Petition to CM to end BMTC/KSRTC monopoly

up
162 users have liked.

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.

Other connected blogs:

http://praja.in/blog/murali772/2007/12/12/better-bussing-green-bangalore

Bus-services, a different approach

http://praja.in/node/838

Roads to prosperity

The challenged private sector

The private sector challenge

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

Naveen's picture

Questions About The Petition

up
126 users have liked.

Mr.Murali - I had a few specific questions about the contents in the petition, just so we are clear.....

1) As I had previously mentioned, the efficiency of any road transport (be it publically owned or privately owned), when operating in mixed conditions can only be as good as traffic conditions will allow it to be, is'nt it ?

So, how will permitting private operators help if the roads are already choked with a lot of vehicles & when about 1300 vehicles getting added to the streets each day ? Private vehicles obviously cannot move faster than BMTC buses, & those that are trying to do this (such as the privately owned, yellow tagged tata sumos & indicas) are already causing havoc on the streets, is'nt it ?

2) You state - "The most simple and cost effective answer is efficient and well-connected public bus transport services. Today, however, this field is the monopoly of the government-owned BMTC. And, that is where the entire problem lies".

How will the introduction of private operators ensure efficient & well connected services ? Is'nt it a fact that private parties will only seek the high density routes & peak times & try to avoid the less frequented ones as profits would be their sole motivation, thus neglecting social obligations ?

3) You state - "BMTC does not have the managerial capacity to measure up to the task, nor can it be expected to gear itself up to do it in the near future, largely because of its monopoly status".

Why do you feel that it can not be expected to gear itself to the demands in the future, particularly after your mentioning this :

"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".

4) You state - "The simple answer again is to facilitate the entry of reputed organized sector private players like TVS (TVS was once a bus service provider in the city of Madurai) into the fray".

What makes you believe that the reputed operators will make a foray into city bus services, particularly after the bad reputation they have after the blue-line mauling & killing pedestrians in Delhi ?

5) You mention - "Competition can only help improve BMTC further. The benefits of competition, as well-known, are evident in the many other fields, like telephony, airline services, banking, insurance, courier services, TV programming & broadcast, which were all opened out to competition over the last decade".

It is true that these sectors were opened to privatization & it has benefitted the public now, but privatization of these sectors did not immediately effect the common man's living & enjoyed patronization from the better off customers & eventually became competitive. City transport will effect the common man severely if costs rise up & are uncontrolled since his economic well being is highly dependent on cheap mobility, is'nt it ? So, how can we compare basic living necessities such as city transport to telephony, airlines, banking, insurance, courier & TV ?

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Privatisation may not be anathema for efficient transport system

up
153 users have liked.

Dear All

Like Naveen, my question to all concerned is WHERE IS THE ROAD TO HAVE MORE PRIVATE VEHICLES as an alternative mode of travelling with competence? Management of existing infrastructure is the means to our end.

I still remember how Mr.Devraj Urs took bold decision to enact legislation and stop misuse of contract carriage licenses by private operators and took over all those private vehicles and helped the State transport system to acquire buses to augment public transport infrastructure, of course, by paying compensation to the owners of confiscated buses.

Second instance: How Indira Gandhi took a bold decision to nationalise private banks to stem the rot created by private banking and playing with public money? Our money is safe now.

Moral: Privatisation may not be the solution for the ills of transport sector. Infrastructure is the bane of our exploding urban centers coupled with influx of floating population. 

Let us hybernate on this issue

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath  

Rithesh's picture

Naveen - i second your questions

up
131 users have liked.

Murali Sir,

1. Firstly - Inter state and intra state bus transportation is no more a monopoly of KSRTC. All most all routes are open to private players. Please rephrase your petition.

2. 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. - you seam to be taking the credit off BMTC and giving it all to Prof AM (i truly respect Prof AM and i am great full for what he is doing) and you also conveniently do not mention about Hoho services - which was running under heavy loses (planed by the same people). Dont complaint that Hoho was not given enough publicity - Big10 and Hoho services got the same amount of publicity, but Big10 is doing very (infact very well) and Hoho is not, surely there is more to it than just the lack of publicity.

3. Another area where the private sector could readily come in is the high-end services, where anyway the BMTC is bleeding heavily. - when BMTC itself with it's vast reserves/vehicles/man power is struggling to to come out of losses, how can you expect the private players to turn it profitable. Lets get facts straight here - BMTC is suffering losses here because, we people do not want to give up the comforts of our private vehicles and switch to PT. People using Volvo services are not people who have given up their private vehicles, but only affluent people who were using Pushpaks (and also other BMTC services) and now have switched over to Volvos.

4. 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. - TVS, sir unless you have some inside information from these companies, no one is going to come forward to run these services. At best we will have National Travels and SRS class of companies. We all have see the havoc that they have been causing on our roads.

5. I am glad atleast you mentioned about a "empowered regulatory body" in your petition. Can i make a suggestion Sir, shouldnt we all be writing petitions to force the government to set this body first (BMLTA - not the cosmetic one that we have now) and then push for privatization/introduction of private players ("added 'intruduction of private players' after Murali Sir pointed that he was not pushing for privatization"). Just imagine what will be the condition of Pedestrians/Cyclists/Motorists and Car drivers (i am not particularly concerned about the 3rd category but out of humanity i should mention it) when BMTC buses and the private buses race between bus stops to maximize their profits - is this the kind of open competition that you want?

6. 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. Sir please talk to these companies before you claim this. I have spoken to many of the representatives of these IT Parks and most of them resort to Private companies only because BMTC does not have enough buses to cater to their demand. Given a choice, these IT Parks would choose BMTC services any day. I myself use these services - except for the quality, they are extremely punctual and efficient. My only problem with these services is that, that they might actually be removing buses from their regular services and putting them here (these services are more profitable).

When i last checked the status of your petition, a majority had voted against it. Lets put our efforts to have BMLTA in place - that will not only solve out bus problems it will also solve many other transportation issues facing Bangalore. We should be spending our energies on forcing the government to draft the BMLTA act that will have the vision and power to solve our transportation problems. We need to look at ways how we can promote PT - higher road taxes, re-introduction of annual road taxes, higer taxes on private vehicles, congestion taxes, more taxes on fuels, etc etc. Privatization/Introduction of competition is just a small brick in this huge wall.

Naveen's picture

BRT - Only Answer for better PT on Streets

up
124 users have liked.

VKM Sir, Rithesh - Noted yr views.

London may have managed public buses with private operators well, but the situation here is quite different. Use of force for right of way & breaking rules with impunity is rampant even with the few private cab operators around. What will happen when public buses turn private & when profits are the motive for operators ?

It goes without saying that pedestrian safety would be severely compromised, much more than now, for sure. As it is, pedestrians account for 1/3rd of all road related deaths.

As VKM said, the answer is to provide exclusive infrastructure for public street-based transport, even if street space is reduced for private vehicles. Once such infrastructure is in place, private operators can be given licenses to operate on specific routes or areas, with well structured contracts to maximize benefits for the public - only one operator per area to remove competition amongst them within the same routes that would jeopardize safety of users.

If this were done, the performance of street-based PT will drastically improve & many innovations can also be put in place much more easily, such as accurate announcement of arrival times for buses, etc using DGPS.

As Rithesh mentioned, such capability can only happen if the umbrella agency, the BMLTA is made the lead authority to oversee developments & for co-ordination, as recommended by National Urban Transport Policy. Currently, they remain on paper, appointed merely out of compulsion.

idontspam's picture

Private operations for BMTC

up
119 users have liked.

Let me just say, BMTC and the Govt will be missing a golden opportunity to bring name and fame to themselves by moving operations to private providers and stepping back to become regulators. It is best they work out an effective framework to outsource the running of bus and related services.

murali772's picture

mis-interpretation

up
116 users have liked.

Ritesh avare'

After making out the petition, I had requested my niece to affix the first signature, since she had been the one to do so on an earlier petition, which eventually went on to collect over 3,000 signatures. But, since she was in the midst of some travel and could not pay full attention to it, she landed up adding a 'no', meaning 'no additional comments', which however anybody viewing the petition can misconstrue as expressing dissent. She later explained to me that, as she understood it, the very act of affixing one's name was an endorsement.

Perhaps, I should have anticipated this problem, and changed the settings accordingly.

You'll notice that the people who have put a 'no' have not added any further comment, as compared to the ones who have put a 'yes'. I would therefore choose to interpret these no's also as 'no additional comments' like in the case of my niece.

Muralidhar Rao

PS: I have not asked for privatisation of BMTC. I have asked for competition. So, when are you signing the petition?:)))

As to the points raised by you and Naveen, I shall respond separately.

Muralidhar Rao
binaiks's picture

Nice Idea

up
142 users have liked.
Competition is very nice idea - provided the service is entrusted to other major operators. Private operators - specially those running a fleet of a handful of buses - are a dangerous lot.

Come down to Bannerghatta Road, and one can see haphazardly parked buses, which keeps waiting for buses for ever. Atleast 50% of private buses making their daily trips on the Bangalore-Anekal route are illegal. One can see TN registered buses running with Kannada route plates and in many cases even Kannada Registration plates! These buses wait for ever for passengers and would block road traffic until they fill up their 'requisite' number of passengers. 

Private operators would make sense only if the a corporate body - or a co-operative body - is given charge of operations, who would be responsible for ensuring punctuality, maintenance and fair operations. Indore model would apt for such operations.


--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city
--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city
Naveen's picture

Binai Sankar - Indore has BRT

up
126 users have liked.

Binai Sankar,

I agree with what you say. The experience so far all over the country has been dismal with private urban transport operators.

As VKM mentioned above, the contract carriage licensing system is being repeatedly misused by private operators & the whole urban transport business is shady, illegal & of very low quality.

It is not just Bannerghatta rd alone. I see them on Hosur rd too where they obstruct other traffic, drive rashly & care nothing about commuter interests or other road users. As of now, there is'nt a single bus operator who can be termed as responsible.

Indore is a small city with lesser traffic & also, the success there is because they have BRT with separate bus lanes & thus, there is no competition for street space on mixed traffic roads. Hence, pedestrian, passenger & road safety is assured, more or less with the operation of PPP buses.

Competition in any form on bangalore's traffic congested roads is going to result in unsafe operations & even more misuse for sure, unless buses are provided exclusive infrastructure such as separate bus lanes. Unless this is done, expecting the likes of Tatas & TVS to enter this business would be a complete disconnect from realities & is pointless, wishful thinking.

Mr.Murali - You mentioned that you would respond to questions raised by me & Rithesh. No word from you so far !!

ramesh_mbabu's picture

Telecom, Airlines, Banking & Insurance were once dominated

up
128 users have liked.

by public sector undertakings.

See what happened after these sectors were opened for private sector players with a regulator in place. Atleast telecom sector has helped every one, the remaining sectors still cater to only one section of the people (demand). If it was not done, we will be still in waiting lists for getting a telephone connection, that too after bribing every pillars & posts in BSNL offices or going throuh an MP Quota, yeah MPs had a discretionary quota of connections, most people now a days will not even believe such a quota existed. We were creating artificial deficiencies in those sectors with monopolised services. There were organised protests against opening telecom sector arguing it will affect national security, the local call charges will be increased and STS & ISD charges will be reduced (there was a cross subsidy during those period) etc. When the protesters were asked the same recently, they attributed the cost reduction to technology as if the technology was develeped in last 10 years or so.

In a similar manner, if Urban Transport is opened up for competetion with a regulator in place for creating a fair play ground it will definitely be for the public good. JNURM funding has been linked with certain kind of opening the Urban Services if one reads the fine print. DIMTS in delhi is another example (dimts.org) as a regulator, UP has opened up the Public Transport through out the state for organised private players.  There will definitely be birth pangs but let us hope for the best and give it a try.

Ramesh.

binaiks's picture

Dear Naveen, Indore has

up
129 users have liked.
Dear Naveen,

Indore has plans for a BRT - IT does NOT have one. I was in Indore last month, and the traffic situation - at least in the place that I had been to - was bad. Operators are allotted one route and they are responsible to maintain the recommended frequency for services. All buses are tracked using GPS, and ticketing is completely electronic.

Bus stops have LED boards which provides information on which bus is coming and how far is it. The service at least looked decent and pretty well managed. 

In Bangalore, the first step could be leasing out a particular route - say a Big10 to a private operator. Strict regulation has to be ensured while a route is leased out. ALL buses on that route should be operated by one operator - this should avoid competition and racing between buses. Already, BMTC buses race with each other on many routes.

For example, on Route MBS13, the first bus from Arakere end is now operated by Depot-4. This bus is supposed to leave Arakere Mico Layout at 0755. The second bus is operated by Depot-25, and this bus leaves Arakere at 0815. The first bus is invariably late, and never leaves Arakere before 0810~0815. The second bus arrives by then, and both buses would race with each other at least till Dairy Circle. 

Private operators have more ills than positives, but some kind of competition is required to bell the cat, named BMTC. Services continue to move from bad to worse on a daily basis.

--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city
--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city
Srivatsava's picture

Proper proper comparisons....

up
129 users have liked.

Murali-avare ,

   Competition can only help improve BMTC further. The benefits of competition, as well-known, are evident in the many other fields, like telephony, airline services, banking, insurance, courier services, TV programming & broadcast, which were all opened out to competition over the last decade

    You have taken wonderful examples to sell your point. But, each of these examples will only weaken your point.

      Telephony : Telecom sector was not opened up yesterady. It has been open to private players since early 90s. We had the pager services that were operated by only private players. And we all know how well they did for the 'long' period that they operated. Similarly, Spice, Airtel and other players have been operating in the country atleast since 1996. And we all know how they operated till 2002/2003 when reliance came in to provide the scale. Telecom thrived only on scale, not because of the 'efficient'' private players.

    Airlines: Vijay Mallya and Naresh Goyal would be delighted to read this post of yours. Atleast, there are people who 'think/believe' that the airline industry has done well. Capt. Gopinath may have had a revolutionary thought. But, the business was a clear flop.

Insurance, Banking, couriers havent again been 'changed' or 'improved' by private players. dont get into an impression that ATMs, Internet Banking are all contributions of private banks, They are natural progression that the banks have been taking after computerisation. Maybe, the private players acted as catalysts for the change.

 

And, btw, please be aware these are all comparisons to make. All sectors that you have mentioned have benifitted by the pan-national economies of scale. Public transport operators have a smaller base of just a city. We have seen the Delhi bluelines do badly. Lets not take that single example to push down the idea. If only the Hyd Metro, Mumbai Metro(Reliance), Mumbai mono (L&T??) do much better than the Bangalore Metro, Mumbai BEST, Delhi metro etc, we can have a rethink. And again, city rail services operate on much higher scales than bus services.

-Srivatsava V

PS, A personal point: If the (loss-making) BMTC luxury services are let out to private players, are you interested to take it up? Afterall, you have been very keen to start operating buses in Bangalore. Let us know what riders you may apply to take it up?

 

-Srivatsava V

Naveen's picture

Indore Bus Services

up
124 users have liked.

Binai Sankar,

I have not been to Indore, but was under the impression that it already had the BRTS in operation.

This is the link for their bus services:  www.citybusindore.com/

This is the Wiki article about Indore Bus services, categorized as "Indore BRTS", which is rather misleading: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indore_City_Bus

gurcharandas.blogspot.com/2007/12/blueline-solution-in-indore-dec-16-2007.html  - This article by Gurucharan Das (also featured in TOI) gives more details.

They allow only one operator per route, thus making it very safe for users & enhancing road safety in general. Further, they have GPS tracking on all buses which enables real-time position tracking & accurate announcements of arrival times.

Hats off to Vivek Aggarwal, who has made this possible. It thus goes to show that "where there is a will, there is a way". I hope some such miracle happens here in bangalore !!

murali772's picture

Mr Naveen My petition to

up
143 users have liked.

Mr Naveen

My petition to the CM is mainly to 'end government monopoly in public bus transport services', and I have suggested the route of "adopting a public bus transport policy, more or less on the lines, of my 'policy paper'". Now, the scenario I have envisaged as will result if my suggestions are implemented in toto, I expect, not many will have quarrels with. The doubts arise because of the skepticism amongst the public about the government implementing some of the suggestions, and therewith sending the whole plan for a six - valid fears, I accept. But, that should not prevent one from asking for the best. And, that's what I am doing.

Given the limitations arising out of the socialistic leanings amongst vast sections of the public, and the babudom's eagerness to cash in on that, there can be many variations, like the 'Indore' model, or the 'UP' model. These have already been discussed on PRAJA at 

http://praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/01/12/definitely-better-what-we-have-bangalore-today-not-good-enough

and    praja.in/bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/05/14/road-prosperity

The Indore model is more or less the London model, but with BRT. While BRT is fine for a city like Indore (where road widening need not become a serious issue), and may even be for the new BDA layouts being planned, I wouldn't advise it for the existing parts of the city, even the one-way BRT model that you have been championing. I am not at all confident about BBMP's capabilities to do a proper job of executing the jobs with the series of magic boxes required all along the way. Even more, I am not confident about the BWSSB's capabilities of doing an effective job of shifting the utility lines and managing drainage. More on that is discussed at

http://praja.in/blog/murali772/2007/12/08/irrationality-dedicated-lanes


Besides, like in London, it will eventually land up having to be subsidised, with its attendant problems.     

The UP model, though good, is not city centric, according to my understanding of it. I don't know what specifically they have done additionally for the cities.

All said and done, the most important question today is how urgent is the need for efficient public transport services. In my opinion, we can't wait even a day longer. If you accept that, can we then afford to wait in eternity for the BMTC to get its act together, with or without the help of a Prof Ashwin Mahesh? No - we have to bring in the TVS's and TATA's today. And, when approached that way, the route becomes very clear.

Mayawati is already moving along those lines. It's a crying shame that we choose to remain dependent on our BMTC and SRTC's.

And, as for the points raised by you, they are all answered and more than once in the blogs listed in the opening post. I can't get myself to go on repeating them.

On the specific question of affordability to the common man, raised at sl nos 2 & 5, I wish to draw your attention to the following observation included in the report put out by the Ministry of Petroleum - "With improved efficiency, the fare structure can continue to remain low while still providing for overall viability of the operations". And, with competition, the benefit of this will accrue to the consumer.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Ritesh avare' My response

up
131 users have liked.

Ritesh avare'

My response to your points in serial order:

1) All the private players operate under 'contract carriage', tourist, 'sight-seeing tour', etc permits - anything other than as plain and simple 'bus transport' services. And, that's the license-permit raaj I have been talking about. Resulting out of that, they are forced to play on a field totally sloped against them. Check also:

http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/11/02/the-challenged-private-sector

2) So, in effect, you are trying to say that Prof AM didn't do a proper job here. Ritesh - let me caution you that you are probably being used as a tool by the factions within BMTC in their internal politickings.

3) Now, if BMTC is just to cater to the needs of these people and the likes of you, it can carry on in the present fashion - no problem. But, with it catering to just 45% odd (in my opinion, it's much lower) trips made by the citizens on the whole, and the city population growing at a tremendous pace, the remaining 55% are are going to get our roads progressively more cluttered than they presently with the usage of personalised means of transport. So, if there has to be a solution, we have to get these people to switch to using the public bus transport services, at least for commuting, which cannot happen unless there is a quantum improvement in its quality, much above the present level. Appealing to the people's conscience over environmental issues can work for say 10%, higher fuel cost can contribute may be another 15%, but the bulk 75% conversion can happen on account of this one factor alone - check:   

http://praja.in/bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/06/01/bus-services-a-different-approach#comment-5389

Inu eshtu sala ade' ramaayana haeluvadu, swamy?

4) Check my earlier response to Naveen on this thread.

5) Do you want to write up the entire mandate for the BMLTA? Please go ahead and do it if you can. I certainly don't have the band-width for that.

When instead you make a clear-cut case for ending the monopoly by opening up the sector on a level playing field, these will automatically fall in place, because without that the big players will refuse to come, and the plan will not take off. Even in the case of services like airline, telecom, banking, insurance, etc also, that's how things evolved. It's not as if the regulatory mechanisms had been put in perfect shape before the sectors opened up. There were enough goof ups initially, and based on the learnings, the regulatory regime got constantly updated to a stage where it's more or less OK now. However, even now, there are plenty of short-comings. But, overall, the services have improved, and everyone even at the lowest level is better off for it.

6) I am talking here about the charge against BMTC that, in their pursuit of easy profits, they are neglecting their socialistic mandate - pl check:

http://praja.in/bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/09/08/bmtcs-business-oriented-outlook#comment-7848


Finally, healthy competition is not just the brick; but the entire wall

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Mr Srivatsava Perhaps you

up
134 users have liked.

Mr Srivatsava

Perhaps you are too young to have first hand knowledge as to how Indian businesses have evolved over the years. If that's so, may be you should bother to read up a bit more before attempting your posturings. I was initially not inclined to respond to you. But, since, Naveen's comments got me into the mood, I decided I shall respond to some of the comments made by you also. So, here goes:

Similarly, Spice, Airtel and other players have been operating in the country atleast since 1996.
I have repeatedly been stating in my blogs that my first exposure to TVS was as the bus service provider in the city of Madurai in the 60's. And, many cities like Mangalore, Cochin, etc have totally private sector operated services even now. So, what's the point you are making?

And we all know how they operated till 2002/2003 when reliance came in to provide the scale. Telecom thrived only on scale, not because of the 'efficient'' private players.
Yes, exactly. And, that's how competition works, and unless you are efficient, you'll fall by the way-side.

Capt. Gopinath may have had a revolutionary thought. But, the business was a clear flop.
And, that's why he had to sell out. As compared to that, an HMT which goes on accumulating losses in hundreds of crores year after year, cannot ever be closed because of Socialism.

Maybe, the private players acted as catalysts for the change. Yes, you have said it

And, btw, please be aware these are all comparisons to make. All sectors that you have mentioned have benifitted by the pan-national economies of scale. Public transport operators have a smaller base of just a city. We have seen the Delhi bluelines do badly. Lets not take that single example to push down the idea. If only the Hyd Metro, Mumbai Metro(Reliance), Mumbai mono (L&T??) do much better than the Bangalore Metro, Mumbai BEST, Delhi metro etc, we can have a rethink. And again, city rail services operate on much higher scales than bus services.
PS, A personal point: If the (loss-making) BMTC luxury services are let out to private players, are you interested to take it up? Afterall, you have been very keen to start operating buses in Bangalore. Let us know what riders you may apply to take it up?


I don't understand your METRO talk. As for the bus services, I think you need to get some funda's right. The Mangalore operators are all making profits. And, even the BMTC has been declaring profits, inspite of its obviously inefficient ways. I am basically a business man, who has operated fair sized businesses hands on. And, I have worked out the feasibility of operating a shuttle bus service in Koramangala, and it is very much feasible operating even at the current BMTC fare levels. As for operating the high-end services, please get me a five-year contract, and I'll readily take it up, the only conditions being that I should be allowed to decide the routings and fare levels, which will any way be lower than the present VOLVO levels.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Difficulties For Introducing Private Buses

up
134 users have liked.

Mr.Murali,

I have been very sceptical about the possibilities of operating private buses in a large, crowded & congested metropolis like Bangalore mainly for fear of pedestrian safety & because I have serious doubts with the existing low-grade operators with respect to meeting social obligations, especially for the poor (not because I have any hard, socialistic leanings). However, after reading more about Indore, I believe this may indeed be possible, provided large-scale efforts are made & sustained in maintaining the quality of the services - this may be very difficult, but can be possible.

What they have done in Indore is that they have ensured that each route has only one operator under the PPP model, as mentioned by Binai Shankar. This way, there is no competition on each route between operators, though there are multiple operators on the multiple routes (well monitored by the govt.). Thus, they will not over-speed & race one another to get more commuters & safety standards can be maintained.

Even I think it is very difficult for BRT to be implemented within the city unless the massive on-going primary road expansions by BBMP include a provision for bus lane/s at the time of the expansion itself. This is not being done & is also very doubtful in the future, given that preference for cars is too high with the city's wealthy citizens.

The Magic boxes are being installed fine in many places & BWSSB is also involved with these to divert sewers & water pipes - I do not see this as the problem as already many of them have been successfully fitted & more are in the offing. It is a pity that they are not exclusively for buses.

What is the status of the UP model ? I have not heard anything after the call for tenders. Were there any respondents & how far has it progressed ?

I feel that unless the govt has a clear-cut agenda & the will to test this & see it through, nothing will materialize. There is also the long history of misuse of contract carriage licenses by all of the existing operators. Unless, this is dealt with an iron hand, the stalemate will continue & the better operators will stay well clear.

To overcome all these historic problems & move ahead, a properly functioning BMLTA is necessary since the existing low-grade bus lobbies will have to be broken to pave the way for better operators & services. This is the real catch for introduction of quality privatized bus services in the state. Not impossible, but very difficult.

binaiks's picture

I have a point

up
135 users have liked.

Dear Srivathsava,

PS, A personal point: If the (loss-making) BMTC luxury services are let out to private players, are you interested to take it up? Afterall, you have been very keen to start operating buses in Bangalore. Let us know what riders you may apply to take it up?

Sorry to interfere here, despite the question not being aimed at me. 

I have a point to make here. The 'so-called' luxury services from BMTC are making losses just because they are not properly planned. BMTC is pampering certain routes with buses running one behind the other, while other routes see a Volvo 'once-in-a-blue-moon'. 

The ITPL route is pampered way beyond need, and many-a-times I've seen these buses running with its seats hardly filled. On the other hands, it is very difficult to find vacant Volvos heading to Bannerghatta road or Electronic City. Instead of pampering one single route, why can't services be properly divided among routes?

To operate a service from KBS to ITPL, the bus is taken from Depot-2 (Hebbal). Why can't BMTC house a few Volvos at ITPL depot and run from there? What is the need to bring in volvos from Depot-28. They are wasting quite some fuel having these buses run empty to their depots. 

Volvos tend to be operated only during General shifts. They are no where to be seen early in the mornings or late in the evenings. Buses from Depot-25 (which recently got Volvos) can be seen returning back to their depots as early as by 1700 hrs! And they go one behind the other!!! Instead, if these buses are run on routes where passenger demand exists, the corporation could atleast earn some money.

Route rationalisation is what is required to make Volvos profitable. They need to run more buses during peak hours. Shift changes should be adjusted in a manner that they happen during afternoons - which is traditionally considered a lean period. Now, shift changes (oops! there is no shift change - just the drivers park the bus at the depot, and start them again the next morning) are done during peak hours.

--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city

--
Thanks,
Binai Sankar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Switch to Public Transportation, Save your city
silkboard's picture

Either this or that - but need change

up
136 users have liked.

First of all, last-mile issue, attention to details, and professional planning capabilities - these are the weaknesses of public transport system in Bangalore. Hope there is no disagreement there..

Now all of above may not be BMTC's fault. And they have certain strengths as well, like:

  • Speed of execution, which can be fast (not always may be) when they want to. They were quick with rolling out Big10, Volvos.
  • Coverage (intent) - they want to serve all peripheral areas. Intent is clearly there, they may not plan the coverage aspects well is a separate issue.
  • Flexibility to mix welfare with profit-n-loss in whatever ratio they like, because they are a public agency
  • Innovation - they have tried to do stuff, can't accuse them of sitting idle.
  • Operational knowledge - being long time incumbents, they are sitting on goldmine of data and knowledge

But, despite the strengths, weaknesses, citizen interest and pressure, what you constantly hear from bureaucrats and the likes of Prof Ashwin Mahesh, R K Misra or Prof Sreehari (the ABIDe folks) is this (I am not quoting them verbatim, they say it in their different ways) "please work within the system" or "suggest things that we (aka BMTC) can do".

I appreciate the fact about constraints etc. Of course, more than change required, more organizations you touch, harder the job. All bureaucrats in the city use this "defence". Implementing things that involve serious initiative taking and working with other departments is not the cup of tea for most bureaucrats in the city.

  • Last mile connectivity - Who will handle auto driver unions?
  • Bus stands and Bus bays - who will work with BBMP and BDA?
  • Bus route rationalizations - Who will work with local politicians who promised and got point to point connectivity to their dear followers?
  • Driving discipline - Who will handle driver unions?

Our City is losing its attractiveness due to the problem of congestion and internal connectivity. The issue is huge - topmost thing on the minds of citizens, visitors and investors alike. Why do we have to hide behind the standard talk of "constraints" for something as important as this?

A change is needed, and there are two options:

  • Institutional strengthening - via a real BMLTA like body so that excuses like BBMP and Traffic Police didn't ask me go away. Adding pro-bono services of experts like Prof Mahesh is not institutional strengthening. Back seat driving will stop after the passengers get off.
  • Private party involvement, options here range from operational outsourcing to complete liberalization of local transportation sector

Lets leave option #1 out in this discussion, we have talked it a lot in past. In some ways, option #1 is required even for option #2 - flip side of liberalization is that it requires strong regulatory bodies.

Unlike law and order, transportation is not something that the state can't let go of.

Once government shows some interest in reforms on this matter, ideas can be worked out to ease the transition for BMTC employees and auto unions. Engage any analyst, or Prof Ashwin Mahesh himself (before he loses interest in doing all this pro-bono!) and state government will find out that public transport is big enough market with space for everyone. There is a lot of unclaimed market space there - BMTC/KSRTC can easily survive as BSNL-like biggie, or as a pure regulator in the space.

A start can be made by

  • Letting go of higher tier service (much debated Volvos). Routes can be auctioned in bundles (combination of profitable + charitable routes), zones can be handed out to players (east, west, north types) - there would be tons of other models - just put our smart babus to work, they will figure
  • Local area shuttles or last-mile connectivity: BMTC only will gain. Autos can be kept happy, there are ways. Only thing- let private parties figure out creative ways, government may not have all the best ideas.
  • Promoting Airlift type vanpooling service by allowing them on more trunk routes besides just the city-airport links.

First step to improving things is to admit that things can get better. Alright, BMTC has done its job admirably (within those constraints). Its time to let go of some in the interest of the city and its environment.

Our standards ought to be higher.

murali772's picture

SB avare' - now you are

up
125 users have liked.

SB avare' - now you are talking! Would you also like to sign my petition, please? :)))

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Srivatsava's picture

Cannot disregard metro

up
119 users have liked.

      If we start pushing for entry of private players, the process will take 2-3 years to bring the initial on-ground steps. There are legal hurdles to face, protests from BMTC employees/unions etc to sort out (afterall, this issues is not just about commuters; We have conveniently ignored them in the discussion).

     In the span of these two-three years, we will have the have the Metro running on two lines (with/without the proposed extensions). We dont know if there will be any movement on the mono rail front. City transport should be considered holistically, not not just about bus services or just a bus operator. (Atleast, thats my opinion, I may be too young to understand these, I will soon have to find out a 'experienced man' to certify myself!!). Hence, it is important for us to understand the future role of bus services, before we find the need to bring in private players.

   BMTC themselves understand the need for major changes post Metro ( see Express article). Unfortunately, the article doesnt name the BMTC official. I am assuming that Indian Express will have spoken to a senior official at BMTC, who will be 'old enough' to be acceptable to the 'intelligent' sections of the city.

     I still (possibly immaturely) maintain that 'successes' of private players in telecom, aviation, banking is not good enough reason for their introduction into public transport, mainly because of the scale and nature of operations are widely different. Now, this is something a 20-something can understand. I am surprised that an experienced person who has operated fair sized businesses hands on goes hammer and tongs for introduction of players who may/may not be interested in running the city bus services. Sir, please give us some proof that a TVS/Tata's see sense in operating city buses. Or for that matter, even get a namma Zameer saab to endorse your stand.

SB,

      I am in agreement to some parts of your post.  And you seem to suggest that the way forward is

Letting go of higher tier service (much debated Volvos). Routes can be auctioned in bundles (combination of profitable + charitable routes), zones can be handed out to players (east, west, north types) - there would be tons of other models - just put our smart babus to work, they will figure

     BMTC does not have good managerial capability, and you seem to suggest that we should put them to work!! For us!!...   And the problem with Volvo service is just that the routes and schedules from BMTC are unplanned, unscientific etc etc etc...(Wordeful terms.. I should learn using them well. Nanna proposals 'scientific', BMTC aadre 'unscientific'.) And can we rely on them to suggest routes?? If we do so, the blame for the failure of private players will rest not on their 'business sense', but with the route planned by the BMTC/regulators.

      The way forward for us is to make 'Yellammana Jaarte' of city transport. Anyone and everyone should be free to run buses from anywhere to everywhere. Allow to them to work in their style with absolutely no public accountability.

-Srivatsava V

PS:  I also did not want to respond with this post. But then, as Murali sir says, I also got into the mood. (Absolutely serious, no sarcasm here. I just coudnt resist!!)

-Srivatsava V

j_venu's picture

end monopoly in the high end services to begin with

up
126 users have liked.

Ending Monopoly would definetly improve timeliness of the buses. Today i had an experience where 3 volvo's came together Route 500 (hebbal -banashankari). 
(by then i got frustrated waiting and had  bought general bus ticket)

BMTC cannot take up the market for Granted and have it's own whims.  Ending Monopoly would give an option to choose and also the service providers to deliver better. better services / better Advertizing might  trigger car users to move to buses.

i would definetly vote for ending monopoly in the high end services  to begin with.

Venu

Srivatsava's picture

Sincere Apologies...

up
129 users have liked.

Murali-sir,  and others in the discussion,

    Please accept my sincere and unconditional apologies, if I have been rude or unfair to anyone in the discussion.

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

silkboard's picture

Market is big enough

up
130 users have liked.

Srivastava,

Certainly, to each his own, fair enough, things can be argued. But you picked some wrong points to attack

  • Operational outsourcing, competition or privatization (the variants of the thing some want) do not necessarily mean that BMTC employees will lose out. The maket is big enough to allow several players. There can be smart models to protect their interests as well. Basically, don't make assumptions.
  • About Outsourcing upper tier services, I just spoke aloud. Let us not go into the specifics of how it can be done. We are activists, not experts. Couple of smart babus, or one month gig with McKinsey or IIM-A/IIM-B and you will have a clear list of options. Easy please.

There is no point criticizing or praising BMTC's managerial capabilities. Alright, they have been doing a decent job (thats how I closed my last post). But who does not agree that City bus operations need to be much much better. Let us not stay caught on our vortex of low expectations.

Let me repeat this - Let us first admit that there is a problem. Okay. And then, think about the solutions. And then, look back and think what would be new (not tried so far) in the solution proposed. BATF, ABIDE, BMTC route suggestions, service tiers (Pushpak, suvarna, MBS etc etc) have been happening. The pace is not fast enough, and the city is suffering. Thats about it. (I do hope the Big10 thing being tried can run to some conslusion and improvement before 'intervention' sets in)

About large players not being interested in running bus services - well, one should be aware that about 200 buses and maxicabs operate illegally running routes parellel to BMTC. Despite bribing cops at every major intersection, and running only at peak times, these guys continue to operate. You only have to legalize and regulate their willingness to operate in an underserved market.

Murali would reply to you by reminding about a NDTV show that Rohini Nilekani used to host. She had sort of asked Mr Bajaj if he would like to run transport operations (like the one we are talking up here). And the answer was anything but a no.

Having said all of above, I am not advocating that this (Aggressive outsourcing, competition, or provatization) is the only route. A tight and real Land Transport Regulatory Authority could also help. Thats one thing that has not been tried in past. And in fact, whenever we'd be ready to make the move, this LTA concept will set us up nicely for controlled liberalization - you can't hand out work without a strong process to regulate the private players.

Naveen's picture

Privatization Only An Option, At Best

up
131 users have liked.

What Srivatsava states is also true - we cannot jump on to the privatization bandwagon without considering that the Metro is due to arrive in a few years. The Metro, when operational, will change travel patterns for existing BMTC users in the city.

Further, the demand/s for privatization with the hope of better mobility & transport options may become diluted to some extent when Metro arrives.

J_Venu - You state :

" Ending Monopoly would definetly improve timeliness of the buses. Today i had an experience where 3 volvo's came together Route 500 (hebbal -banashankari). (by then i got frustrated waiting and had bought general bus ticket) "

This 'bunching' of buses due to traffic conditions is bound to happen even if there are private operators, is'nt it ? Having observed & used private buses in Mangalore, I can say that this is likely to happen even more frequently when there are larger no. of players competing for the same commuters since they will try to race one another.

Further, could you state reasons as to why you believe that timeliness of the buses will definitely improve ? So far, private operators have maintained very low quality buses & operate routes mostly during the day time or in peak hours when loads are heavy to maximize profits. Do you also believe that they will voluntarily operate services punctually beyond peak hours when loads are poor & they might have to lose money running such services ?

Inviting private parties to operate bus services must begin only after proper regulatory mechanisms to oversee their operations & performance is in place. Else, we may destroy what we already have in place, however crude & inefficcient it might be, as discussed above.

murali772's picture

bus and flexibility

up
115 users have liked.

I have stated it before, and I would like to state it again. The best aspect of the bus system is its flexibility. So, at any stage of the METRO, construction or operation, the routings can be revised to meet the changed needs. So, I can't see any problem at all.

But, of course, if you go and complicate the bus system with too many of the dedicated lanes and TTMC's, then the flexibility will be lost, and you'll land up routing the buses to serve these newly evolved interests than those of the genuine passengers. In fact, that's exactly what passengers along some routes have been complaining about the re-routing through the Shantinagar TTMC.  

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Srivatsava's picture

Agree with you, SB. LTA is needed...

up
127 users have liked.

      I did mention that I agree to certain aspects of your post. And yes, BMTC can definitely improve. Never would I say that the public transport system in bangalore ( not necessarily BMTC!!) is beyond improvement.

     As you have rightly said, even for private operators to be effective and sucessful, we need a strong regulatory body. So, our first focus should be to set up a functional BMLTA.  Competition to BMTC can be in the form another public transport provider. BMRCL can also bid for new routes which could act as feeder to the Metro, not just from the vicinity of the Metro line but from areas 6-8km away and without good connectivity to Metro. BMTC can still build upon consolidating its trunk routes and its feeder. The metro is not competing against the Big10 and the ring road trunk services. So, even post-Metro, BMTC (along with and against the BMRCL) will continue play a significant role.

      The best option for us to build on the work already done by the BMTC, but not at the cost of BMTC. The BMTC has invested a lot on money on the TTMCs, some of which are due to open soon, and on expansion of fleet. I am not saying that these TTMC will significantly change the city transport landscape. But, the BMTC is surely moving to provide multiple forms of trunk services. Afterall, the TTMCs are designed to be the interchanges for trunk services.

     Once the BMLTA takes shape, the TTMCs and existing bus stops should be moved to its custody. Once BMLTA takes control of the public transort in the city and BMTC is reduced to be an operator,the parts of BMTC in slumber will wake up.

     And, I have been harping on scale for some time. The point is simple. The private operators will find it very expensive to provide 2 shifts of drivers and conductors, not to forget hiring the managers from BMTC. The people cost will be much higher for the private operators. Even infrastructure costs will be much higher for the private operator, who will have to build a fleet of (possibly new) city buses. Additionally, they will also have to pay for uasge of bus stands and terminals. The BMTC has got lot of land all around the city at very little cost many years back. Hence, its real costs (TTMCs) are low. Private buses will have to run at higher costs compare to the BMTC.

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

j_venu's picture

woudn't competition lead to better service ?

up
121 users have liked.
Dear Naveen Sir,

>> The Metro, when operational, will change travel patterns for existing BMTC users in the city

Definetely True. but i don't think METRO would change the travel patterns in all the routes and corners  and sometimes may be faster to take a direct bus than hopping the METRO and changing buses.  We need to consider the fares aspect too.
Do we have any figures on how much traffic got reduced as a result of Delhi Metro

>>This 'bunching' of buses due to traffic conditions is bound to happen even if there are private >>operators, is'nt it ? Having observed & used private buses in Mangalore, I can say that this is l>>ikely to happen even more frequently when there are larger no. of players competing for the >>same commuters since they will try to race one another.

>>Further, could you state reasons as to why you believe that timeliness of the buses will >>definitely improve ?

 today being a weekend there was no much traffic  and was near noon arount 11:30 am hebbal to mahadevpura route.   assuming that the intial interval between these buses was  of 30 mins  the possiblity of the 3rd bus catching up with the 1st bus  very less. It could have happend that over a period of time  due to traffic conditions  and  all the 3 buses have missed the original schedule and started overlapping each other or ....

A private player would have probably synchoronized this better through better tracking. As i have observed, the transport supervisor in the company i work ensures that all buses arrive/departs on time with a maximum tolerance of 5 mins. Many times route timings also change frequently to address the  dynamics in the city. In case any minor  change  it communicated.
If one books a Cab what is the maximum delay one could expect in its arrival ? I had in couple
of Cab booking Sites that they track each cab using GPS.

what is the Schedule Mechanism being followed in BMTC. Last week i had another incident to quote.  Again Route No 500 Volvo.  There is bus scheduled at 9-15 AM. It comes to hebbal at 9:00 waits  till 9.15 and starts. on the specific day it did not turn up. Attributing to Traffic Delays i was just waiting. there was many others in the bus stop of which one went and enquired the TC , he checked his records and said that bus has not yet come.  When he was back he was suggesting why can't they put up a schedule.   Finally a BIA volvo turned up 9:40 filling up most of Volvo passengers and charging 2-3 times the normal fare.
One gets a feel  Private Players manage thier fleet better.  for eg.  in mangalore  people are very  less dependent on their 2 or 4 wheelers.

 

>>Further, could you state reasons as to why you believe that timeliness of the buses will >>definitely improve ? So far, private operators have maintained very low quality buses & >>operate routes mostly during the day time or in peak hours when loads are heavy to >>maximize profits. Do you also believe that they will voluntarily operate services punctually >>beyond peak hours when loads are poor & they might have to lose money running such >>services ?
This as been discussed before at Praja, i had read many posts regarding the same .
the Transport Regulatory Authority should set up the Guidlines on Quality of Service. Each Operator should be given Specific Schedule similar to Flight Schedules and Tracking should be done by Transport Regulatory  Authority similar to Air Traffic.  let  the market decides who survives. to summarize let us allow experiment on few routes for high end services  and see what is outcome.  


regards
Venu


 

Srivatsava's picture

Mumbai, London, Singapore are not correct comparisons

up
130 users have liked.


     Murali-sir has taken the london example to argue that private players will be efficient city bus ttransport providers. Again, I beg to differ that the efficient bus service is because of private operators. London, MUmbai and Singapore are all good examples of efficient public transport services. This is because all these cities have had rail networks for decades (over a hundred years in case of London and Mumbai). The cities have grown with the bus and train services. And hence, public transport has become part of the lives of the people there.
    In Bangalore, we have already failed in this regard. If we had the ELRTS running in early 90s, the growth that we saw in Bangalore during early parts of the decade was manageable. We would not grown into a having this large number of private vehicles. We need to have a good rail network running for a decade before we get over the transport woes.

 

    also, There is a criticism on BMTC of being slow in introducing the much needed changes. Surely, thats true. But the fact is also that the people (users of BMTC) are much more slower to accept these changes. Its only correct that the BMTC is slow in introducing these changes. If any of these ideas fail miserably, they will damned for the next few decades. That people do not want to change buses is a fact. That motorists want to avoid signals is a fact. Hence, we need to change  the mindset of the users. That is just as important as, if not not more important than, bringing competition to BMTC. Strange, but IMO, true!!

-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

kbsyed61's picture

Not just the bus owner, the whole PT system needs a relook!

up
136 users have liked.

Murali Sir,

The petition should be for the whole Road Based PT re haul, not just permits for private players.

Let me give you my passionate argument.

In hindsight you seems to agree that it is not just the bus owner that needs replacement, but also the whole road based PT infrastructure needs a total clean revamp. How do we go about it? You are petitioning for allowing private bus owners, fair enough. But the PT system is not just buses, it involve the whole infrastructure that supports the system, starting from good roads, bus stops, information system, customer service, bandwidth and infrastructure to add new routes and areas,  a big brother who keeps and arbitrate when conflict arises.

What should be a right thing to do is:

  1. Create a regulatory, planning and public authority that owns the PT system. It is this authority that is responsible for implementing and operation of  A-Z of road based PT system.
  2. Bring Buses, Autos, Cabs/Taxis, shuttles, contract carriages etc into ambit of Road Based PT system.
  3. Position each one of them into areas that they are best suited and make complimentary to each other.
  4. Bring in the professional services to revamp the whole routes, schedules and fares to meet the needs of different sections of the Bangalore commuters.
  5. Should have infrastructure and resources to expand the routes, areas etc.
  6. One important thing is, in the revamp scheme, the existing resources like BMTC & its fleet etc has to be utilized on priority basis before augmenting with newer resources and new players.

This is the crux of the sensible and logical thing to attempt for mitigating the Bangalore commuter's choices that exist today.

Since we all are talking some sense into what is needed, let me organize a meeting and attempt for some consensus.

Anybody game for a SKYPE MEETING around May 9/10th?

Syed

murali772's picture

my responses

up
111 users have liked.

Syedbhai

My petition, which I had drafted decades ago, had originally been addressed to the CJ, Karnataka High Court. Now, when you petition the High Court, the 'prayers' have to be very specific, and that's why I made the very simple prayer of 'ending the government monopoly'.

However, when addressed to the CM, I concede the 'demands' can include any and everything and put across as vaguely as possible also. So, apart from what you have listed, we can add on many more things - the scope is unlimited.

Now, however much you may empower a regulatory body, unless you have strong business rivals keeping a close watch on its and the concerned ministry's deeds, there are no guarantees against the kinds of machinations that the neta-babu combo is capable of. This is brought out clearly in the case of the 3G spectrum allocation issue in the telecom sector, where inspite of the existence of a fairly well constituted and otherwise effective TRAI, a Mr Raja comes along and totally messes up matters causing huge losses to the exchequer. And, if not for the keen competition between the players like Reliance, TATAs, Airtel's Mittal, etc, who took the matter to the court, the TRAI for all its empowerment, would have been reduced to a dummy.

Similar is the case of CBI, which inspite of its fairly sound constitution, has of recent been reduced to a dummy. And, here the opposition parties have been wanting in their collective role as the watch-dog.

Likewise, you can write up the best of regulatory framework for the BMLTA also. But, unless there are strong players who want to play by it, and prevent the others from deviating from it in connivance with the neta-babu combo, it will get emasculated in no time.

Our infrastructure service sectors (others being power distribution, water supply, railway operations) desperately need the managerial capabilities of these big houses. And, they are also equally desperately looking for avenues for growth, particularly with the conventional ones based largely on exports, becoming less and less attractive or even closed. Given this scenario, what is required is a policy decision to involve them and thereafter to draw up the regulatory framework in consultation with them as well as some experts, of course to be whetted by parliamentary panels.

That, in my view, is the way forward.


Srivatsava avare'

You have stated that "that people do not want to change buses is a fact". May be so. But, if you have to cater to that need, you'll land up sacrificing operational frequencies and therewith connectivity. You can't have the cake and eat it too!

Also, when private companies take decisions like buying out VOLVO buses etc, it will be after thorough cost-benefit analyses. As compared to that, when a BMTC takes such decisions, the factors are different and invariably there's the neta in the picture. So much so, their VOLVO buses are now landing up sub-contracted to Air-India-SATS for passenger ferrying services at the BIAL (I saw atleast three of them on the tarmac when I flew in yesterday), perhaps so that they earn more revenue than if they join the regular fleet.

And, going by your logic of 'scales', one would wonder how Spicejet, GoAir, Paramount, Indigo, etc are carrying on. And, when one of them gets bought out, another new one comes along, even in recessionary times.


Naveen avare'
The pluses and minuses of Mangalore bus services, and the reasons for the minuses, have already been covered extensively at

http://praja.in/blog/naveen/2009/03/21/meeting-with-profashwin-mahesh#comment-12449


I wouldn't like to add anything more.


And, SB avare'
With this, you have said it all - "but who does not agree that City bus operations need to be much much better. Let us not stay caught on our vortex of low expectations". Unfortunately, the stance of BMTC's apologists is only helping perpetuate the imposition of at best a mediocre service on the citizens, particularly the poor.  

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Does the minister understand the term 'monopoly'?

up
134 users have liked.

The state-run road transport corporations are planning to introduce about 1,000 buses this year to break the monopoly of private operators across the state. “Private bus operators are trying to create a monopoly in some districts, particularly in coastal Karnataka. So we decided to launch a healthy competition even if it means waging a long battle,” transport minister R Ashoka told reporters on Monday. Justifying the reason on why they wanted to break the monopoly of private operators, the minister said private buses jeopardized public safety and made passengers servile to their services.

The above is the quote by the Transport minister, Mr Ashoka in today's TOI. He had said the same thing earlier also (check this), but not quite acted on it. It's very likely a blackmail tactic conveying a message to the transport operators that his monthly/ quarterly "dues" are overdue.

Besides, how does a multi-player private sector operation get termed a monopoly? And, like I have asked earlier, what about competition for the government operations where they currently have a sole monopoly?

And, as for public safety, perhaps an independent study will establish whose record is worse - government's or private operators'. I am willing to bet it will be the government's.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

CAG report

up
142 users have liked.

The CAG’s latest report on Karnataka’s government corporations (all their reports are on cag.gov.in) makes some useful points on their corporations, the three regional state ones and the one for the metropolis of Bangalore. In the former, it notes 80 per cent of routes lose money; half don’t cover even variable costs. For Bangalore, it is a lot better, but even here, close to half the routes lose money. And, for all these corporations, half of scheduled maintenance doesn’t take place on time. All are basic problems dogging any sustained growth.

The CAG suggests an independent body, on the lines of the state electricity regulatory commission, to fix fares, monitor services and functioning, and address public grievances and suggestions. The idea is well worth trying.


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

A properly constitued and empowered BMLTA is only a quarter of the answer. The real change will happen only with effective competition.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

where will that help?

up
117 users have liked.

Alarmed over an increase in the number of accidents involving maxi-cabs, the government is considering a blanket ban on the operation of such vehicles all over the state. Expressing concern over a recent accident involving a maxi-cab which killed 18 persons in Tumkur, transport and home minister R Ashoka on Wednesday said maxi cabs have been banned in the district. “Two officials of the transport department have been suspended. The government may also ban maxi-cabs in all districts of the state,” he said. The department seized over 25 maxi-cabs in Mandya district recently where, he added, more KSRTC buses will ply as an alternative.

For the full report in the ToI, click here

The problem in the first place is the nomenclture as "maxi-cab", and the accompanying license-permit raaj. Whenever such incidents happen, the neta-baabu combo come up with the same excuses and the same remedies, and forget about it all a few days later. Till such times as the raaj is dismantled, more or less on the lines detailed here, there is no salvation, particularly for our rural brethren. When will we all wake up to this reality?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

The parallel

up
135 users have liked.

One big reason for corruption in the Education sector is the government’s "no profits allowed" policy for private institutes.
    
This ensures that none of the legitimate players ever enter the field. Ex-academics, world-class corporates and honest people will never touch private education, for they do not want to pay bribes at every stage and devise shady methods to bypass no-profit rules. Thus, people like local country liquor barons, sari manufacturers and mithai shop owners open technical colleges for engineering and medicine. And we hand over our kids and their future to them.

    
For the full text of the column by Chetan Bhagat in the ToI, click here.

The problem is more or less the same in public bus transport services sector too. And, that's why you have only the 'Sharma transport' type operators in the field, some of whom all the same are better than our BMTC/ KSRTC. If the playing field is levelled out, firstly with the dismantling of the license-permit raaj imposed through archaic Contract Carriage Act, etc, you'll see the likes of TVS (who were the pioneers in the field) and TATA's coming in, making for a paradigm shift in the way we travel, leading to solutions to many other problems our cities are currently faced with. 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

perpetuating the cattle class

up
124 users have liked.

I had posted a link to the above post on HU y-group, and a certain SR chose to respond as below:

Firstly, Chetan Bhagat?!  I am really not sure what his credentials as an expert are to comment on this. Also, it speaks a lot about his knowledge/outlook if he thinks that:

  • Honest people and sari-manufacturers/mithai shop-owners are mutually exclusive
  • "World-class" (whatever he means by that) corporates and local country liquor barons are also exclusive
  • World-class corporates (again, not sure what he means by this, but would like to hear a few examples of these paragons of untainted virtue) being above "devising shady methods".

Also, I am confused by the "Sharma" and BMTC/KSRTC references. Are you talking about inter-city bus transport?

And, I countered as below:
Chetan Bhagat - The New York Times called him the ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’. Time magazine named him in the “100 Most Influential People in the world” and Fast Company, USA listed him as one of the world’s “100 most creative people in business.”

For all that (of course, you can now ask what are the credentials NYT, Time magazine and this Fast Company), if one is to question his credentials, what credentials does anyone on HU have to comment on the subject, or any of the many others, that we have been commenting on at length? So, we all keep quiet, and not give out our opinions? Well, anyway, that's not for me. I have my opinions on very many subjects, and, if not on HU y-group, I will be putting them all out on PRAJA, or on my personal blog.

On the subject of private colleges also, I have put my comments on PRAJA, long before CB commented on the subject, and his is a further elaboration of what I have said.


Now, coming back to bus services, all the private bus operations, whether inter-city or intra-city (maxi-cabs), are licensed as 'contract carriages' (except in Mangalore, Udupi, and a few other districts), with all kinds of unworkable restrictions imposed on them. When I applied for a licence, the same was offered to me too by the Transport Commissioner. When I said that I wanted a regular bus service licence (referred to by them as stage-carriage services), he stated that that sector was the monopoly of BMTC. As I was leaving the office, a slightly junior level official followed me and told me to take the contract carriage licence and operate as a regular bus service, like everybody else is already doing. What he didn't quite say, but obviously meant, was that I will have to bribe my way all along, including firstly to him. Now, this is what a TVS or a TATA won't do, but the sari manufacturers, mithai shop-owners, liquor barons, etc, that CB referred to, as also the Sharma's, I referred to, will generally not have much compunctions about doing. And, when you start off that way, it is only to be expected that the culture all along will be 'cattle class'.

And, it's not just Sharma. Even the likes of VRL descend to that level, when operating in this space, inspite of having the latest of VOLVO buses on their fleet. They are supposed to have a tie-up with "REDBUS", an excellent portal for bus ticketing. But, to avoid paying commissions during the peak Diwali rush, they just dumped REDBUS, and are taking on the bookings directly, but of course, in the old world fashion. I just experienced this while attempting to make some bookings for a relative of mine.

Now, of course, when a Cabinet minister (A Raja) himself starts behaving like the official in the Transport Commissioner's office (that I referred to above), Reliance had apparently floundered, and possibly even TATAs, but TVS's and Infosys's are unlikely to have. What they will do instead is to lobby to change the rules so that they can also get into the game, and play according to the rules. So, the important thing is to ensure that the rules are framed properly, which isn't difficult when there are enough players interested. And, after the recent experiences of their top honchos suffering prolonged jail terms, you can generally expect that they will now play almost totally by the rule book.  

Also, once you have a fairly good regulatory mechanism in place, even the Sharma's and VRL's will match up to the regular 'corporates', and give them a run for their money, to the ultimate benefit of the consumer, like we have been seeing the GO-AIR's, Indigo's etc taking on the Jet's and Kingfisher's in the airlines industry, even though the regulatory mechanism there is still to take proper shape.

Well, whatever, no businessman can claim to be lilly white. And, to that extent, your statement "let anyone who has never sinned, cast the first stone" is quite relevant - but, as much for ordinary mortals, including Anna Hazare perhaps.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

labour aristocracy in action

up
131 users have liked.

Members of the Akhila Karnataka Rajya Raste Sarige Nowkarara Mahamandala stated that all the four state transport corporations were employing nearly 33,000 employees as trainees on a stipend between Rs 2,000-Rs 5,000 per month. “This is close to 1/3rd of the total workforce. They are made to do regular work, are fined like regular employees and after a training period of 2 years have to undergo probation for 2 more years,” said K S Sharma, president of the federation. He pointed out that the total salary received by the lowest rank in the corporations was 9,000 per month for a class ‘D’ attender. - - - - The federation is protesting against the alleged arbitrary pay hikes made by the corporations without consulting the workers. “There must be elections to recognise the negotiating body which represents the workers, they cannot decide wage hikes,” Sharma said.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

This is typically the labour aristocracy (a term coined by none less than the redoubtable Mr Gurudas Dasgupta) in action. Most government organisations are in the grips of various types of mafia operations - the politician at the top handles all the major contracts; the officials - the smaller contracts; and the labour aristocracy - the labour contracts. They all manage to arrive at some kind of a balance to somehow keep the show going. But, it's just that - only a show. If the sector is unshackled to allow for healthy competition from the private sector, on a more level playing field, the benefits to the economy, as well as to the aam aadmi, will be huge.

When are the people going to be realising such fundamentals? Well, atleast perhaps I can now enlist the support of this 'mahamandala' in my pursuit.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

endorsement

up
121 users have liked.

"There are, of course, difficult questions surrounding any new plan. Loss of autorickshaw monopolies in some areas, and competition from the new mini buses to both autos and loosely regulated 'mini vans' are potential hurdles. Chennai badly needs an agency to procure transport options for the public under a well-regulated and passenger-friendly scheme that sets fares, routes and service quality benchmarks. It should specify the kind of mini-bus that must be operated by the service provider. That will prepare the ground for feeder services for the upcoming Metro rail. The time to start is now, and CUMTA the city transport regulator should act. Without such initiatives, Chennai's quality of life is bound to deteriorate, along with its local economy".

These are the excerpts from an article which appeared in 'The Hindu' recently (accessible here).

In fact, the only difference between what is stated in the article, and my petition, is on the question of how to handle the service segment described in the first sentence in the above excerpts. And, the answer to that, quite as stated "is procurement of services from the same operators, besides others, but under strict regulation", perhaps through their 'co-operatives', which may even be offered concessions on road taxes for their vehicles, which point was also made long ago as "Buses run by co-operative societies may be allowed 25% concession on annual license fees", here.

Very clearly, therefore, this is indeed the most cost-effective solution, not for just Chennai, but for every city in the country.

But, for all that, if my petition (on-line) didn't gather the requisite momentum, it was plainly due to its faulty formatting, whereby people landed up clicking on a 'NO' without realising what they were doing. This article has now caused me to firm up my resolve to have it corrected, and take it forward.

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

petition revived

up
118 users have liked.

The revived petition may be accessed here.

The subject has been debated ad nauseum on PRAJA, and I expect most Prajagalu have formed their opinions already. Those who agree with the cause overall may want to re-affirm their support.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Further corroboration

up
129 users have liked.

The strike received a total response in all major districts including Mysore, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Mandya, Gulbarga, Bijapur and other places. On the other hand, the strike had little impact in Mangalore and Hubli, thanks to strong network of private bus service here.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Isn't the answer staring in one's face? Demand end to the monopoly - sign this petition.

Read here besides about how BMTC/ KSRTC perpetuate inequities and artificialities.
 

Muralidhar Rao
abidpqa's picture

Is monopoly still there?

up
125 users have liked.

There are private buses running regularly between Tin Factory and Silk Boad. But there is BMTC monopoly within the city. How is this possible? It only means these buses are run not very legally.

They also dont obey the laws. They stop in front of KR Puram Railway station blocking the traffic. There are at least 5 or 6 policemen posted there in the evening, but none come to the front of railway station as if the traffic need not be controlled there. This the behavior of the private players as expected.  Blaming the government is not correct, because it is the behavior expected by private operators from the gov officials.

 

blrpraj's picture

Forget the monopoly, fix the infrastructure

up
114 users have liked.

Folks, for the time being let's forget the monopoly and let's fix the infratructure from the ground up. We need to think
out of the box since the solution lies in revamping the transportation infratructure from the ground up.

The key lies in thinking about this as a an engineering problem and trying to design an open ended architecture that is scaleable (pretty much how we would design the electronic backbone of a new airplane OR design a new operating system from the ground up.). The other problems such as rash driving, improper parking etc. can actually be solved by the extensive use of technology...technology has reached such point where we can do away with the driver if we want to completely.

INFRASTRUCTURE - First and foremost we need to build dedicated busways that is geared towards moving people enmasse with uninturrupted flow. AND this network of dedicated busways should intermesh with the current & proposed metro network.
There should be used of advanced technology to the maximum such as automatic (& tamper proof) governance of the speed of buses on the busways. Most importantly these dedicated busways should interlink all TTMCs with dedicated on & off ramps.
If we want to totally automate the buses we could go in for something like a guided busway - http://www.flickr.com/photos/9003948@N05/7004056524/in/photostream/

URBAN PLANNING - Building up the infrastructure alone won't suffice. We need to rethink the way offices & commercial establishments are setup. To me it looks like all of this just sprang up without anyone putting any thought to it.


WHO OPERATES - Once we have taken care of the basic infrastructure and the complete specifications then the floor can be thrown open to various players to offer differing levels of service confirming to the specifications. The biggest question that would arise is who would be those "players". It certainly should NOT be any "individual" run company with that individual being potentially either a politician or government beauracrat. I would say it should be a publicly traded company with a CEO and board of directors. A government run company like BMTC could also be one of the service run providers. Bottom line is to have a bunch of companies, all playing by the same strictest set of rules and not being held hostage to any mafia providing high class services. As i said before, technology can be used in a large way to enforce standards and other rules.

I had penned my thoughts a long time back on praja and proposed a set of high level requirements - http://praja.in/en/blog/blrpraj/2009/09/18/draft-document-detailing-requirements-efficient-public-transport-system.

This is a good thread and let's keep the discussions going; i sincerely believe the only way out for a sustainable and scaleable transportation solution is to either massively increase the footprint of the metro and build something like the London/Paris underground OR adopt some kind of dedicated busway network intermeshed with the metro network.

murali772's picture

wake-up call from Delhi

up
143 users have liked.

The gang rape and death of a young woman in the national capital has brought back into focus the urgent need for ensuring greater safety of women in public places. Better policing must be a lynchpin of this, but what will also help is an efficient and reliable public transport system along with other measures to improve civic infrastructure such as properly lighted public spaces. Unfortunately, public transport facilities in most Indian cities are not only grossly inadequate but also uncomfortable, unreliable and unsafe.

- - Unfortunately, almost all political parties, given their fetishised focus on the rural voter, have made only half-hearted attempts to build urban public transport systems. And suggestions to improve women`s safety have centred on curbing nightlife rather than enhancing it. Implicit in them is a desire to impose rural lifestyles on urban residents. So most commuters are left at the mercy of petty operators, who use political patronage and criminal elements to run sparsely available night transport. This exposes commuters to major risks, as was evident in Nirbhaya`s case.

Though the JNNURM funded by the central government has boosted public transport in cities, it is still too meagre to have a substantial impact. The progress of half-hearted efforts to set up bus rapid transit (BRT) systems and to incentivise investments by large corporate groups has been tardy. Authorities should take radical steps to operationalise large public transport networks that can cater to growing cities, including a night service. This will not only boost the national economy, but also enhance safety on the streets.


For the full text of the editorial in the ToI, click here.

The problem is beginning to be understood, but unfortunately a bit too slowly. At least, that's an improvement over the types who refuse to understand, and are happy perpetuating the status quo, irrespective of the seriuos consequences highlighted by the Delhi incident.

Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

Pranav for bus privatization! ;)

up
132 users have liked.

 

‘Make the best of private buses’

Pranav Jha

In peak hours you can see three kinds of private vehicles on the roads: The big private buses that are not supposed to stop at local bus stands ,  the mini cabs  that seem to appear in the mornings and evenings, -  looking very old and  not even worthy of RTO permits - and  the BPO vans and taxis that appear to pick up passengers on their empty return trips.

What is very noticeable is that the larger private buses seem to be more 'acceptable' to traffic police constables. These buses oft­en park and wait for passengers while their drivers enjoy a conversation with the traffic police.

It is the inadequate capacity of intracity road transportation that gives these private vehicles enough business  to indulge in doing the illegal and partly take over BMTC's job. One way to deal with them would be to not allow them to ply at all.

But the better way perhaps would be to just allow more such 'enterprising' operators to continue providing services in a structured way to lessen the burden on the BMTC. These private operators could run on profitable trunk routes under the supervision of the BMTC while it concentrates on providing wider coverage to all other areas of the city.

more here

 

kbsyed61's picture

He is not, instead he is suggesting best use of private service!

up
129 users have liked.

Sri,

Nowhere in the article it suggests that SB is advocating privatization of BMTC. What I could gather from his arguments is instead of giving room for illegal playing of private buses, why not allow them service the routes they think are profitable. That is different from saying time for privatization of BMTC.

Right SB?

murali772's picture

Pathetic operational conditions

up
99 users have liked.

While most of them were a little apprehensive when this reporter struck up a conversation, they soon flood in with the perils of being a public bus driver and how there’s no one to listen  to their story.

Most drivers jest that the issues they face could fill up a book. Ravi says of his daily grind, “The traffic is maddening. We have to cover a certain number of kilometres per day - for me, its 189 km. It’s impossible to do so in Bangalore’s traffic conditions,” adding that those who fail to cover the distance are not paid overtime duty charges. “We’re even issued memos, stating that we’ve failed to reach the stipulated distance per day,” he states.

Ramu, who also ferries passengers from Shivajinagar to Begur, says, “The conductor and I were assigned this route three months ago. Since we cover the second shift - 2 pm to 10 pm - we are forced to sleep in the bus.” He adds that those like them, who are under training, are not entitled to leaves.


He also hints at bullying. “If one day you’re late, you might be fined or transferred.”

Continuing on the condition of buses and traffic, Ramu says, “Many parts of the buses are in terrible shape. So on crowded city roads, in bumper to bumper traffic, when autorickshaws and two-wheelers try to overtake all of a sudden, we don’t know if we can brake on time or if the brakes will fail. We drive with our hearts in our mouths.”

In accidents, bus drivers are the first accused. “Public sympathy lies with the autos and two-wheelers, regardless of whose fault it is. We are the ones who get beaten up,” adds Selvaraj.

They could complain to the higher-ups but the fear of transfers to ‘far off places’ silences all.


For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Very clearly, the operational staff, except perhaps the few who are part of the mafioso, are getting a raw deal too, apart from the commuters. As such, it is indeed shocking that the public is yet to appreciate the perils of the continuation of a government monopoly, particularly in as critical an infrastructure sector as public bus transport services. When will wisdom dawn?

 

Muralidhar Rao
rackstar's picture

private minibuses

up
109 users have liked.

Minibuses flagged off in Chennai; routes announced
Julie Mariappan, TNN | Oct 23, 2013, 12.39 PM IST28

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday introduced 50 minibuses on 20 routes in Chennai that lack adequate public transport facility.

http://timesofindia.india...

To end monopoly govt can permit private minibuses. Already many minibuses are plying in the city illegally. Giving big buses to private bus drivers is a safety issue like delhi bluelines. Anyway metro will soon unseat bmtc from bangalore transport top spot once phase 1 is complete, even bangalore commuter railway will help ending monopoly of bmtc.

kumarvsravan's picture

It will be a catastrope if we

up
99 users have liked.

It will be a catastrope if we encourage privatization of essential services. We are already in a situation where our Education system and Medical system has got out of reach of common man due to privatization and we cannot afford to throw more essential services at the mercy of privitazation. It always serves the society if the right to take decision for essential services lies with the society and having the government manage such services would be the best option for essential services. Public sector option can be explored but throwing the essetial services at the mercy of few capitalists will be a blunder.

I am surprised by the fact that author is impressed with private plyers more than the government services. I would recommend visiting coastal karnataka to understand the bane that privitization can bring us. Lack of timekeeping, sheer driving indiscipline, lack of responsibility in usage of roads, dishonouring of stops and bus bays, stopping at will anytime anywhere without any indication etc etc are some of the common sights with the private plyers. All that these bunch of private jokers are concerned about is the money that they can make out of their dilapidated vehicles. We can witness all these occurences in our own city Bangalore too with the private plyers. They tend to steal the right of way from everyone on the road and are a big mess. 

Instead of privatizing the road transport, if we can think on the lines of introducing more metro corridors, mono rail corridors, BRTS services and use BMTC/KSRTC as feeder service and to provide last mile reach, this may possibly make our transportation system more efficient and attractive mode of commute.

murali772's picture

what is a non-essential service?

up
107 users have liked.

@kumarvsravan - While welcoming you to PRAJA, one would have hoped that you would go through the debates that have gone on, on such subjects from long, before posting your comments.

Apparently, "public bus transport services" is an essential service for you, apart from "education system" and "medical system", whatever you may mean when you say 'system'. So, let me ask you are telecom, airlines, banking, insurance, power supply, etc any less essential essential services? If you agree that they too are essential, do you then want to suggest that all the opening up of these sectors to competition from the private players, that has happened over the past two decades, be reversed? Of course, that depends on whether you see the opening up as having benefited the people (as also the country's economy as a whole), or not. I, for one, believe that the benefits have been huge, and similar will be the case in the other sectors too, if they too are opened up. Yes, there have been a lot of distortions. But, all of that has been on account of the government not doing the job of regulating, which mainly is its mandated role, properly.

I am quite familiar with the goings on in Coastal Karnataka, as also in Kochi, the two places where the stage-carriage services (babu jargon for ordinary bus services) have remained open to private players. Please go through the debates on the blogs listed below (apart from this blog itself) to see if they make sense to you. If they don't, not to worry - as you'll notice, you too will have enough of company. Only let's avoid boring other Prajagalu with the same arguments.

http://praja.in/en/~bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/11/02/the-challenged-private-sector
http://praja.in/en/~bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/10/27/private-sector-challenge
http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2011/01/20/kochi-connection

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

P - word getting to be acceptable: but, a long way to go

up
114 users have liked.

ToI report excerpts (for the full text, click here) and my comments thereof:

M N Sreehari, advisor to state government for traffic, transport and infrastructure wonders "why there can’t be private buses plying in areas where BMTC cannot operate in the night”. Both Rao and Sreehari also have worries about women’s safety.

Yes, Sir! Say that loudly.

Bhaskar Rao, former city transport commissioner and now Belgaum IGP, says the BMTC thinks it is there only to make money.

Vinay Sreenivas of the Bus Prayanikara Vedike, a citizen’s forum, says it is time that the system is revamped, especially with the nightlife extended. “Ply shared autos in areas where buses don’t or have mini buses to act as feeders,” says Sreenivas.


For both these worthies, the P-word is still a mind-set problem, although they quite well know that that alone can provide the big ticket solution. May be a reading of this will help get over the mind-set problem.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

need has become more imperative now

up
105 users have liked.

For the second straight year, corporation has incurred a loss. The authority says it will have no money to pay staff if fare is not increased right now

For over a decade, the BMTC enjoyed the reputation of being the only state-run road transport corporation in the black. That run came to an end in the financial year 2012-13 when the corporation declared a loss. The poor run has only worsened this year.

Because of persistent losses, the corporation is finding it difficult to induct new buses into its fleet. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) scheme the corporation will induct 500 new buses next year, but the corporation has to pay 50 per cent of cost.


For the full text of the report in the Bangalore Mirror, click here

Now, even as the BMTC "is finding it difficult to induct new buses into its fleet", going by the following excerpts from a report in the Deccan Herald (for the full text, click here), it seems to be more intent on serving the needs of the "khaas aadmi":

The corporation earned Rs 60 crore last year by hiring out buses.

The chartered services offered by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) have been raking in the moolah for the state-run transport agency.

The revenue derived from renting out buses to corporates and government departments for ferrying employees has filled the coffers of the BMTC, thus making it one of the country’s profit-making state transport undertakings (STU). The BMTC was in the red a few years ago. At present, around 500 buses of the corporation have been drafted for the chartered/dedicated services

- - - The introduction of chartered services had drawn severe criticism from the general public in the initial days. It was apprehended that the BMTC would compromise on public service while catering to the companies.  

The BMTC has a fleet of 6,700 buses and on an average more than 50 lakh commuters travel by its buses every day.


Now, I don't think even BMTC is claiming to be anywhere close to meeting the present day demands, leave alone the talk of capacity to meet the huge projections for the future. Besides, there's also no denying the fact that the addition of a single high-end bus to the fleet, has to be at the cost of addition of a minimum of 5 ordinary buses. As such, operation of the high-end services, in pursuit of the profit motive, is essentially depriving the "aam commuters" of their basic needs. The criticism of the pursuit is therefore is as much valid today as it was at the time of introduction of these services.

The public has generally been led to believe that private players were being kept out of the sector, since they would be interested only in the high-end services, where the money is, and will not serve the interests of the ordinary people. But, that charge can now be said to be as much valid for BMTC too. So, pray, why should the monopoly continue?

Further, while there is absolutely no case for denying the rightful fare increases corresponding to input cost increases, the quantum of increase can't be left to the collective bargaining process as it is seen to be the case now. Also, alongwith taking the cost increases into account, there have to be measures for operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, safety record, etc too, where, as is well established, monopolies can never score well, particularly so when they are government-run.

All in all, the case for opening up of the services, even if on a slightly sloping field favouring government players, all duly overseen by a properly constituted regulatory body, has become the imperative need of the day. Actually, it's been long long overdue.

PS: Another factor that may have contributed to the losses in a major way is perhaps the poor pay back on the huge (and largely useless) TTMC's, (mis)-using the JNNURM funds (more on that - here). And, that's one more reason why BMTC should be only a player, and not the equivalent, in the sector, of the prosecutor, judge and the jury.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

cliched responses to fare hike

up
91 users have liked.

About 100 members from the Aam Aadmi Party also gathered at the Shantinagar Bus Stand to protest the bus fare hike (for the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here).

Likewise, "The youth wing of Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) held a protest rally at Mysore Bank circle , the heart of Bangalore city and demanded immediate roll back of the price hike" (for the full text of that report in the ToI, click here).

Now, AAP in its manifesto, has stated  "AAP believes that government should not be in the business of running businesses. Active participation of private sector is required for enterprises to thrive and create jobs. The government should encourage honest enterprise through lower compliance costs and a corruption-free environment, the provision of efficient and reliable infrastructure and services, and incentivising productive innovation" (for the full text, click here). And, NaMo's mantra has been "government has no business to be in business".

So, why are these parties then shying away from demanding opening up the services for competition?

As for Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike (BBPV), Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) - SUCI(C), and the lot, I expect they will continue to view such a demand as 'neo-liberalist', steeped as they remain stuck in 'pseudo-Socialism', even as they allege "Having spent crores of public money on unnecessary projects, BMTC is now shifting the entire burden of its maladministration and corruption on to the common people - This is daylight robbery”, while offering no solutions to the ever-worsening malaise.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

corroboration from within

up
89 users have liked.

On April 24, BMTC hiked the fares by 15%, becoming the costliest public bus service in the country. The fare per km was 42 paise in 2008-09 which now is 86 paise. - - - Sources in the corporation however, criticized undertaking of construction projects like traffic and transit management centres and hinted at money being siphoned off from the traffic revenue by top order officials and ministers.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

And, as long as BMTC remains a government monopoly player, scams of the TTMC kind (more on that is accessible here) are inevitable. In fact, the entire purpose of retaining them that way is for the mafioso's, of various kinds involved, to milk them, and thereby the people, in every way possible. The moot question is how long do people want to tolerate this?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

time for Khaas Saarige in the private sector

up
88 users have liked.

The current financial crunch in the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has hurt even its bus acquisition process. The BMTC is unlikely to purchase new Volvo and air-conditioned buses in the near future. In what appears to be a consequence of back-to-back losses in the financial year 2012-13 and 2013-14, the BMTC has been asked to “reassess” its requirements for Volvo and A/C buses. The request to “reassess” has been made by the State government in the light of 310 A/C buses approved by the Centre under the JnNURM transition phase.

For the full text of the report in the Deccan Herald, click here.

Simultaneously, following are the extracts from a Mumbai ToI report (for the full text, click here)

The Mumbai Metro seems to be on track as the number of passengers has crossed the 20-lakh mark in the first week itself. On Sunday, enthusiastic commuters thronged Ghatkopar and Andheri stations forcing Metro authorities to down shutters to avoid overcrowding. An official of the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) said this was part of the crowd management procedure and the shutters were down "for only few minutes". The trains were on time, he added.

This very clearly indicates that there is a huge demand in Indian cities for A/C class travel, even if it is a bit costly. Now, while, Namma Metro could take care of it to some extent, what about the large swath of areas not covered by Metro, and from where BMTC is now going to be withdrawing? Shouldn't the government be considering opening out that to private players?

So, while the government restricts its services to the needs of the Aam Aadmi, let private players come in to meet the needs of the Khaas Aadmi, lest they revert to using their cars and cluttering up the city roads further.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Incorrect Analysis

up
103 users have liked.

This very clearly indicates that there is a huge demand in Indian cities for A/C class travel, even if it is a bit costly. Now, while, Namma Metro could take care of it to some extent, what about the large swath of areas not covered by Metro, and from where BMTC is now going to be withdrawing? Shouldn't the government be considering opening out that to private players?

So, while the government restricts its services to the needs of the Aam Aadmi, let private players come in to meet the needs of the Khaas Aadmi, lest they revert to using their cars and cluttering up the city roads further.

Guess you are neither familiar with Mumbai nor about their metro. The huge rush is because of several reasons:

1) People want to see what their metro is like (similar to the rush when metro opened in Bangalore).

2) There are promotional fares for the full first month (Rs.5/- only from any station to any other). In fact, during weekends, there are free rides for children below 12 years & several schools are using the opportunity to take entire groups of students for joyrides.

3) The metro acts as a connector between Andheri stn of the western line & Ghatkopar stn of the central line. Dadar station was earlier being used for interchange, but metro is positioned better through the CBDs & hence saves time & takes away loads of people who transfer between local trains to reach CBDs of Andheri-Powai.

4) Above all, people have been used to daily commutes by trains from almost a century in Mumbai, unlike other cities.

Once promotional fares are removed, the initial mad rush will subside & the correct travel levels will become known better, but it is expected to be reasonably high due to interchange facilities & better access to CBDs despite the high fares.

Have private parties started at least a single intra-city AC service in any one of the other cities like Kochi or Mangalore where they have been operating for decades now? In fact, they had KSRTC's AC bus service stopped in Mangalore, but the service has been restored now due to public outrage.

It is pure day-dreaming to think that private operators will run AC services when they can't win public support for regular services with their high handedness & manipulation, not to mention unionism & threatening traffic police.

murali772's picture

Kerala HC suggests KSRTC be corporatised

up
105 users have liked.

The government should consider making the state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation a company with private participation, the High Court has observed. The government cannot run the loss-making PSU on subsidies for long. The issues wont be resolved even if the KSRTC is wound down and hence the effort should be to make it profitable, it said.

For the full text of the report in ManoramaOnline, click here. The New Indian Express report is accessible here.

Well, the logic applies to Karnataka SRTC, as also BMTC (and most state run service providers), going by the fact that they too are in the same boat (read my post of 22nd April, scrolling above). However, corporatisation can only be a part of the answer. What is needed is effective competition, duly overseen by a properly empowered regulatory body, quite like in airline services.

What is most surprising is that it requires the court to show the people the way forward, even as the logic of it all stares you in the face.

Will the Civil Society wake up atleast now?

Muralidhar Rao
Sanjeev's picture

Two issues on the PSU making losses and inefficient

up
92 users have liked.

Any Govt PSU either of state or Center is to follow the govt rules,  I am not talking of free hand.

1. Govt rules on schemes like student passes, police passes,  curent and ex poliician passes, senior citizen passes & many more have put these transport corporations under tremendous pressure

2. On recuritment,  job reservation to meet social obligation is not helping them with competitive manpower.

3. As usual inefficiency in state run transport corporations in running business are bleeding them.

Even if we make them on PPP,  some one has to pay for the above.

Take a case of Airport, who pays for  terminal charges for VIP movement, its airpasengers.  Only saving grace is,  PPP partners are able to maintaina nd run the show with heavy govt subsidy thru HAL closing,  1000 Crore interest free loan,  4000 Acres of and at throw away price,  after 30 years further extendeable for 30 years,  PPP parter can continue without competing with others

murali772's picture

failure is of the government

up
91 users have liked.

@ Sanjeev - All these years when airports were under IAAI, it too enjoyed the monopoly status, and in fact a lot more. For all of that, the airports run by it were perhaps a shade better than bus stands. They could barely meet the needs of those times, leave alone the much higher demands following the opening up of the economy.

PPP has made a world of difference here. And, all the distortions that have pointed out, have resulted out of the government not playing its key role as the regulator diligently. The blame is plainly on the government.

In the Telecom sector too, if the MMS government had not allowed an A Raja to ride roughshod over the TRAI, the services available to all of us would have been a lot better and cheaper too. But, even with all of that, we are better of than most of the rest of the world, including many of the advanced countries. So, would you still say that, since the opening up the sector allowed the A Raja's to make huge money, it shouldn't have happened? Do you think we could have come anywhere close to our present levels depending on the government-run monopolies?

Yes, you are right about the points listed at 1,2,3. And, there are more to them too. But, providing for all of them will lead to serious compromise on quality, and thereby the cost-effectiveness of the services. There's a broad realisation of that, and that's where the private sector comes in.

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

There is a need to end BMTC's

up
86 users have liked.

There is a need to end BMTC's monoploy over Bangalore's transportation needs. It does not matter if it comes via Taxis, Trains or Private Bus Operators.

murali772's picture

from a few lakhs to Rs 69 cr now; and is it going to work?

up
84 users have liked.
Sumalatha P, an HR professional working on Lavelle Road, recounts her commuting woes during peak hours. "Two or three buses running on the same route come and go in quick succession. If you have missed them, you are doomed. For the next bus comes only after 20 minutes. And even when it comes, the driver halts way beyond or before the actual stop. Once inside the bus, if you don't tender exact ticket fare, the conductor will most likely not return the change," she says.
 
Sounds familiar? The BMTC now plans to change all that uncertainty with ITS, intelligent transport system, a project that will streamline bus transport system and ease commuting woes. ITS is expected to be in place anytime post-Independence Day.
 
- - - To start with, 236 buses running out of the Yelahanka depot will be brought under ITS. - - - The software that BMTC wanted was not easily available in the market and had to be written down for the first time by their IT consultant Trimax, added Pushkar (director, technology, BMTC). - - - - Mysore was the first city to have ITS, implemented by KSRTC in September 2012. It started with just 105 buses and is now in place for all 380-odd buses. 
 
For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here
 
A Praja member compiled this report on the Mysore ITS service, from a reading of which, one didn't get an impression that it had made much of a difference to the commuter, for the Rs 15 cr odd that had gone into it. Apparently, BMTC too was not quite impressed with it, and that's why it went shopping for better software, encompassing greater functions, eventually landing up with Trimax, for an overall Rs 69 cr. 
 
Well, whether it's "Yelli Iddira?", which was offered for a few lakhs, after successful trials (check this), way back in 2007, or the system set up by CMC for KSRTC in Mysore for around Rs 15 cr odd, or the new Rs 69 cr system set up by Trimax, they can only be as good as the way they are worked, which is where the problem lies, given the work culture in these government monopolies. Had the operations been in the hands of competent private players, they would have grabbed the "Yelli Iddira?" service, and built on it to make the services both commuter friendly, as well as cost-effective. 
 
In the hands of monopoly government set-ups, all of these are largely tools for lining a few select pockets, and greed begets greed and contracts get bigger and bigger - not too different from the TTMCs put to similar use by the earlier regime, about which even insiders are beginning to talk openly - check my post of 7th May, scrolling above. 
 
Is it any surprise then that the fares have to keep shooting up? 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

city's sustainability in question

up
89 users have liked.
@ MaheshK - responding to your "nah" comment made here
 
By that, I presume you don't agree (that BMTC's monopoly is at the epicentre of all the problems related to mobility in the city, as I do). But, I doubt if you, or anyone else for that matter, believes that BMTC can gear itself up to meet the current needs, leave alone the growing challenges of the future. 
 
So, then what's your solution? Or, is it that you don't believe that the bus is much of a critical component, and the city can manage its mobility needs through various other options like car pooling, etc? My submission is that a city that does not have efficient bus services (the work horse of public transport), is an aam-aadmi (not the party) unfriendly city, and thereby its sustainability itself is in question. And, by brushing aside a possible solution with a "nah", the citizens are only contributing to accelerating the process.
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

towards smartening cities

up
86 users have liked.
Reproduced below are excerpts from a report in The Telegraph (in Italics - for the full text, click here), and my comments thereof:
 
Citing ITDP’s feasibility study, the regional director highlighted that private cars comprise only 3 per cent of total travel pattern in Ranchi every day. Auto-rickshaws stand at 40 per cent, two-wheelers at 20 per cent, cycles at 11 per cent, rickshaws at 3 per cent and buses at one per cent. The rest 22 per cent travel on foot.
 
“If you see the pattern, we have never really encouraged buses here while autos remain the transport lifeline. That is where the administration has failed. If you dig up records on government spending, you’ll see that not even one per cent has been spent on buses. In contrast, the government wants to invest several crores on flyovers and monorail,” she said, adding, “We suggest a little over 1,000 mini-buses for Ranchi, which automatically will easy rush.”
 
But where is the space? Won’t roads choke?
 
Ranchi has over 10,000 autos, the major cause of traffic snarls. We recommend 10 per cent buses, which will offer multiple benefits, by cutting down on the three-wheeler. As far as livelihood of those associated with autos is concerned, make them stakeholders in the bus service in the form of managers, drivers and conductors. For this, a sort of joint venture or an SPV will be needed. It is very doable when every major city across the globe is focussing on public transport,” Gadepalli said.
 
Very well said so far. It more or less sums up the scenario in most cities as of now. Even cities like Bengaluru, served by government monopoly service providers, are headed quite the same way, going by the report cited in my post of 22nd April, accessible by scrolling up.
 
In a final takeaway, the senior ITDP official opposed privatisation of buses. “Outsourcing in toto will backfire on public transport. Reason: the government would then end up becoming only a licensing authority while the private player will focus solely on profit. It will decide timing and routes of buses based on profit. In this race for more money, buses may become a serial killer like in Delhi. So, in a nutshell, it is very necessary for the government to acknowledge public transport as public service,” she signed off.
 
Even total privatisation, through franchising to limited number of professional players sector-wise (to prevent unhealthy competition), providing for just an upper limit for fares, going by the logic in the statement "father used to walk 20 minutes to save Rs 20 - son spends Rs 20 to save 20 minutes", could work out well. After all, the private players are there to make money, and that can come only through making ridership more and more attractive.
 
The problem arises if you want to look at it as a "public service". Then, power supply, water supply, PDS, education, healthcare, and everything else too gets added on, and you have the mess of the present. A viable way out for the government then may be to credit whatever subsidy it wants to afford, for each of these services, directly into their bank accounts of those identified as eligible, through Aadhaar, even in advance, so that they in turn pay up the charges upfront, and the services don't fall apart. 
 
Perhaps the drive by the centre to make cities smarter will finally get people thinking along such solutions. Interesting days ahead.
 
 
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

It is high time the monopoly

up
86 users have liked.

It is high time the monopoly of Karnataka State Government's behemoth BMTC was ended and private players were allowed.

A BRTS on NICE Road could be the start to this.

murali772's picture

neither serving the aam aadmi nor the khaas

up
77 users have liked.
The BMTC has time and again said that it was introducing the services to woo techies and others to travel in their buses so that there is decongestion of roads. However, the techies are now petitioning the BMTC to increase the number of ordinary services as Volvo buses are 'too expensive'. 
 
For the full text of the report in the Bangalore Mirror, click here.
 
So, in essence, BMTC is serving neither the aam aadmi nor the khaas aadmi. Quite like most PSU's it today exists mostly for the mafia confederation of  neta's, officials, and unionists.
 
Muralidhar Rao
abidpqa's picture

Private buses are running in

up
75 users have liked.

Private buses are running in many routes, that is mostly profitable routes in Bangalore. The traffic jam near KR Puram railway station in the evening is caused by private buses stopping in the narrower road in front of railway station.  There are at least 5 policmen controlling traffic in front of KR puram station. They only control the traffic going towards Hebbal. Real mystery! An example of behavior of private buses, now in the backyard. Doubt whether they providing service or trying to stop whatever services that are available.

The plan proposed seems to be giving monopoly to one private player in one route. That is like we have to make laws because private players cannot change their ways.  The prequisite for privatisation is good law and order situation.

 

amithpallavoor's picture

Most people in India seem to

up
92 users have liked.

Most people in India seem to be judgemental about corporates. I completely agree with Mr. Muralidhar Rao because of the following reasons:

(1) BMTC is indulging in state capitalism, which is worse than crony capitalism
(2) They run buses only on profitable routes 
(3) BMTC has become an inefficient and corrupt public sector behemoth
(4) Any enterprise could make profits if the enterprise has a monopoly in that sector.
(5) BMTC exists for profits and not for service
(6) Allowing private players through a change in legislation, will solve a lot of problems, which currently exist. Most of the players who offer private services are travel agencies, which are run by politicians or rowdy sheeters. This is the class, which has total disregard for rules and regulations.

Allowing private players with the presence of a regulatory body comprising of members from general public could solve a lot of issues.

 

 

 

murali772's picture

But, how will it work without efficient bus services?

up
81 users have liked.
In a city like Bangalore, where greater personal wealth allows people to afford private vehicles, they have very little incentive to use public transport. Another major reason for people shunning public transport is absence of walkable and continuous footpaths. Only way we can encourage people to use public transport and thus reduce traffic congestion is to provide high quality, safe and continuous footpaths and other pedestrian-friendly amenities such as bus bays, shelters and street lights. This is why we in BBMP TAC designed and approved TenderSure Roads.
 
CBDs are the best places to encourage pedestrian movement and public transport as has been done across the world. London reduced road width to encourage pedestrian movement and public transport and so did Singapore and Tokyo. People living or working in CBD usually move around with a radius of 1-2 kilometers and will be willing to walk or take public transport if they have safe and walkable footpaths and that will reduce the traffic congestion.
 
Not only Bangalore's main CBD, TenderSure should be extended to all local area CBDs of Indiranagar, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Whitefield, Malleswaram, Yelahanka and all other major live-work-play localities and suburbs of Bangalore. This is the only way to reduce traffic on Bangalore roads.
 
Bangalore is a mega city and needs to use the best global practices and expert advice in managing its traffic vows. Traffic management is a science and can't be managed by just using bureaucratic common sense.
 
For the full text of the report quoting Mr R K Misra (BBMP TAC member, and Director, Center for SMART Cities), and others, in the Bangalore Mirror, click here
 
Very well argued, Mr Misra. But, can you depend on the government monopoly, BMTC, which is not accountable to BBMP (least of all your TAC), and cannot hope to be in the near future either, inspite of the provisions of the 73rd amendment, for the much needed efficient bus services, which forms the key component of public transport? A truthful answer you will admit is a NO. So, is there an option other than what I have stated in the opening post in this blog?
 
As for Mr M Lakshminarayana (BBMP Commissioner), and Mr Basaraj Kabade (BBMP's technical engineering cell's executive engineer), it is surprising (to say the least) that they still seem to be in the times when Henry Ford started mass manufacture of cars, and was looking to expand its market. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Ending Monopoly by allowing Private Monorail / LRT / Metro opera

up
87 users have liked.

Private buses are any day dangerous whatever extent they might be regulated. Mumbai considered Monorail built by L&T Scomi Partnership in 2008 and it is already operational. Bangalore also considered the same, a proposal by Scomi was posted in Praja, during the same time, but it did not proceed anywhere.

Private partnership Monorail / LRT / Metro would not only end monopoly, but also can 'bypass traffic' and provide more comfortable, lot faster, environmental friendly and efficient transport. Key stake holders in IDD should take steps as faster as possible like MMRDA of Mumbai. It 

Private buses on BRT stretch is also not risky. GoK is not heading anywhere in this direction.

vmenon's picture

TAC...is not gospel truth

up
83 users have liked.

Other things TAC is famous for..

Signal free corridors, flyovers underpasses which have no earthly function except spends.

( But must also admit that its the same TAC ..or with different members..who have stopped crazy road projects once presented  with data , facts, alternatives and a bit of muscle flexing!!)

The biggest problem with outfits like TAC is the cozy realtionships within and their inherent opaquenss ..

Every flyover, underpass , road widening excercise, by defintiion of the KTCP act , is a town improvement scheme , which needs ciriuzen consultation before execution ,Try telling a TAC member that.

 

As far as tender sure is concerned , it has the same issue of opaqueness in deciosn making.Having said that on paper , they look like great improvements over current road design , but with one severe lacunae.

The capture of run off water and the need for city wide rain water harvesting ( as separate from individual buildings harvesting), has been given lip service by Tendersure and TAC.

BBMP engineers were crying for deep and effective sink holes every say 50 metres or so, but tendersure proponents have pooh poohed this and pushed through.

What we have now ( i believe)as a design are some shallow pipes going into the ground  at  some intervals,and a little bird told me that these will get blocked in the first rains and since tender sure roads are a kind of sealed off at tegh surface  ..that' s the end to water percolation.

 

It is a serious issue.... water , water percolation and city wide rain water harvesting..a little more importanat than trafffic and even pedestrian movement.

but the point is, if the discussion was in the public domain , then perhaps this would have come up from citizenry who are focussed on this aspect and then a solution found. 

 

On the main topic of privartisation of bus  transport ..no commnets a sof now.!! 

 

vmenon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

amithpallavoor's picture

RWH has become a big racket

up
86 users have liked.

RWH has become a big racket in Bangalore with hundreds of fly by night operators offering these services.

Some of them have offered to recharge dead borewells and have let rain water into these borewells, without actually filtering or storing it properly. 

I have spoken about it on my blog. 

 

 

 

 

murali772's picture

even if I have to repeat myself - - -

up
97 users have liked.
@ Abidpqa, Vasanth
 
private buses stopping in the narrower road in front of railway station - - - - An example of behavior of private buses, now in the backyard - - - - The plan proposed seems to be giving monopoly to one private player in one route. That is like we have to make laws because private players cannot change their ways.  The prequisite for privatisation is good law and order situation.
 
Private buses are any day dangerous whatever extent they might be regulated.
 
All of such talk pertain largely to what I have termed the "riff-raff sector", who alone can carry on the operations under the highly restrictive provisions of the Contract Carriage Act. In my opening post, under this blog itself, I have highlighted this by saying - 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. Any number of times thereafter too, I had stated as much, and I am sure you have read all of them. But, for all of that, if you still want to continue with your kind of talk, may be you would like to figure out where you fit in this listing. 
 
@ Vasanth - On BRT, my view (that it is an unsatisfactory substitute), as stated here, remains unchanged. I shall refrain from elaborating further. However, bus remains the most cost effectve, and versatile means for public transport - efficient operations is what is lacking. Monorail, LRT, etc have limited applications, if at all. 
 
@ vmenon
 
On the main topic of privartisation of bus  transport ..no commnets as of now.!! 
 
In the course of an exchange a few months back, you had stated that you agreed with my point of view. So, why the reluctance to speaking up now now? Don't tell me now that the earlier exchange was over beer, and therefore doesn't count :))). 
 
Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

BRTS View Unchanged - ?

up
80 users have liked.

@Murali Sir, there is a saying 'Rathri Ramayana Keli Beligge Ramanige Site Yenu Agabeku?' in Kannada. I am remembering that proverb about your view on BRTS despite of so much discussion.  I am again challenging you, if privatization of buses can cross BTM stretch of 2kms in 10 mins, I am game to support privatization.

I bet if BRTS is implemented, it can.

amithpallavoor's picture

If I ain't wrong, the Tatas

up
77 users have liked.

If I ain't wrong, the Tatas run a BRTS in some part of the world.

murali772's picture

BRT as a viable solution is another myth

up
93 users have liked.
@ Vasanth - Ramayana is supposed to be 'myth'ology (even if BJP wants us to believe otherwise). Likewise, BRT as the right solution for good public bus transport services, in my opinion, is also a myth.
 
I am going largely by the comments of the people whose opinion I value, a lot of which is accessible here.
 
@ Amith - I am not aware of TATA's operating a BRTS anywhere, let alone bus services (except perhaps in their Jamshedpur township). 
 
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

@ Muralidhar Rao   I am sure

up
80 users have liked.

@ Muralidhar Rao
 

I am sure they are quite capable of running BRTS forget basic services. 

I remember having read somewhere that they were planning on a BRTS in some part of the globe. 

This was not in India.

 

 

Vasanth's picture

Re: BRT AS A VIABLE SOLUTION IS ANOTHER MYTH

up
82 users have liked.

@Murali Sir, there is one user gentem in SSC who opposes Commuter Rail like anything and gives reasons such as commuter rail will lead to slums in the city :) What is the reason you think that this is a myth?  Anything you stated earlier and the links provided by you nowhere justifies that.

I discuss such things in my office shuttle as well as in office, most of us think right of the way for public transport is absolutely needed with the current growth rate of vehicles irrespective of BMTC / Private buses.

Only opposition comes by extensive car users who calls such idea as 'ridiculous'. Building a Metro takes decades as we have seen ourselves. Solution in hand such as 'commuter rail' and 'BRTS'  or atleast BPS are the only viable sustainable alternatives. Commuter rail within the city is not possible. But we do have wide one way roads which are 'fully' occupied by vehicles all over irrespective of frequent widening programs. Such widening have reduced the lenght of the jams and increased the width. But over time,due to increasing population, lenght is also increasing.

Moving of people is more important than vehicles as we all know. This is only possible with right of the way.

Worldwide including USA  is going with BRTS. Some media houses give it negative publicity with short sightedness without considering the benefits as their editor / reporter might get irritated while travellng on their car/bike. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

amithpallavoor's picture

The irrational man Gentem is

up
77 users have liked.

The irrational man Gentem is getting unecessary pubicity.  It remains to be seen if it would be feasible on Bangalore's roads.

The lone exception should be NICE Road where a BRTS can be easily implemented. 

 

 

 

MaheshK's picture

Article in today DH on KSRTC

up
82 users have liked.

 “Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and other state-run road transport corporations (BMTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC) in Karnataka will face tough competition from private bus operators if the Centre goes ahead with proposal to permit private owners to operate buses on all routes in entire country without any restriction”

Full article in today DH

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/438388/ksrtc-may-lose-monopoly-state.html

This is good news for the public in small towns and villages where connectivity is a headache.

Coming back to the public vs private issue, let both stay and compete for the passengers. Let the public decide what they want to use. Just because someone does not like govt buses does not mean that they have to be reduced (in the name of monopoly). It’s the people’s choice not an individual who has preconceived notions about govt buses.

amithpallavoor's picture

I had recently written an

up
73 users have liked.

I had recently written an article on the lack of late night transport options in Bangalore. I had taken a lot of inputs from Muraliidhar  Rao.

For starters, the late night options can be imrpoved upon by letting private players enter this segment.

 

murali772's picture

shape up or ship out

up
75 users have liked.
Excerpts from the same DH report cited by MaheshK (full text here):
 
Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy opposed the proposed bill when it was placed before the National Road Safety Council and Transport Development Council meeting chaired by Union Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari here on Tuesday. 
 
Before allowing to set up the Road Safety Authority and allowing private bus operators to ply buses on nationalised routes, the Centre must take steps to protect the interest of state road transport corporations, Reddy said
 
Even Tamil Nadu and Kerala Transport Ministers also expressed a similar view. However, Gadkari said he will go head with the bill and it will be introduced in winter session of Parliament.
 
Claiming that the road transport corporations in Karnataka were providing efficient services in remotest places of the State, Reddy said that out of the 55 state transport corporations in the country only those of Karnataka, Bangalore and Maharashtra were making profit.
 
With over 1.5 lakh employees working in Karnataka state road transport undertakings that have a fleet of more than 25,000 buses, the Centre must take steps to protect interest of the undertakings, Reddy said.
 
Mr Ramalinga Reddy should understand that his primary duty is to the travelling public, and not to the SRTC's. There is already a huge demand, and it's growing exponentially. The SRTC's by themselves are unable to, and cannot ever hope to gear themselves up to, meet it, either in terms of quality or quantity. And, the organised private sector in the country is just waiting to fill in the gap, and make a world of difference to the sector, like it did in the case of airlines services. If the SRTC's can gear themselves up to face the competition, well and good, for all concerned. If not, nobody is going to shed a tear for them.
 
The way Air-India and BSNL have been performing after competition set in the respective sectors, today nobody is too bothered if they close down. In fact, the greater worry is the huge drain they are proving on the tax payers' money. The same fate awaits the SRTC's if they can't shape up. 
 
Mr Ramalinga Reddy doesn't appear to have realised that the times have changed. The following excerpts from a survey published in the ToI (full text here), should perhaps alert him to the changed mood of the public:
 
The survey gives thumbs down to the five ministers representing Bangalore. Transport minister B Ramalinga Reddy, who is in charge of the city, has secured the lowest score of 3.96 among them. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

Ramalinga Reddy has been an

up
87 users have liked.

Ramalinga Reddy has been an overrated politician for long. 

murali772's picture

GoK in reverse gear

up
79 users have liked.
Even as the GoI is intent on opening up the sector, GoK on the other hand appears intent on killing even the little competition it faces from "Bendre Nagara Saarige", going by this notification, in today's ToI.
 
Muralidhar Rao
MaheshK's picture

Need prompt enforcement

up
79 users have liked.

Many private operators bring used buses from other states at a low cost and operate in Karnataka. This has been going on for a long time. Even the diesel they use is mixed with Kerosene. The ultimate goal is the profit irrespective of other things such as safety and pollution.

Most of us in the city do not have any idea about Tier II/ III cities and villages in the state. One needs to go there and experience the private bus operations. I have been told by the a private bus conductor that when the drivers don’t show up to work, others who know how to drive autorickshaw / tractors are employed to drive private buses. Now we know why frequent accidents take place.  

Both KA and TN are opposing the central govt proposal. There is lot of money involved when new buses are purchased. You can figure out the rest.   

IMO, the need is for both to operate with regulations enforced promptly. This is the problem in our country. When you read the road safety bill and the penalties, this will lead to more corruption. Going to court for jail sentence? Takes more than a decade.    

murali772's picture

reason lies elsewhere

up
90 users have liked.
@ MaheshK - When the law does not allow for good people to come into the picture, even as a huge demand exists and the government monopoly operators cannot meet it by themselves, isn't it inevitable that the riff-raff lot will come in to fill the gap?
 
If you still don't get it inspite of my repeating it a million times, perhaps you too need to look at where you fit into this listing
 
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

http://bangalore.citizenm...

up
94 users have liked.

http://bangalore.citizenm...

 

Late night bus service by private players?

Muralidhar Rao, founder of Praja-RAAG opines that reputed private players need to be encouraged to enter the intra-city bus city transport in Bangalore. He argues that issues such as women safety, reliability of services, passenger comfort and accidents could be addressed by a regulatory body, which could comprise members of civil society and not bureaucrats alone.

In Rao's words, "Since BMTC is reluctant to run late night services, private players should be allowed to enter this space. BMTC charges quite heavily for its services, but it is still struggling to make profits. It does speak volumes about its inefficiency. Allow private players to enter this space and make profits. At least the quality of service shall improve and it shall help reduce the congestion on Bangalore’s roads.”

Advocates of private entry into transport say that private players should be allowed to use BMTC’s facilities upon the payment of monthly charges to BMTC, which would become an additional source of revenue for BMTC. However, only a proper regulatory mechanism by a competent authority with members from civil society can ensure required quality in the services.

 
MaheshK's picture

People's choice

up
80 users have liked.

Who said private sector is bad or a dirty word? People have a choice to decide how they have to travel long distance by govt or private bus.

Few days back RTO caught five private buses, 3 VRL, 1 SRS and 1 Sugama, for carrying cargo against the rules dictated by the supreme court.   

murali772's picture

where's the choice?

up
81 users have liked.
@ MaheshK
 
People have a choice to decide how they have to travel long distance by govt or private bus.
 
Strictly speaking, they don't have a choice. The Contract Carriage Act, as per which private bus operators are licenced (except in a few select districts like Udupi, Mangalore, etc), do not allow for operations in the normal way it is understood. The inspectors can clamp down on them any time they choose, and make lives miserable for operators as well as passengers. 
 
Few days back RTO caught five private buses, 3 VRL, 1 SRS and 1 Sugama, for carrying cargo against the rules dictated by the supreme court.   
 
I don't know what Supreme Court order is being referred to here. Besides, when KSRTC, and Indian Railways can operate parcel services, why shouldn't the private operators be allowed to run parcel services too? If there is some law against it, it is as bad as the Contract Carriage Act, and plainly needs to be repealed.
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Is it happening finally?

up
72 users have liked.
Following (in italics) are the excerpts from a report on the subject from Bangalore Mirror, and my responses to them (in normal font). For the full text of the report, click here.
 
In spite 'of over 20 years of economic liberalisation in India, city bus transport services across the country have been kept out of it and have remained a public sector monopoly. Now, it could upend following a proposed move by the Centre to allow private players onto city roads. - - - -The draft bill has mooted repealing of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 and setting up of a National Transport Authority which would be vested with powers to permit private operators to ply buses in all areas of the country without any restrictions. In effect, all state transport authorities will be either wound up or report to the national authority.
 
One would like to believe it's actually happening. 
 
Whether private players make a go for it or not, the Siddaramaiah-led state government want to guard its turf; otherwise, they might as well forget the Rs 4,200-cr revenue that state transport ministry rakes in annually.
 
This refers to vehicle taxes. The charge is a bogey. There will of course be a mechanism to disburse the accruals equitably to the states
 
- - - - In Bengaluru, where 50 lakh people use the 6,685 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses (which do 79,469 trips) every day, the Karnataka government has objected to the move on the ground that it is detrimental to the survival of the state-run transport corporations.
 
If they can't compete effectively, they may as well close down
 
- - - - It is not prudent to allow private players as they are more profit-oriented," Karnataka transport minister, R Ramalinga Reddy, told Bangalore Mirror. 
 
That's in fact a charge against BMTC too.
 
- - - - BMTC, which was established in 1997, is one of the largest state-run transport corporations in the country with 36,146 personnel.
 
A sizable section of them have been retained as temporary, and for decades together - check this
 
- - - - Over the years, the company has augmented its fleet by adding Volvo air-conditioned buses and ramped up its infrastructure by adding 40 bus depots and 52 major bus stops. Reddy said, "We submitted our strong opposition to allowing private operators as we have invested massively on infrastructure like bus stops, TTMCs, fleet and a huge workforce. BMTC and KSRTC have been operating for the benefit of the public and not for profit."
 
In fact, what needs to happen is for the state government to float an SPV, transfer all the fixed infrastructural assets to it, and allow their usage by the transport operators (private and government) against levy of user charges, quite like airports. The SPV operations can be outsourced to a professional agency. 
 
- - -  Allowing private operators will trigger huge competition, it may even force the BMTC to operate buses on the same lines as private operators to earn more revenue and only on high-passenger density routes."
 
On the other hand, if all the artificialities are removed, you'll have excellent services catering to all kinds and classes of needs - check here for more
 
- - -  After the central government allowed private operators in telecommunications and aviation, we have seen drastic changes, both negative and positive."
 
Largely positive.
 
- - -  "The bigger question," the official said, "is will Bangalore's road infrastructure be in a position to accommodate a thousand more buses in the future?" 
 
With more reliable bus services, car usage, particularly for commuting, will reduce considerably, providing the room for operation of more buses. Simultaneously, car usage can be disincentivised, and auto's phased out - check this.
 
- - - - Reddy said the draft bill is "opposed to public interest and against Constitutional provisions."
 
It is very much in public interest; but against vested interests. As such, the Constitution can be amended, if needed. 
 
Well, through passing of this bill, the centre will be facilitating the entry of organised sector private players into the field, which has been the long felt need in this vital infrastructural area. But, the transport sector mafia confederations, led by the neta's (both present and past, perhaps jointly) are going to be doing everything to block it. 
 
The bigwigs of the so-called new-age political parties will perhaps endorse it, but strictly within the confines of the seminar halls, supposedly to remain "politically correct", as they perceive things. But, what is happening in the process is that they are getting themselves equated to the Congress, particularly by the newly franchised youth of the country, who unlike the oldies are generally not burdened with any pseudo-Socialist baggage, leading to the parties' continued lacklustre performances at the hustings. One wonders if they will ever realise that, in today's world, political correctness and overall correctness are one and the same. 
 
It's to the credit of the BJP, at the centre, that they have taken a bold decision. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the Bus-For-Sure parallel

up
74 users have liked.
The Karnataka government has set a standard fare of Rs 19.50 per km for radio taxis, but Ola, Uber and TaxiForSure are offering rock-bottom fares, subsidizing customers with the tonnes of funding they have received," said L Radhakrishna Holla, general secretary of BTTOA, which runs 45,000 cabs in the city. But Raghunandhan G, cofounder of TaxiForSure, countered, saying Rs 19.50 per km was only a ceiling, and an all-India permit did not restrict point-to-point city services. - - - - Pranay Jivrajka, VP (operations) at Ola, said the company was able to achieve high economies of scale through cutting-edge technology, and that was what resulted in better fares for customers and increased revenue for drivers. - - - Raghunandhan noted that the total cost of running a cab - including fuel, and wear and tear - was Rs 3.50 per km. The rest of it is the driver salary and the operator's commission. Also, given the ease with which cabs can now be booked through mobile phones, the number of trips a cab does in a day has sharply increased. That significantly reduces the time that a cab remains empty, and increases the cab's earnings. Reacting to the taxi union protests, Raghunandhan said, "They should come and join us. They understand vehicles and how to manage drivers, while we underst and the technology and customer acquisition."
 
For the full text of the report of the tussle between the new-age taxi operators on the one side, and the traditional taxi operators and auto (three-wheeler) unions on the other,  in the ToI, click here
 
There's a clear parallel here as to what can happen if organised private players, quite like Ola, Uber, TaxiForSure, come into the picture in bus services, with perhaps the "commute facilitation managers" of IT companies (check at B in this report) heading the action on the ground. The entire sector will get transformed within months, and with it, the quality of life, and even the economy as a whole.
 
It is staring us all in the face - only, people need to open their eyes to see it. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
zenx's picture

Optimizations? Nope - funding :)

up
66 users have liked.

I'm pretty sure the cut-throat pricing is coming from funding - the correlation between funding rounds raised and price wars is just too obvious.

Having said that - yes BMTC fares have gone berserk. And we truly need tech to solve the predictability and ease of catching a bus. I have an idea around this I'm happy to share with anyone willing to create/push it with the BMTC.

- Sameer, Bangalore

http://linger.in

murali772's picture

do, give it a shot

up
73 users have liked.

@ Zenx - Funding agencies do their due diligence, and back a project only if they see good potential in it. And, that's true not just of cab services, but of every business, including bus services. 

As for ideas for BMTC to improve their services, there are plenty that people have given, including the "Yelli Iddira?" service I had got operating for them. Some proactive chiefs further them to some extent. But, sooner or later, they move out, and the mafia confederation operating within, re-asserts itself, and the process slows down, or, worse still, gets reversed.
 
I have seen enough to want to make any more suggestions. And, that's why I am of the belief that only competition can make any difference. But, don't take my word for it - try all you want.
 
Muralidhar Rao
zenx's picture

First, the goals.

up
65 users have liked.

Venture Capitalists, by and large, are looking at the valuation of these companies and those come from market share at this point in their game, and not necessarily profitability and viability. It's a very different thing from traditional funding, and is keeping these artificial fare wars going.

In a broad sense, I agree that competition is good. But that cannot be applied to public services without a propert frameowrk of goals and ends arrived at in the first place. BMTCs current P&L thinking goes against the idea of first providing a useful public service that not only helps the commuters, but the whole city! That goal setting is first needed - within that various methods - including a role for private players - will then make sense. Trying even good things towards the wrong ends will only make it worse.

- Sameer, Bangalore

http://linger.in

amithpallavoor's picture

VC and Private Equity players

up
76 users have liked.

VC and Private Equity players are mostly looking at getting their ROI through superior valuations. As Sameer pointed out a lot of this has to come from Market Share which, in turn is influenced a lot by Brand and not necessarily by profits and margins alone.

Public Sector behemoths like BMTC, which thrive on artificial market conditions such as monopoly really have had no need to build a brand and garner more market share. The total available market in this situation is the total commuter population of Bangalore and nearby commuter towns. What percentage of this market does BMTC serve? BMTC has no clue on this neither do the city's administrators.

Chennai's adminstrators have a clear goal of reduding the dependence on private transport to 27% in the next three to four years. It is a different matter, that there shall be some motorists who shall refuse to use public transport despite the adminstration's best efforts.

 

 

 

murali772's picture

the mother of all artificialities has to go first

up
74 users have liked.
@ Zenx - undoubtedly, every game has to have its rules, and so does public bus transport services, as much as the cab services. The VC funding is within the rules of the game, as existing, and, as such, if there are artificialities, they will soon end, with those finding the competition too hot, backing out. It is not as if that will result in monopolies.
 
We have seen this happening repeatedly in even as competitive and capital intensive a sector as airlines services, with Air-Asia, Indigo, etc coming in and performing well, even as many others led by Air-India, finding the going difficult, and quite a few, like Damania, NEPC, Kingfisher, Air Deccan etc closing down too. 
 
I am not recommending a similar model for bus services, though I don't see where it can be faulted, either. Perhaps, it calls for a more robust regulatory framework than the type, under DGCA, for airlines services.
 
In fact, many models have already been discussed by Prajagalu in the past. Amongst the lot, I would root for this (or, its improvements/ modifications), to begin with. These can evolve thereafter based on learnings on the ground, as we move forward. Whatever, the most urgent need is for the current mother of artificialities, in which BMTC operates as the judge, jury and the executioner, to go. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

overall public interest

up
65 users have liked.
The National Federation of Indian Transport Workers has planned a nationwide demonstration on Friday against the draft Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014. The federation has said the proposed Bill will sound the death knell for State transport undertakings (STUs). - - - The proposed Bill, if enacted, would wipe out State transport undertakings and result in the monopoly of the private sector. Not only the industry would be hit, the public too would severely be affected by this move, the federation claimed. 
 
For the full text of the report in The Hindu, click here.
 
The way the public sector STU's have been operating, their continuance, more specifically as monopolies, cannot ever be seen as in overall public interest, and, as such, if they are forced to close down because of their incapacity to face up to the competition resulting out of the opening up of the sector to private players, so be it. Not many are going to be shedding tears for them. 
 
Now, notwithstanding the unfortunate "Uber" incident in Delhi, the new-age cab services have brought about a kind of a revolution in public transport services, but at the higher end. Similar intelligent services, encompassing good connectivity, 24X7 operations, tracking through net and mobile, safety (yes, I'll reiterate that - for more elaboration, click here) and reliability, reasonable fare, etc, can happen in public bus transport services too, if and when reputed players are facilitated entry into the services, through dismantling of the existing licence-permit raaj, which has so far limited it to the DTC, Blueline, and the likes of Ponty Chaddha, in Delhi, and the BMTC monopoly (and clandestine maxi-cab operations) in Bengaluru. 
 
In fact, a Bangalore-based startup "YourBus", which was later acquired by"Ibibo", is already into this area from quite sometime back (check this). But, with the government utilities not quite willing to use their services, out of fear that it will lead to many of their rackets getting exposed, YourBus has managed to get on board with just about a handful of private operators. And since, being confined to long distance operations, where minute by minute progress of the bus is of not much consequence, unlike in a city, the operators don't see much use for it. Long before that, of course, there was the "Yelli-Iddira?" (check this). 
 
Instead of adopting all of these, where it doesn't cost the government (and thereby the tax payer) a sigle paisa, the monopoly government-owned city operators, have, in the name of intelligent services, been merrily blowing up hundreds of crores of tax payers' hard earned money (through JnNURM and such schemes) on all kinds of questionable pursuits like the KSRTC's Mysore ITS (check last but one para here), Hubli-Dharwar BRT (check here), Bengaluru's TTMC's (check here), and lot many more. 
 
The question that arises is how long is the Civil Society, which supposedly is the guardian of the honest tax payers' interests, going to be just standing by and looking the other way, even as the loot goes on, which besides is adversely affecting the quality of life of the citizen. 
 
Pursuant to the country-wide uproar, and the debates thereof, following the Nirbhaya incident, one had thought that the focus of the people, as also of the powers that be, had finally got drawn to the most critical aspect of the vital public bus transport services as being in the hands of the wrong kind of people (including the government mafia), and that the needed reforms will follow soon thereafter. Unfortunately, the only change that happened was the bringing in of the Ponty Chaddha types into the field, which only worsened matters. What we need, and very badly too, are the TVS's, TATA's, and Karnataka's own VRL, Sugama, etc, operating the services, all properly licensed, and competing with the existing government operators, even if on a slightly sloping field favoring the government operators.
 
Until that happens, the improvements, if they happen at all, will be just marginal. 
 

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

will have to wait for the M V Act modifications, I expect

up
53 users have liked.
The Supreme Court has asked the State government to reconsider its decision to allow private bus operators to run services on certain routes, including Mysuru, Bengaluru, BTS, Kanakapura and Ballari. A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra dismissed a batch of appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court order of 2011 quashing the government’s decision to allocate bus-plying facilities to private operators by modifying the Motor Vehicles Act.
 
Observing that modification of schemes by the State government could not be said to be in accordance with the principles of natural justice in the absence of reasons to conclude that private operators were meeting the genuine demands of the public in excess of service provided by STOs, hence, the Supreme Court said it could not be sustainable.
 
“Modification of the scheme is a quasi-judicial function while modifying or cancelling a scheme. The State government is duty-bound to consider objections and give reasons either to accept or reject them. The rule of reason is anti-thesis to arbitrariness in action and is a necessary concomitant of principles of natural justice,” the bench said.
 
The court asked the State government to consider within three months objections raised by the State transport authorities over grant of permit, its legality and the plea of discrimination made by some private operators over the change of the scheme and take a reasoned decision.
 
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation contended that the government modified the scheme at the behest of private operators. The corporation further said it was fully equipped to meet the additional demands from passengers as it had acquired modern fleet, constructed bus stops and even distributed free passes under various categories.
 
The Karnataka High Court had in 2011 quashed the orders modifying the scheme called Bellary and Kolar schemes and Bangalore and Kanakapura Plans all notified in 2003, Mysore, BTS scheme notified in 2007.
 
For the full text of the report in the Deccan Herald, click here.
 
The original move was by Sri S M Krishna, who chose to take on the STO mafia, by allowing for operation of regular bus services (termed "Stage Carriage services" in Transport Dept parlance - check here for more on that) by the private sector players, in cities other than Bangalore, upto a distance of 20 Km from the city centre, whereby "Bendre Nagara Saarige" came into existence in Hubli-Dharwad benefitting the people there greatly. But, subsequent governments revived their deals with the STO mafioso, and the scheme floundered, with Bendre Nagara Saarige alone managing to survive. Finally, to kill that, the government brought in "technology" in the form of BRT, which, apart from blowing up a lot of JnNURM funds, has landed up adding to the miseries of the citizens, than doing any good. 
 
Now, it is quite shocking how the court has come to the conclusion that "could not be said to be in accordance with the principles of natural justice in the absence of reasons to conclude that private operators were meeting the genuine demands of the public in excess of service provided by STOs". A reading of the opening post in this blog will in itself tell you enough to contradict that, and there's lot more in the debate thereon. Obviously, the case has not been argued well. Also, as compared to the claim "The corporation further said it was fully equipped to meet the additional demands from passengers as it had acquired modern fleet, constructed bus stops and even distributed free passes under various categories", the public of course knows a lot better. 
 
And, there's no question of the Transport Dept taking any "reasoned decision" with regard to the alleged discrimination in the grant of permits to private operators in the three months allowed by the court. One wonders if the private operator lot will approach the court again, thereon. 
 
Better would be for the "prayaanigaru" to start a PIL for dismantling of the government monopolies. Alternatively, once the Motor Vehicle Act gets modified to the same effect, expected to happen in the next session of Parliament, I suppose the private sector operators' case will get strengthened. It'll be interesting to see how things play out then.
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Girish Karnad's lament

up
68 users have liked.
Poor Bus Services Keep Crowds Away From Theatre, Says Karnad. - - “What’s killing theatre today is the state of our cities. We started Ranga Shankara and thought that Kannada theatre would do well, but people just refuse to come,” he said. And it’s not just the one-and-a-half hour journey to watch the play. “The hell begins after the play. People don’t have transport to get back; they have to fight with the auto drivers,” he observed.
 
For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.
 
It's not just theatre, Sir. Every aspect of life is affected by lack of efficient bus services. And the BMTC's monopoly is the root cause. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
pathykv's picture

Lament

up
69 users have liked.

Very true. I stopped going to Rama Navami festival at Chamarajpet due to lack of bus service after the concerts. And also given up most of my earlier activities mainly for this reason.

KV.Pathy

murali772's picture

New Transport Bill provides a ray of hope

up
47 users have liked.
In the latest version (draft) of the ROAD TRANSPORT AND SAFETY BILL 2015 (accessible here), under CHAPTER VII: PUBLIC PASSENGER TRANSPORT - definitions, terms like "Contract Carriage", "Stage Carriage", etc, don't quite figure at all. They seem replaced by terms like scheduled services, restricted scheduled services, metered services, restricted metered services, chartered services and restricted chartered services.
 
Further, para 147 denominating "Schemes by Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority" is reproduced below: 
1. The Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority shall design and frame schemes under the local passenger transport permit for the transportation of passengers and their goods by transport vehicles exclusively within the notified metropolitan area under its jurisdiction for the purposes of scheduled services, restricted scheduled services, metered services, restricted metered services, chartered services or restricted chartered services. Provided that the State Government and urban local bodies may submit for the consideration and approval of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority schemes under the local passenger transport permit for the transportation of passengers and their goods by transport vehicles exclusively within the notified metropolitan area under the jurisdiction of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority.
2. The Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority, the State Government and urban local bodies while designing and framing a scheme under a local passenger transport scheme shall also consider:
(a) the enhancement to the economic vitality of the area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency;
(b) the increase in the accessibility and mobility of people by integrated land use;
(c) the protection and enhancement of the environment, the promotion of energy conservation, improvement of the quality of life, and the promotion of consistency between transportation improvements;
(d) the enhancement to the multi-modal integration and connectivity of the transportation system for people by providing required infrastructure;
(e) the promotion of efficiency;
(f) the passenger transport performance targets that address the performance measures where applicable, to use in tracking progress towards attainment of critical outcomes for transportation of passengers and geographical region to be served under that scheme;
(g) the objectives under the national road transportation plan and the applicable state road transportation plans; and
(h) the rules and regulations issued under this Act
 
Schemes by State & National Transport Authority (Para's 143 & 145 resply) too, are worded identically. 
 
Besides, under para 148 (4), "Declaration of a Scheme by the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority", it states as below:
The scheme must outline:
(a) the services which are to be provided under specific permits;
(b) the passenger transport service operators who may participate in the scheme, including state transport undertakings, private operators, publicprivate partnerships; and
(c) the manner in which passenger transport service operators may be selected to participate in the scheme including by way of tender. 
 
Once again, the para's pertaining to Declarations of Schemes covered by State and Central authorities are very similarly worded. 
 
All in all, the bill appears to facilitate the entry of professional private players into the public bus transport services sector, which so far has largely been the monopoly domain of government players, and thereby the cause of all the maladies that afflict it. But, facilitation by the centre, through this new bill, is only 25% job done. Getting the state governments, which are in the grip of the respective transport mafia federations, is the more difficult job.
 
And, the even more difficult job is getting it past the pseudo-Socialists, whose essntial problem appears to be that the private players will make profits, even if it's after providing decent services, on a level playing field, all under the oversight of the regulatory authority.
 
How to get over these is the biggest challenge. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Welcome end to government monopoly in bus services

up
54 users have liked.
Bus services throughout the state will be hit on April 30 as a nationwide road transport strike is expected to hamper the functioning of KSRTC, BMTC and other transport utilities. Employees’ unions, which command the support of around 7.5 lakh workers, are protesting against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014, which they feel curtails the powers of state-owned transport companies while providing unfair advantages to private bus operators.
 
For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here
 
Indeed, it's time the powers of the state-owned transport companies are curtailed, and a level playing field made available to private bus operators. Public bus transport services are too vital an infrastructure area to remain constrained by the stranglehold of the state-owned transport companies. May God speed the total implementation of specifically these aspects of the bill.
 
To strengthen the government's hands, and counter the union's stance, I'll perhaps start an online petition.
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

fresh on-line petition addressed to Nitin Gadkari started

up
55 users have liked.

Fresh on-line petition addressed to Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Honourable Union Minister for Raod Transport & Highways, Govt of India, New Delhi, to push for early passage of Transport Bill, 2014, allowing for a level playing field for private players in public bus transport services, started - check here.

Request all Prajagalu, in overall agreement, to sign up.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

fatal combination of govt ownership and monopoly status

up
50 users have liked.

What's the worst situation you can land in for failing to produce your identity card? Surely, you won't imagine being locked up in a BMTC bus! But this is exactly what happened to a couple from Hesaraghatta, who had to spend a harrowing half an hour in confinement. The rogue conductor and driver who put the couple through the ordeal were arrested on Tuesday.

Though the duo was released on bail, the arrests resulted in widespread protests by BMTC staffers. The man and his wife are in% their 30s and work with private firms.

The incident happened on Monday morning, when the couple boarded the bus from Hesaraghatta to Yeshwantpur.

When they showed %their daily passes, the conductor, Shivaswamy, asked for their identity cards. While the woman produced hers, her husband reportedly failed to do so.

On Shivaswamy's insistence, he showed a copy of the ID on his mobile, which the former refused to accept. "There was a heated argument between the couple and the crew, including driver Muthanna. The conductor-driver duo insisted the couple talk to them only in Kannada, and not in English or Hindi. Other passengers also joined the argument," said a police officer.

- - - The agitating BMTC employees were pacified by Yeshwantpur police, prompting them to withdraw their flash protest.


For the full text of the reort in the ToI, clck here.

First, they misbehave with the customers, and thereafter, along-with their lot, they hold the entire city to ransom. And obviously, the police, who had to "pacify" the unionists to avert a flash strike, will, for the same reason, have eventually have to close the case too, without taking any serious action. That's "labour aristocracy" for you (for more on that, click here).

How can the city depend upon a BMTC, controlled by this mafia, apart from other factions of the overall mafia confederation, to provide the all important bus services, particularly when it is a monopoly besides?

This fatal combination of government ownership, monopoly status, particularly in key infrastructure areas, on top of the inflexible labour policy (for more on that, click here), is something that the country cannot afford any longer. It's time all the three are reviewed expeditiously.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

desperately need the Real McCoy

up
46 users have liked.

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is planning to move towards privatisation to cut its operational losses. Sources in the state government said that BMTC is planning to stop procurement of new buses, and instead is thinking of hiring buses from private operators on revenue-sharing basis.

As per the proposal, BMTC will operate buses provided by private firms/operators. Instead of fixed rent or lease amount, BMTC will share the revenue on percentage basis.

“The proposal is yet to be finalised, and the state government is expected to forward it. The BMTC management is wary of this proposal, as it expects the staff to raise a red flag over any such a move,” said sources close to the development. They said that BMTC employees have got wind of the proposal and expressed their concerns.

- - - Employees said that they will not allow any effort towards privatisation of the corporation.


For the full text of the report in the Deccan Chronicle, click here.

The fixed rent system was operating earlier. The internal mafia confederation got into the act, and made money for themselves, bleeding the BMTC in the process, but without improving the services any. The same will happen with the revenue sharing model too. As such, no contractor of repute will come forward to take it up.

Whatever, all of these are poor substitutes for the "Real McCoy" of having full-fledged private operators being allowed to operate in open competition with the government players, with the entire game overseen by a properly constituted by a regulatory body. Without that, you won't get professional players coming in, and it'll rmain as bad, or even get worse.

When airline services, telecom services, banks, insurance, etc were opened out for competition, the unions made a noise then too. Within days, they withdrew, realising fully well that they didn't have public support. The same can happen here too, if the policy is set out and articulated properly.

This is a vital infrastructure area where professionalism is the desperate need of the hour.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

more emphatic a case for professionalised bus services

up
46 users have liked.

Through this post, I had emphasised on the urgent need for professionalisation of public bus transport services, from air pollution and the alarming rise thereof of reported cases of acute respiratory infections (ARI), angle.

Now, this ToI report from Delhi emphasises the need from the traffic gridlock angle, which as the report says has gone even beyond what it used to be n Bangkok in the 1980s. This is even with the city having an excellent and widespread Metro network, which is patronised to its fullest capacity.

It shouldn't come as a surprise when you read that London's (near 90% privately-owned) bus services record close to 6 million trips/ week-day, compared to the Underground (the term they use for the Metro)'s 3.4 million - check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_for_London.

The moral of the story very clearly is that Indian cities and towns need professionalised bus transport services first and foremost. And, when and if that becomes inadequate, you could go for the Metro.

Bengaluru, which has no constraints for spreading in all directions (unlike a Mumbai or Chennai), could perhaps have avoided the Metro (a very expensive and disruptive proposition), if it had gone in for Namma Railu (Commuter Rail - check here for the FAQ) earlier (Well, it's moving along, but rather too slowly, as of now).

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

yet another reason

up
50 users have liked.

At a time when both central and state governments are taking steps to promote public transport, two recent studies conducted in Bangalore and Bhopal have found how almost 90% of women passengers find bus travel unsafe. The worst indicator has come from the country's IT capital where 39% women have shifted to private mode of transport after finding bus travel unsafe.

-- - The study has also pointed out how most of the working women have no option than to take public transport as over 60% of them who have faced issues still continue to take buses.


For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

Another reason, if more was required, for induction of professional private players into the field, rather than retaining it as a monopoly area of government-owned BMTC/ KSRTC. The important question is when will people wake up to its inevitability and start demanding it.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Speak out against perpetuation of the monopolies

up
51 users have liked.

Transport services in the city and across the state will be affected tomorrow as the employees of both Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) have decided to join a nationwide strike.

The employees are protesting against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015. The strike has been called by the central trade unions, who say the bill is against the interest of workers and will weaken the state road transport corporations.


For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

The BMTC/ KSRTC monopoly in public bus transport services (in Karnataka, and similar government-owned monopolies in most other states), which is perpetuating and promoting just the vested interets of the mafia confederation (it's nothing less than that) that's in total control of the sector, at the tremendous cost of the travelling public, cannot be allowed to continue any longer. As such, we need to, not only not support this campaign, but speak out against it, and loudly too. When the mafia confederation, that's behind it, realises that there's no support to their cause, they'll have to back out, quite like the earlier telecom, airlines, bank, insurance, etc mafia confederations too, had to, when those sectors opened up, and the confederations did their best to stall the processes.

So, do affix your signatures to this counter campaign, started a few months back, vide my post of 30th April (scrolling above), which I have now addressed it to the CM of Karnataka, in addition to the Union Minister for Roads and Transport, as when I started it.
 

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Bus Privatisation - Proven FAIL!

up
51 users have liked.

It is very important for the staff of public transport services to stand up against elites trying to push unsustainable solutions like privatisation under the garb of improvement. It has been proven in other cities which have tried unsuccessfully to make privatisation work. Read here for such failures. The people who propound these theories obviously have their head in the sand or are pawns to ideology and private bus corridors and its mafioso. 

xs400's picture

Car Sharing to the rescue?

up
36 users have liked.

 

http://www.citiesofthefuture.eu/copenhagen-new-carsharing-integrated-with-public-transport/

...

DriveNow is a next generation car-share company. Members can pick up cars anywhere the app says they are parked and drop them off anywhere that public parking is allowed within the city.

Additionally, the cars are available at the airport. This means someone flying in can pick up a car at the terminal and drive into the city without the expense of a taxi or wait time.

According to the DriveNow press release, there will be a car available every 300 meters, the same distance as bus stops. The cost will be 3.50 kroner ($0.52) per minute driven. If members decide to park the car for a few minutes continuing the rental, those stationary minutes are charged at 2.5 kroner ($0.37). The maximum charge per hour is capped at 190 kroner ($28.50).

DriveNow is a partnership between BMW and the Sixt car rental service and has services in five cities in Germany. Its cars can also be found in San Francisco, London, and Vienna. And now Copenhagen.

 

...

murali772's picture

happy with the status quo?

up
45 users have liked.

@ IDS - Is your problem with privatisation per se, or specifically with privatisation of bus services? Actually, what I have been campaigning for is opening up of all of the services, including bus, to competition from private sector, or, in other words, ending the monopoly of government service providers in all of these areas.

I'll presume your problem is confined largely to "privatisation" of bus services (and rail, may be). If so, pray tell me, what is so special about bus services that it too can't benefit from opening up to competition, quite like telecom, airlines, banking, insurance, and such sectors had, after their being opened up, over the past few decades?

Even at the cost of repeating myself an nth time, I wish to submit Madurai once had excellent bus services operated by TVS; likewise, Mangalore had its Ballal (it continues), Misquith, and others; Kochi had PSN, etc, all in the private sector. Government's nationalisation policy, followed later by license-permit raaj, mucked it all up. Given a conducive policy regime, they can all come back, and, with that, half of the country's problems will automatically get sorted out, transport being a key infrastructural area.

There's a huge demand that has to be met; the government-run monopolies don't have the capacity to meet it (and have proved incapable of acquiring it, either); private sector has proved its capacity in all of the other sectors. As such, all that's needed today is for the government to facilitate their entry. And, for that, the people need to raise their demand for it.

If pivatisation has not quite succeeded in UK, it's because the models were faulty. What is required is for them to be corrected, rather than going back to municipalisation/ govt-ownership, since the reasons for the induction of the private players in the first place, have not changed. This applies equally to rail, water, power, and other sectors too. My response on similar lines to another article on re-municipalisation of water supply in some European cities (posted by somebody else on a YahooGroup), accessible here, elaborates more on the subject.  

Beyond all of these, if you are against privatisation itself, or even against a significant role for the private sector, but would rather support the perpetuation of the government monopoly services, then may be we will have to look for an answer here. And, for now, I shall ignore your comments "The people who propound these theories obviously have their head in the sand or are pawns to ideology and private bus corridors and its mafioso", as unworthy of comment.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Wrong solution

up
52 users have liked.

For any public transport to succeed and the status quo to be changed buses & railcars need to be provided with dedicated barricaded lanes which they deserve on account of the demand they are trying to meet. By denying that right all other solutions like competition etc are not even addressing the problems tangentially they are only distractions based on ideology and cronyism. So all the reams of paragraphs you write are unworthy of reading because they are skirting the real problem.

Naveen's picture

Buses need exclusive lanes

up
50 users have liked.
IDS is right - I have been saying this for years. Unless buses have right of way, they can never be expected to be efficient nor meet demands, be they public or private services.

Further, privatization of buses has never succeeded in alleviating urban transport problems anywhere in the world. Privatization of bus services has worked well & delivered only with BRT infra provided by the state, never in mixed traffic.

Ever wondered why bus owners typically have only a few buses & corporates are not interested? This is because drivers /conductors can never be expected to remain honest & it is costly to have infra like GPS to monitor bus movements. Thus most bus companies are either family owned with members within the family driving buses or owners employing drivers who are relatives on whom they have some hold - my uncles used to lament (they are out of the city bus business now).

The story has been the same - from Santiago to Bogota to Bangkok to Delhi ..... nowhere has privatization resulted in better services ever. We do not need to turn Bangalore or India to a testing ground, Delhi's blueline experiment was enough.

And Mr Murali, I'm pretty sure people are bored sick of your repetitious posts that bluff about Mangalore's 'great' bus services. In fact, KSRTC has just been allocated services for city operations despite the high-handed unionism of the notorious bus lobby, thanks to citizens who are fed up of unreliable private bus services there & have been demanding KSRTC from long.
murali772's picture

wishing away the elephant in the room

up
38 users have liked.

@IDS - essentially what you are recommending is BRT - this, all across the city - thank you, I would anyday prefer METRO (I have already mentioned the reasons too in the linked post; I'll not bother to repeat them). What I have not understood is what then was the talk about the "dentist and foot problem", when I said so to begin with?

On another blog, in the same context, I had mentioned "But, by ignoring this big ticket solution, the think-tanks are essentially lending themselves to get co-opted by the government mafia-like set-ups" (check here). Forget getting co-opted, I begin to see that they have become very much a part of the mafia confederation, providing an intellectual cover to it all, through flaunting of some tech mumbo-jumbo, with a view to perpetuate the status quo. More than the neta's, or the babu's, it is they who form the biggest vested interest group today.

The way you were coyly parroting what the BMTC honcho wanted you to say, at a recent workshop, gives it all away.

@Naveen - I agree we should not be boring prajagalu with the same arguments - so, I'll just provide this link to an exchange we had on the subject some time ago, to let readers come to their own conclusions. But, for all of that 'boring' talk, a prominent youth member of the civil society sent me a mail yesterday, reading "my inbox is flooded with messages like below (supporting this petition). Kudos to you for leading this. I hope you are successful."

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Elephant is not in the room

up
41 users have liked.

thank you, I would anyday prefer METRO

I dont really care what you prefer. By clearly NOT standing up for dedicated bandwidth for public transport you have clearly shown you dont care in solving the real problem and want to cozy up to the car manufacturers lobby. Shows you to be an industrial lobbyist rather than a root cause problem solver. The only elephant is the one you have created in your head and that is privatising BMTC possibly because your yelli iddira hasnt seen the light of day! sounds more like sour grapes & vengence to me rather any solution to a problem.

idontspam's picture

Juvenile alanysis

up
38 users have liked.

I have already mentioned the reasons too in the linked post

Those reasons are so juvenile, any person working on transport solution worth his salt will laugh at it. It shows you have no studied understanding of the actual solution at all. 

kbsyed61's picture

Service Provisioning!

up
46 users have liked.

Privatization of BMTC and KSRTC will happen. if not today, in next 5-10 yrs. You may expedite it by influencing the politicians with gains they are going to make personally.

But the million dollar question is, will it help decongest city roads? At the most it might save the govt some crorers in losses and inefficiencies.

As long as private vehicles like cars gets priority on roads, city will continue to deteriorate on traffic congestions.

It will also be worth investigating why even in countries like US where PT is run by govt funded agencies.

Naveen's picture

Right Qs

up
39 users have liked.

But the million dollar question is, will it help decongest city roads? At the most it might save the govt some crorers in losses and inefficiencies.

It will also be worth investigating why even in countries like US where PT is run by govt funded agencies.

Hi Syed, your questions are spot on. It really is whether privatization will help passengers & improve transport in the city without exposing pedestrains & road users to unacceptably high safety risks. Nowhere has privatization resulted in success, except with BRT.

Privatization of BMTC and KSRTC will happen.

Not sure how you say this? I think they are exploring ways to cut losses by hiring private buses on revenue-sharing basis instead of costly procurements, but profit sharing may not work as profits will be meagre, if at all any (there are always losses with operations on low-density routes).

pathykv's picture

Bus Transport

up
51 users have liked.

As a hard core Bus commuter-cum- Pedestrian, day by day I am loosing the means to commute to the desired destinations at reasonlble cost.

I will welcome Public/Private/ Hybrid any means to provide a safe, reliable, economical bus service to aam aadmiis like me.

If it requires a combination of Public and Private operators, let it be done. I see such competetive operations successful in Tamilnadu.

K.V.Pathy

murali772's picture

yes, professional handling needed

up
56 users have liked.

I dont really care what you prefer.

I am not going to be losing sleep over that.

By clearly NOT standing up for dedicated bandwidth for public transport you have clearly shown you dont care in solving the real problem

If that's what you have to say about those who don't agree with BRT as the end all solution, so be it.

and want to cozy up to the car manufacturers lobby. Shows you to be an industrial lobbyist rather than a root cause problem solver.

If so, why would I start this debate, and come up with this policy paper?

The only elephant is the one you have created in your head and that is privatising BMTC possibly because your yelli iddira hasnt seen the light of day! sounds more like sour grapes & vengence to me rather any solution to a problem.

"Yelli Iddira?" got conceptualised out of my interactions with an IT entrepreneur during the time I was the Co-Chairman of BMTC's Commuter Comfort Task Force, in 06-07. My being invited to the position of the Co-Chairman of the task force itself was on account of my stinging criticism of BMTC, through letters to editor, etc (ie before blogging started). So, my demand for an end to its monopoly far preceded the Yi times.

In fact, even before all of that, as the Chairman of Nagarik, in the 90's, I had lodged a PIL on the same lines, after collecting close to a thousand support letters (post cards, inland letters, etc) from the public, following a press conference. Unfortunately, faced with serious challenges in the business that I was running then, I could not pursue the PIL with the vigour I would have liked to, and the PIL lost its way in the court's labyrinthine processes.

My business was related to the power sector, and the challenges I faced there was on account of the wayward ways of BESCOM and other similar state monopolies in the power distribution area. So, if you attribute my targeting them with a vengence, I'll admit there is a fair amount of truth to it, since I had a large stake in my business. But, I had no financial stake in the company providing the Yi service, and as such, the dumping of Yi was no big deal for me. But, as a stakeholder in the city, I felt that the dumping, after Yi having been in successful operation for close to a year, made for a considerable loss to the city.

I have been noticing that the talk of Yi kind of gets you worked up, and you immediately try to make it out as if it was something quite insignificant, and that you have something far more advanced lined up. Well, though this talk has been going on for quite some years now, it too doesn't seem to have seen the light of day, yet. Meanwhile, Mysore KSRTC supposedly spent something like Rs 15 cr, a few years back, to put together its 'ITS system'. It hasn't been talked about as a model to follow, even by BMTC. BMTC then went about tying up with some Trimax, over a Rs 69 cr deal, which was supposed to be launched Independence day last year (check my post of 14/08/14, scrolling above). It's one year since then, and that too hasn't seen the light of day. And, now comes TransitPedia that xs400 has talked about. One doesn't know if they have fixed any deal, yet. Now, are you associated with one of these, or is your's a separate pursuit?

Now, even with a Rs 69 cr deal, if this Trimax has not made much of a headway, apparently, the game has become much bigger. And, there's no point cozying up to the honcho - they just come, bide their time, and go. You need to cultivate the mafioso king-pin. I can possibly give you tips on that off-line.

I have stated here that the raison d'etre of the continuance of the public sector is for the neta-babu combo to loot them. If the loot leads to the entity's collapse, it may be actually worth it, since it gets limited to a one-time loss. But, when 'think-tanks' get involved, the loot gets perpetuated, and that's why it's a bigger worry.

Those reasons are so juvenile, any person working on transport solution worth his salt will laugh at it. It shows you have no studied understanding of the actual solution at all.

Oh yes, one needs to get professional in whatever one may be upto, even if it's hood-winking the public.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

new models needed

up
39 users have liked.

@Syedbhai - PT, as also other utilities, in most cities the world over, may have been operated by government agencies. But, privatisation/ competition/ outsourcing have been tried out in many places, obviously because of the dis-satisfaction with existing systems. Some have succeeded, some have failed. But, I am of the firm opinion that re-municipalisation is not the right answer, since it is too much of a burden for municipalities to manage directly, limited as they are in their capacity. So, new models, involving the private sector, have to be worked out, and I believe India is in the right position to lead that path.
 

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Provide proper examples

up
46 users have liked.

Some have succeeded

Murali, where has it succeeded? Please post relevant articles or provide links describing the success that you claim. Do not keep quoting Kochi /Mangalore or TVS-Madurai etc. All these are much smaller cities & not comparable with Bangalore, neither can they be termed successful. Also, as I mentioned, Mangalore appears on the path of going public - please read up.

murali772's picture

London bus services largely successful

up
37 users have liked.

London Buses, responsible for managing the red bus network throughout London and the East London Transit which is a Bus Rapid Transit in East London, largely by contracting services to private sector bus operators (check here).

The not so satisfactory state of privatisation reported here, pertain largely to outside London.

London model is working fairly well. Whatever, I do feel that Indian cities need to, and can do, even better. And, given the right policy regime, TVS, TATA's, and even the Ballal's, VRL's, Kallada's, etc, will do it.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Again....Please

up
46 users have liked.

London bus services operate on a franchise system where private bus operators bid for contracts to run specific routes for specific periods (usually five years). All regulatory control including route planning are still fully held by Transport for London, which receives huge subsidy from govt (some 600 million pounds or Rs.6000 crores per year, similar to Air India). The bus services are thus not a commercial /profit-making activity.

Long back, I had suggested a variant in which BMTC as overseer, lease out its buses to different private parties to be run in different areas with minimal or no overlaps. This was based on the same London model. I had also suggested delinking ticket revenues from the business equation to prevent recklessness on the roads, which is a huge problem when revenues are based directly on the number of passengers.

This differes from your demands for private players to enter independently into the scene & decide fares /schedules /bus quality etc & operate them as businesses.

Further, there are many differences in bus operations in the developed world & the developing world & they are not comparable, as described in the paper I posted to all prajas.

Unlike in developed countries, public institutions are weak in developing nations, especially so in India. Misuse of contract licenses is rampant & almost unstoppable. Above all, profits, if any are bound to be poor as city transport is more of a subsidized essential service rather than a sector that yields to business principles. Thus, quality of services will become poorer than what BMTC offers (Mangalore /Kochi buses are examples where buses still have wooden floors, window tarpaulins, air-horns etc besides safety concerns).

Since you seem sold to the idea that privatization must happen at any cost, kindly provide a workable model rather than repeating endlessly that it will succeed & provide better alternates. And please provide an example from a developing country (other than BRT) - I know there are none.

murali772's picture

BMTC can't be the all-in-all

up
45 users have liked.

This differes from your demands for private players to enter independently into the scene & decide fares /schedules /bus quality etc & operate them as businesses.

I have largely been saying that the present scenario where BMTC is the operator, regulator, in fact an all-in-all set-up related to public transport matters, should not be allowed to continue, and space should be allowed for private players too to operate, since BMTC doesn't have the capacity to manage all of it by itself. Also, BMTC being a monopoly, and a government one at that, it can never be efficient, since it becomes the target of plunder by various mafia set-ups within and without. We have seen that in the case of TTMC's (check here), as also the so-called ITS sysyems (see my post of 7th Sept, scrolling above). My petitions have also been worded more or less along those lines.

So, even if it's along the London model, it would be an improvement, and therefore most welcome. Yes, we had more or less agreed on those lines (check here, as also here), and that's all I am asking presently. And, London buses operate largely on priority lanes, and very little on BRT.

My wife was in London over the past 10 days as the guest of her cousin, who heads the marketing of an IT major. Even with earning a high salary, the cousin rarely takes out his car for his regular commute. And, when he does, he's constantly monitoring the parking cost. His wife, who works in a bank, walks 20 minutes to catch a bus on her commute to work. That's the the kind of culture we need to build here, for which we need far more efficiency in our bus services (the backbone of PT), alongwith prohibitive disincentivisation of usage of personalised forms of transport.

All the same, I'll still maintain that if the likes of TVS can be facilitated entry, to operate on a freer regime (may be at the higher end, to begin with), that can also help greatly. And, eventually, therewith can evolve the answer to the subsidy regime, with subsidies being routed to needy individuals through Aadhaar.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Lack of knowledge

up
42 users have liked.

If that's what you have to say about those who don't agree with BRT as the end all solution, so be it.

Obviously, you insert words you want to use because you dont understand the distinctions. Possibly because your love for the private mafioso operators cloud you ability to understand the issue properly.

Naveen's picture

Your motives exposed

up
35 users have liked.

an all-in-all set-up related to public transport matters, should not be allowed to continue

BMTC being a monopoly, and a government one at that, it can never be efficient, since it becomes the target of plunder by various mafia set-ups within and without.

 

London model, it would be an improvement, and therefore most welcome.

 

All the same, I'll still maintain that if the likes of TVS can be facilitated entry, to operate on a freer regime (may be at the higher end, to begin with), that can also help greatly. And, eventually, therewith can evolve the answer to the subsidy regime, with subsidies being routed to needy individuals through Aadhaar.

All your posts of the past as also the above statements clearly suggest that your motives are only to prevent what you term 'plunder by mafioso'. Plunder of subsidies by private operators that will most surely happen if bus services are privatized in the name of maintianing quality is okay for you, but govt mafioso should be stopped at any cost.

You do not consider it necessary to ponder over or care to explain how commuter interests can be improved by invloving private bus operators with focus on how the inherent risks that it is bound to bring with it can be tackled.

Good luck to you in your efforts to halt 'plunder' by govt mafioso & looking the other way when questions about private operator credentials are raised without any care for commuter interests. IDS was correct when he said you dont care about real problems like what a root cause problem solver would do & that the only goal you seek is privatising BMTC for reasons best known to you.

murali772's picture

strange logic

up
48 users have liked.

@ Naveen
Plunder of subsidies by private operators that will most surely happen if bus services are privatized in the name of maintianing quality is okay for you, but govt mafioso should be stopped at any cost.

This is strange logic. Now, you had stated (in your post of 9th Sept) that "Long back, I had suggested a variant in which BMTC as overseer, lease out its buses to different private parties to be run in different areas with minimal or no overlaps - this was based on the same London model", responding to which I linked up the earlier debate, and pointed out to the fact that I too had more or less expressed agreement with that approach, at least to begin with. But then, all of a sudden, you accuse me of supporting it since it passes on the racketeering opportunities to the franchisee contractors while depriving the BMTC/ government johnnies of the same. So, is one to believe that when you suggest it, it is in order, but, when I extend support, it changs colour?

Whatever, you don't have to worry. As long as things are largely under government control, whether it's the current BMTC model or the London model (or variations of it), or even the much- touted Baroda model (check the debate here), as long as things are largely under government control, it'll be the same set of gvernment johnnies and favoured contrctors who will be looting public money.

The very fact of their spending Rs 15 + 69 cr, over their so-called ITS, with nothing to show for it even after 10 years (refer my post of 7th Sept, scrolling above), is indicative of how things are. And, that's just the proverbial tip of the ice-berg.

Further, there are many differences in bus operations in the developed world & the developing world & they are not comparable, as described in the paper I posted to all prajas. Unlike in developed countries, public institutions are weak in developing nations, especially so in India. Misuse of contract licenses is rampant & almost unstoppable.

For all of that, opening up of telecom, airlines, banking, insurance, etc has made for a world of difference in each of these sectors. The challenges faced by the Sheila Dikshit government, as also the Delhi discoms, in the course of power distribution privatisation, were far more daunting, than what can be envisaged if the bus services were to be opened out. In fact, when Hubli-Dharwar services were opened out to Bendre Nagara Saarige, there were serous problems initially. But, the then S M Krishna government went about it with resolve, and the mafia lot had to back out. Thereafter, of course, they used the 'experts' to re-establish their fiefdom (check here).  

I think we have debated enough. Even when I thought we were in general agreement, over a certain approach, suddenly, you invent some reason or the other to put a spoke. Now, besides, you seem to have acquired expert support. So, keep at it. Let's agree to disagree.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Be clear what you seek

up
39 users have liked.
In the variant I mentioned, BMTC would still be managing & overseeing all routes & buses (similar to the role being played by transport for London). Only bus operation is by private parties with payments delinked from ticket revenues. This seemed unacceptable to you as you stated that BMTC cannot manage "all of it" as they are govt monopoly, plunder etc.

You seem to suggest that BMTC must not be involved in any way in your plan for privatization, but later say London model was welcome but keep insisting that the plunder would continue because govt was involved! Previously, you had been stating that govt must be regulator, but why the objection if BMTC is tasked to regulate? Are they not the govt's arm for city transport & have experience operating buses?

From all this, its obvious that what you seek is total privatization that excludes any role for BMTC or govt because you claim there would be "plunder".

If private buses have to operate with no overseer whilst quality has to be maintained, subsidies would have to be paid directly to them by govt. What is the guarantee they will not cheat? Is it not likely the plunder would become much larger?
murali772's picture

clarification

up
44 users have liked.

but why the objection if BMTC is tasked to regulate?

Transport for London is structured similar to UMTA or BMLTA (as proposed). If UMTA/ BMLTA are entrusted with the job, that'd be fine. BMTC can continue as a player. In fact, ideally, they should stick largely to the Big-10 routes, providing high frequency services, and all the feeder kind of services, as per this experiment (in HSR layout) would be best farmed out to private players. The HSR proposal could be made regular acoss the city, perhaps with only cars with even/ odd numbers being allowed to ply on alternate days, initially, and other forms of disincentives (like high parking charges) being added on later. When that happens, the need for buses will rise exponentially, operation of which will be beyond BMTC's capacity to manage by itself, and therefore the need too to limit itself to one segment (yes, the most important one).

subsidies would have to be paid directly to them by govt

What I have suggested is to credit subsidy amounts, based on some estimates, directly to individual accounts, through Aadhaar, like in the case of cooking gas subsidy.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

ITS is going to cost a 'little' more

up
41 users have liked.

It is being implemented under the Rs 79-crore Intelligent Transport System (ITS) project that the Corporation had began in the last quarter of 2013. She blamed the delay on the novelty factor of the project.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

So, the cost has gone up by another Rs 10 cr - small change, right?

The report also stated that "A pilot project using smart cards has been running successfully in the Yelahanka division and it will be emulated across the city by December-end," Caur said. The BMTC mobile app, which currently gives only static information, will be able to give passengers real time information."

Anyone has experienced it?

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Unscientific ideolgical debate

up
39 users have liked.

This petition is a ideological rant and is not backed by any model that is different from what others across the world have done & failed.

murali772's picture

It's happening, either way

up
43 users have liked.

Either way, it's happening - though, in a roundabout way (check this), however strident the nay-sayers have become, perhaps in their desperation.

Hopefully, the people will begin to see the inevitability, as also the imperatives, of its happening in a straight-forward way, and raise the demand for it.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

public interest is supreme, Mr Minister, not BMTC's

up
52 users have liked.

Ramalinga Reddy told Express that no permission has been issued for the cab aggregators to offer any other services, apart from the ones they are currently providing.
- - - "We cannot grant them permission inside Bengaluru city limits, as Bengaluru Metro Transport Corporation (BMTC) is already operational here,” he said. If such operations are launched in Bengaluru city without permission, appropriate action will be taken, he added.


For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

While the minister is supposedly trying to protect the interests of the state-run BMTC, he should understand that such a stance is not in overall public interest, particularly since, BMTC, as the monopoly service provider all these years, has proven to be incapable of meeting the demand for public transport, leading to the ever increasing cluttering of the city roads by cars and two-wheelers. With such a scenario being increasingly seen as unsustainable, the public transport services have necessarily to improve, which can happen only with the dismantling of BMTC's monopoly.

Also, Ola, ZipGo, etc are professional players, with vast technological and financial resources, who can achieve the objective of improving the pulic transport scenario speedily, and as such, they should be provided every kind of facilitation to get themselves going.

The minister should also realise that competition can do good for BMTC even. Besides, Sir, how can we have monopolies in today's world?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

BMTC monopoly solely to blame

up
33 users have liked.

Following the repeat of the Nirbhaya incident in Bengaluru, the government is talking about every thing under the sun - crackdown on IT firms violating transport norms for women employees; 1,000 motorbikes for night patrol; tech-friendly tracking devices; emergency apps; karate lessons; etc, etc, except the most obvious, viz better public bus transport services. And, since the government monopoly BMTC has proved incapable of meeting the demand, the obvious thing to do is to bring in the private sector, and with Ola, Uber, ZipGo etc ready to come in with tech and capital resources, and innovative operational models, all that is needed of the government is to facilitate their entry, and thereafter regulate the operations.

The following excerpts from today's ToI editorial too (for the full text, click here, emphasis added is by me) points out the lack of any better option:

While the cities are getting bigger and the distance between residence and place of work gets longer, the commute options haven't kept pace. The public transport system ­ which in Bengaluru is still mainly BMTC buses as the Metro operates only in bits and pieces ­ falls off alarmingly post sunset. As any working woman who has used public bu ses will vouch, the frequency of service drops steeply and even when it exists is erratic and is at the mercy of the bus driver and conductor. There are instances of passengers being dumped midway as the bus staff do not want to work beyond their shift time when the connections are to distant suburbs.

The private transport solutions, like taxis, are expensive for young people in the early stages of their career. Autorickshaws, the preferred option, are hard to get and the drivers are harder to persuade to take you to your choice of destination. Which makes young girls, like the unfortunate BPO employee, vulnerable enough to take up an offer from strangers for a ride home. As cities get bigger and more crowded urban planners should work to put in place transport solutions that will get people, especially women, from home to work and back, safely.


But, apparently, the government is in no mood to relent from its mule like obstinacy of persisting with the BMTC monopoly, with it putting up all kinds of obstacles before Ola, and others (check here). The monopoly scenario has caused enough harm to the city and citizens, and the government is to be held responsible for it all. As such, it's time the citizens, particularly the women, rose and raised the demand, with one loud voice, for an end to the BMTC monopoly, which is what this petition is all about.
 

Muralidhar Rao
havan3's picture

Privatise public transport

up
55 users have liked.

Privatising public transport will not necessarily avoid Nirbhaya type incidents.  Private drivers are also from the same cultural milieu as we have seen with Uber etc.  The present case of the girl in Bangalore being molested in the Traveller bus is also one of a private vehicle.  Expecting the government to regulate the private transporters is not the answer as the governmen in India is a poor regulator.

Perhaps a simpler answer will be to make it mandatory for BPO and other companies, who operate late shifts, to provide safe transport for their employees, particularly the women employees, after the shift is over.  Many BPOs do it and it should be made compulsory for all.  It will add to their cost but this should be treated as the necessary cost of doing this business.

Hiroo Advani

murali772's picture

Private sector plays a major role in SriLankan bus services

up
36 users have liked.

Quoting Naveen, who, in support of his vehement opposition to opening up of public bus transport services to competition from private sector, had stated as below (check his post of 4th Sept,'15, scrolling above):

The story has been the same - from Santiago to Bogota to Bangkok to Delhi ..... nowhere has privatization resulted in better services ever.

Similar statements had been repeated by him elsewhere too.

On a tour to SriLanka last week, the following is what I read in reputed tour guide:




And, it was evident on the ground too, on the tour covering Colombo, Kandy, Nuvara Elia, and Galle. Need one say anything more?

But, yes, what we have in SriLanka is not totally satisfactory, either. We need to aim for the best in the world, since it's the most versatile ad cost effctive mode, and we have a huge population who can't afford the costlier modes.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

KSRTC's 19 - year long trainee-ship

up
39 users have liked.

A 51-year-old driver with the KSRTC attempted suicide in front of the corporation headquarters here on Monday morning. Driver Ramu's grouse: After 19 years in service, he was still a trainee driver and had not been made permanent. But KSRTC said this was a pressure tactic by Ramu to avoid punishment for submitting a fake certificate.

- - - In a statement, a KSRTC spokesperson said that after his training period of two years, Ramu was asked to submit a transfer certificate. On checking the certificate it was found to be false.

"Ramu's suicide attempt is unlawful and a ploy to put pressure on the corporation to hinder lawful action against him as per the rules of KSRTC. - - " the statement said.


For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

Now, even if it's true that Ramu (the driver in question) had submitted a false certificate (which charge appears an after-thought), is the charge grave enough to keep him as a trainee for 19 long years? The reason very obviously is that he has not submitted to the dictats of the union mafia, which controls these issues, and perhaps even the larger mafia confederation, which controls every other aspect of the organisation's functioning, quite like in most other governmental set-ups. Having got in, as a trainee (of course, through mafia contacts, since that's generally the only route), if he had continued kow-towing to the demands of the union lot, he too would eventually have become part of the labour aristocracy, after which life would have been better for him than even what it's supposedly like for jehadi's in heaven after they have attained martyrdom. Apparently, somewhere along, Ramu developed a conscience, a very wrong thing to happen, in such set-ups.

For more on the work culture in governmental set-ups, click here.

As compared to that, in a private enterprise, things go largely by merit, since its profitability, and in fact survival itself, depends largely on performance. A good performer will be nurtured and promoted, whereas a laggard will be shown the door within no time.

Whatever, in as critical an infrastructure sector as public transport, the country cannot any longer afford the typical sarkari work culture. It's time the citizens raised the demand for its end.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Oh! Same old useless argument again

up
40 users have liked.

Quoting Naveen, who, in support of his vehement opposition to opening up of public bus transport services to competition from private sector, had stated as below (check his post of 4th Sept,'15, scrolling above):

The story has been the same - from Santiago to Bogota to Bangkok to Delhi ..... nowhere has privatization resulted in better services ever.

Similar statements had been repeated by him elsewhere too.

On a tour to SriLanka last week, the following is what I read in reputed tour guide:

What makes you think that Sri-Lankan govt buses are in the same league as BMTC, KSRTC or BEST in India? Your comparison seems to have been done out of desperation to further the same old boring arguement that has never cut any ice with anyone, isn't it? Have you seen or traveled by govt or private buses in Sri Lanka on your tour of discovery?

This aside, the article talks about transport in towns & villages, not the very large metropolises like we have in India where traffic & transport demands are extremely huge. This is like Mr Pathy talking about transport in temple towns in Tamil Nadu as comparison to BMTC.

So, kindly compare like for like, & do not resort to comparisons of transport in little towns & villages with vast metropolises & try to claim that they are successes. And how are you so sure that the tour guide is "reputed"?

murali772's picture

a small observation

up
36 users have liked.

So, the question now is between the credibility of a SriLankan tour guide, and the word of someone with a pathologic dislike for private transport players (I say that since it's confined to just bus services - check here), or blind love for government bus service provides.

Readers may take their pick.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Khaas aditi deivo bhava

up
27 users have liked.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will soon extend its Flybus service to cities like Shivamogga, Coimbatore, Puducherry and Madurai, besides adding stops at Erode, Hosur and Salem, to address the needs of passengers.

This comes after a study suggested that better mode of transportation will help attract more passengers to the city as last-mile connectivity and transportation are major factors affecting a passenger’s decision of selecting an airport.

KSRTC, along with Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), hired Lead Cap, a global research, advisory and consulting firm, to conduct a survey to find out means of increasing passenger density and thereby increasing profits.


For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express (emphasis added by me), click here.

The whole idea of the state monopoly, one had thought, was to provide the essential services to the aam aadmi. But, KSRTC's concentration seems to be largely on services to the khaas aadmi, with a view to maximisation of profits, even as the aam aadmi is forced to ride tractors and such unsafe vehicles, particulrly in rural areas. Likewise is the plight of the aam aadmi in the city, where he's forced to hang around in bus stops, even as BMTC's Volvo's whizz past carrying the khaas IT lot.

If profitability is the objective, then you can't have monopoly.

And, cross-subsidy is just a cover up for inefficiency. The aam aadmi would be far better off with efficient services that can come about through properly regulated competition from reputed private players, and direct subsidy payments, where eligible, through Aadhaar.

Essentially, enough of governments' monopoly.

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

What a bore!

up
36 users have liked.

So, the question now is between the credibility of a SriLankan tour guide, and the word of someone with a pathologic dislike for private transport players (I say that since it's confined to just bus services - checkhere), or blind love for government bus service provides.

Readers may take their pick.

The question is about comparison being made between transport in small towns & villages with transport in large metropolises. Re-read my post again & refrain from picking any crumb you find to deflect & just continue arguing.

And kinly mind your statements - I could call you names just as you do. Your great love for "everything private" & blind hatred for anything govt is already well known - & readers have already picked this from long, most recently there was another member who lamblasted you for this, yet you continue the non-sense, boring others. Give it a break

murali772's picture

sense and non-sense

up
31 users have liked.

The question is about comparison being made between transport in small towns & villages with transport in large metropolises.

If you browse through Wikipedia, it will tell you that, even in the capital city of Colombo, you have both government-run and privately-run regular bus services, which corroborates what the tour guide had published, and what I had personally experienced (though, not used). On the other hand, in Karnataka, the government monopoly extends to even the rural areas (all districts other than Dakshina Kannada and Udupi). So, enough of nitpicking, please.

Your great love for "everything private" & blind hatred for anything govt is already well known.

You too had expressed support for privatisation of power supply (and some other services too), though admittedly there was no expression of love for the players. But, in bus services alone, your intolerance to private particiption is certainly indicative of a mind-set beyond just dislike, but perhaps closer to hatred, of the private players. As for me, I have been uniformly critical of monopolies.

As for "minding my statements", if one looks back on the kind of statements made by you, as also the few who may be supporting you, it'll be obvious that neither is anyway qualified to comment on the matter.

Also, what appears "non-sense" to you seems to be making a lot of sense to a lot of fund managers, and city administrators too (check here). It's inevitable that the Karnataka Transport ministry can't remain blind to it all for long, now.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

mobilising school buses a good idea, but - - -

up
34 users have liked.

Transport minister Gopal Rai said 4,000 private contract CNG buses and 2,000 CNG school buses will be added to the existing fleet of 6,000 DTC and cluster buses.

"We have met the unions and schools to determine this figure. In the 2,000 school buses, 50% of the seats will be reserved for women. The conductors will be provided by DTC. Bus queue shelters will have details of buses and their routes will be made available there. A panel has been set up to determine on what basis these buses will be paid," he said.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the ToI, click here.

An excellent idea of utilising the huge capacity readily available. It can work best if they are allowed a tie-up with ZipGo, Ola, Uber, etc, and on a regular basis, by licensing them in some innovative way, without too much emphasis on revenue maximisation. If one understands correctly, the proposed Transport Bill-2014, facilitates such schemes (check here).

Bringing DTC into the picture is equivalent of killing it even before it's born.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Now, experts too openly finding fault with govt monopoly

up
41 users have liked.

Urban expert Ashwin Mahesh says, “The city lacks a robust public transport system like the Delhi Metro or the local trains in Mumbai. Secondly, the private transport system is not flourishing because of the monopoly being asserted by the government agencies.”

- - - SOLUTION: The right approach is to look for inclusive development and the government should seriously look at options besides its own transportation system. There should be a public-private partnership and cooperation, and not competition.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

Well, finally, the experts too beginning to talk my language, overcoming the constraints whatever (it could be any, or combinations of some, from this list) they may have had. So, can I now hope for more endorsements of my petitions (here and here)?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

limit the operations, and bring others into the picture

up
27 users have liked.

City buses operator Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is requesting the state government to let it scrap 1,000 buses of its fleet that are older than 10 years and have done nearly 8.5 lakh kilometres.

In a letter addressed to Government of Karnataka, BMTC has also asked the state to allocate Rs 750 crore to it for buying at least 2,000 new buses in the next financial year.

- - - BMTC had a fleet of 6,775 buses in the year 2013-14 but now the number has dropped to 6,400 or so due to non-induction of new buses.

"To make people shift from a private mode of transport to public transport, induction of new buses is a must. In addition to the growing demand, we are connecting sub-urban areas located 25 kilometres away from the city and a lot of residential areas are coming up in the outskirts," another official of the BMTC added.


For the full text of the report in the Bangalore Mirror, click here.

Better would be for BMTC to stick to just the Big-10, trunk, ORR routes, and leave the linkages to these to be provided by "shuttle services" run by ZipGo (check here), "aam-ZipGo" (or, "Praja-saarige", as we had conceived it long ago - check here), Namma Metro's own shuttle services, and more. And, for proper facilitation and regulation (rather than "control", which is what is being exercised today by the Transport Commissioner, and his RTO lot, using archaic laws, like the Contract Carriage Act, etc), as also seamless transit for the commuters between the different modes of public transport, what we urgently need is a properly empowered UMTA (unified Metropolitan Transort Authority).

First and foremost, the government needs to give up its monopoly, when very clearly it doesn't have the capacity to meet the varying and humungous demands of today's world. That's the bigger challenge, and that's where the people need to start demanding the opening up of the services, and stridently too. There's no time to lose.

Muralidhar Rao
MaheshK's picture

Issues with VRL

up
29 users have liked.

Normally I don’t use private transport buses like VRL or SRS.. This time I thought let me try. I got ticket with VRL to go to Karwar. Big mistake. I should have stuck to KSRTC.

The bus (6154) was 25 minutes late when it came to Yeshwantpur location. It was supposed to come at 9.20 pm. By the time the bus left the Peenya pickup, it was 10.30 pm. He stopped at Nelamangala for food at 11.20 pm. These are small issue that can be overlooked. Here are the major ones:

The bus reached Karwar 4 hrs late. The driver did not know the route. He was given the instruction how to go to Karwar via other places. He was lost and was constantly asking for directions. This is the issue with private operators who don’t give a s**t.

Three Hindi speaking girls got into his cabin in the morning. Not sure why, probably they were bored of sitting in their seats. There is a partition with a door between the driver’s cabin and the passengers. These girls sat in his cabin for 2-3 hours distracting him by talking and laughing loudly. Is it not against the rules to allow passengers in the cabin? If so, VRL is above the law?

He almost skipped Gokarna stop. Those who had to get down protested, thereby getting the bus stopped at Gokarna post.

The driver stopped wherever he wanted. No one asked why. For no reason he stopped thrice for 15 minutes each. We can’t question the private operators I guess. The guy sitting next to me said that VRL is kind of risky, once you are inside the bus you are at their mercy no matter what. In all these, our people kept quiet, never asked anything to the driver regarding being late, girls, etc. Later I realized that they were getting dropped right at their doorsteps.

While coming back I took the KSRTC. He left Karwar on spot of the time. The conductor told me that some ex MLA and his people would be picked up in Kumata bus stand. Those folks never came. He waited for 5 minutes that was allotted. Whether the bus was full or not, it did not bother them as they had to stick by the time. I guess that is not the case with private operators. They want more people to come (and accommodate them in driver’s cabin and rooftop). The VRL stopped wherever the passengers asked to get down, in front of their house or near the cross roads. That shows lack of discipline. 

I will shoot off an email to VRL. Hope to receive some response. 

murali772's picture

again, licence-permit raaj to blame

up
30 users have liked.

@Mahesh - Undoubtedly, an extremely bad show by VRL. Do lodge your complaint with VRL, and if they respond, do post the same too here.

Recently, I had a delay issue with Ola cab, and against my complaint, the following is the response I got:

"Thank you for writing in.

I understand that you had an issue with your booking with Ola. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced in respect to this booking.

At Ola, we take pride in ensuring our customer’s satisfaction. Unfortunately, we did not meet your expectations.

In this regard, I will certainly forward this issue to the relevant team and the same feedback will be conveyed to the driver as well. We are working on everything possible to ensure situations like these are not repeated in the future.

Hope we serve you better on the upcoming rides with Ola."


Subsequently, they refunded the charge too, though I had availed the ride. That's what I would term professionalism.

Now, have you ever even heard of BMTC/ KSRTC responding to a complaint, apart from perhaps the customery "we are looking into it", if at all ? And, don't tell me all your travels with them have always been exemplary. Either way, I suppose, you wouldn't want to do that, particularly on a day when there's this report (in Toi, talking about the neck and neck race between a BMTC bus and a KSRTC bus, on the Nayandahalli fly-over, leading to the death of a young bike rider. Besides, I have recorded here some of my personal experiences, with rash driving by KSRTC drivers, over a drive to Mangalore, a few years back).

Besides, if you had booked with "RedBus", they have a post-travel rating system, and if you record your complaint there, it'll show up when somebody attempts anew to make a booking by the same carrier. Because of all of these, the services of the carriers have largely improved over time.

In fact, my mother-in-law, at a ripe 74, has been travelling all by herself to her native Udupi/ Karkala, almost once every quarter (on an average), by the same VRL (besides Durgamba, Sugama, Vishal, etc), and the only odd problem she has encountered is delay, but on account of hold-ups at Shiradi/ Charmadi ghats, or the "InvestIndia jamboree" (early this month) in Bengaluru. My children, or I help her board in Koramangala, and her nephew picks her up at the alighting point. And, if there's a problem at the alighting point, the conductor or the company staff have invariably come forward to help engage an auto, or whatever. I too have travelled enough times by the same route, and others too, and I haven't faced any serious problems that I'd want to complain about.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the rogue driver, on your trip, was from the KSRTC, moon-lighting during off-duty days that they get to take rest after undertaking long haul trips. I have come upon enough of them coming to my factory (when I was running my business), to pick up goods on behalf of long haul trucking contractors, who thereafter hand over charge to the regular drivers at the contractors' depots at places like Nelamangala.

Now, the problem, to begin with itself, is that all of these are licensed as "Contract Carriage" operations, though they are in essence operating as "Stage Carriages" - for more on that, check here. And, that's plainly why you don't have the real big names, who can make the real big difference in service quality, in the picture, inspite of the huge demand and consequent business opportunity. The VRL's are the better of the "bad" lot, who have mastered the "technology" of "managing" the transport department, RTO, police and other government johnnies, who together constitute the mafia confederation, headed of course by the politicos. And, till such times as that's dismantled (which is what my petition is all about), there'll be the limits to quality of service.

I have said all of this enough times before too; is any of it difficult to understand? Why do you then repeatedly come up with the same questions, rather than very simply joining in the demand for the change, please?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Will the state govt take the cue at least now?

up
55 users have liked.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2016-17, announced the government will open the road transport in passenger segment to the private sector. The minister said that that the Motor vehicle will be amended to enable entrepreneurship in the transport sector.

The proposed move will not only help in facilitating better commuting for the masses but also give a tough challenge to the State Transport Undertakings(STUs),  incurring huge losses and need to be more efficient. For the majority of the STUs it would be question of their their survival considering their poor financial health and for bearing the burden of popular political moves by states.

- - - In 2012-13, none of the state road transport undertakings (SRTUs) out of the total 55 made profit.

The undertakings time to time demanded that they were in dire needs of funds and expecting financial support by way of grant. According to the sources, they don’t have resources for capital investment which includes increasing the fleet size, modernizing the workshop, deployment of Information Technology in operations etc. As a result operating costs is high. So, opening up it for private sector makes a sense.

- - - in the last five years the population has grown so the commuters. But, if we compare the overall fleet of STUs its more or less same in the last five years. Since the STUs are incurring losses, the STUs are not in possession to add the fleet.

Corporations in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have already wound up its transport corporation because of financial stress.


For the full text of the report in the Business Standard, click here.

The important question is will "namma state governmentu" take the cue, at least now, and act fast to open up the services, or does it have to be pushed into doing it through a court order.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

another writing on the wall

up
54 users have liked.

There is a need to ensure greater competition in the country in sectors such as public transport, railways and power distribution, which are dominated by the public sector, to ensure better products and services, according to Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister.

“Competition is at the heart of a market economy. Socialism, per se, is anti-competitive as it promotes state-owned monopolies and restrictions. That is never in the consumer interest. It is always competition which ensures that the best product and service wins,” he said while delivering a lecture on ‘Competition, Regulator and Growth’ at an event organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). “Competition creates innovation, efficiency, price competitiveness, greater choice and better quality of products and services and higher investment,” he said.

- - - Turning to the public transport in states where government-owned companies enjoy a monopoly, he said the Centre wants to free this sector up for competition and will work with the state governments on the matter.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in The Hindu, click here.

This is what this blog has all been about from 2009, as also for which I have been campaigning from even earlier.

Now it looks like the Central govt is going to be doing everything possible to facilitate it, and simultaneously every thing possible to make it difficult for the states (after all, it's a state subject) to continue the status quo. All strength to their efforts.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

last ditch battle by the transport ministry

up
49 users have liked.

Taking a big step in protecting the interests of State road transport corporations (RTCs), the Karnataka government has decided to nationalise all bus routes in the State for the exclusive operation of RTCs, while allowing only “existing, valid and in operation” private bus permits to continue.

A draft notification issued on Friday by the Transport Department implies that the KSRTC, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Northwest KRTC and Northeast KRTC can offer services on new routes to the exclusion of private operators.

Two reasons appear to have compelled the government to come out with the new scheme. The T.M. Vijay Bhaskar Committee, appointed by the government following the Supreme Court direction in December last, has held that 3,225 permits that overlap/intersect with nationalised routes issued to private operators were illegal. He had recommended cancellation of those permits. The aggrieved operators have now moved the High Court against this recommendation.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told The Hindu that the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill 2015, of the Union government, if enacted, would compel the RTCs to compete with private operators. Since the RTCs in south India were robust, the governments intended to protect them. When routes in the entire State were nationalised, there would be no scope for entry of other operators, he said.


KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation general secretary H.V. Ananthasubba Rao has welcomed the move. KSRTC Managing Director Rajender Kumar Kataria said the RTCs were geared to meet any additional demand as they had spare buses.

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in The Hindu, click here.

So, even as the Transport Bill is expected to be passed by the Parliament soon, facilitating an end to government-RTC monopoly regime, which line of thinking is being aggressively mooted by Central govt ministers led by Arun Jaitley (check my post of 22nd May, scrolling above), Namma Transport minister avaru appears desperate to protect his turf, backed of course by the union lot and other members of the 'con'-federation. The question that needs to be asked of him is, if the RTC's and BMTC are as robust as he claims them to be, why do they need 'protection' from competition from private players? The fact of the matter in addition is that perpetuation of the monopoly regime is totally detrimental to public interest, in very many ways, as has been brought out in the debates over this blog (as also many others linked here), and as such, the government owes it to the people to end it forthwith.

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

The last two days have been

up
50 users have liked.

The last two days have been terrible thanks to BMTC.

Do we still need to maintain the status quo on nationalization of routes?

 

 

murali772's picture

enormous cost of putting all our eggs into BMTC/ KSRTC basket

up
46 users have liked.

The only logical solution, both in the medium and long term, is public bus transport of various sizes and types, supplemented by web-based taxi and auto services like Ola and Uber. Private vehicle ownership needs to be heavily taxed and restricted to side roads and off-peak hours. Odd-even is tough to monitor; complete bans are easier.

The problem with the way state and private bus companies are regulated now suggests rigidity, when, in fact, flexibility is key.

- - - The second prong of a public transport policy should be to expand the taxi and auto population – primarily to cater to the demand for personal transport.


For the full text of the article titled "Why The Future Of Urban Transport Is The Bus, And Not Necessarily The Metro" in "Swarajya", click here.

More or less what I too have been saying from long, more specifically in this blog itself. And, in the matter of aggregated cab/ bus services, in this blog. As for the 'auto', I'd like to think that it's time it's slowly phased out of the city, as argued here.

Another major problem with the present approach of putting all our eggs into the BMTC/ KSRTC basket is what we are facing today in the form of the state-wide indefinite strike crippling the entire economy (check here).

What's required today is more people talking this language, and loudly too.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

flogging tired horses

up
43 users have liked.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation needs to take a sharp look at its finances. Its plans to buy 1,700 buses this financial year may go kaput due to shortage of funds.

Another reason it is likely to cut its purchases down by half is because it has to spend an additional Rs 10 crore as salaries every month owing to the revised salaries.

Experts say there should be at least 120 buses per lakh of the city’s population. However, the BMTC has only 6,347 buses against the required number of 14,000 buses. The BMTC has not added a single bus to its fleet since December 2014.

This is because the BMTC is not getting adequate funds from the government to buy new buses. Sources say that nearly 1,000 buses from the existing fleet are ready to be scrapped since they have crossed 10 years period of service or 8.5 lakh km in running.  “We are forced to retain some of the buses because of shortage of vehicles. The plan for new buses will be delayed due to the financial crisis,” said a BMTC official.

“We have received nearly 1,000 suggestions on ‘need more buses’ option on the BMTC website, but we are unable to increase the number of buses without financial assistance from the government. The government is also not allowing us to increase the bus fare to reduce the operational loss” he said.


- - - Experts say rise in traffic congestion and air pollution in the city is because more people were forced to depend on private vehicles due to inadequate number of buses. M N Srihari, traffic expert and adviser to the government, said the government should introduce more mini buses in the city and also rationalise the routes in such a way that it will attract more commuters to  public transport.

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

Excerpts from another related report, again in the New Indian Express (for the full text, click here):

A day after announcing a 12.5 pay hike for its staff, the KSRTC is staring at the prospect of bleak finances.

“It will be difficult to pay salaries in time three months from now,” Rajender Kumar Kataria, managing director, KSRTC, told Express. “We need an additional Rs 14 crore a month to be able to pay the new salaries.”

Dr Ekroop Caur, managing director, BMTC, said her organisation was equally worried. “We will have an additional burden of Rs 10 crore a month. So delays in salaries payments are possible,” she told Express.

The two other corporations run by the government, NWKRTC and NEKRTC, are not cash-rich either.  


Very simply, things have gone far beyond the stage of government-run organisations managing these key infrastructure areas by themselves. It is like when the airline services were the monopoly of Air-India, or the Telecom services were the monopoly of BSNL. It's high time the organised private sector was facilitated entry into this most vital sector too, in a methodical way. And, one would hope the experts would start saying that straight to the government, instead of flogging the tired horses that are the BMTC, RTC's.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Contra-vision

up
46 users have liked.

The entry of the private sector in multiple areas in the wake of reforms took away the power state-owned companies had over the lives of ordinary citizens.

So in this new age of market economy, it's a crying shame that the public transport sector, the backbone and lifeline of an economy, is choking under the yoke of two state-run moribund companies - KSRTC and its cousin BMTC, both glaring anachronisms. The state has mortgaged its wealth and future to a few inefficient, loss-making government- owned companies and has painted itself into a corner wherein a few thousand employees can hold the state ransom and bring it to its knees.

While crony capitalism usurps the state's critical resources through a nexus with politicians and government functionaries to benefit from favourable laws and tax concessions, crony socialism is equally pernicious. Large state-owned corporations snuff out competition allowing ruling parties and bureaucrats to defraud the exchequer by appointing their cronies to these companies, who in turn dispense favours and lucrative contracts to their kin.


For the full text of the column by Capt G R Gopinath in the ToI, click here.

When that's the kind of disruptive vision that's badly needed today, the "Sub-Group on Traffic of the Bengaluru Vision Group" is happy perpetuating the status quo, going by its press release (dated 30th July - accessible here), which inter-alia states "Ban on Stage Carriage buses within Outer Ring Road; Ban on private bus permits till establishment of private bus terminals", even while ironically talking of "Promoting Public Transport".

Well, to its credit, it may be said that it has "recommended Commuter Rail Service", though from a reading of the full text, one gets the feeling it has not quite understood the concept clearly.

It also talks of reviving the "Citizen’s Traffic Forum Meetings". I don't know if this is the same forum that was started by Mr Saleem, IPS, when he took charge years back as the Addl Commissioner, Traffic, but which his followers didn't seem to care much about. I used to be a member of the forum, and I'll dare say it served a useful purpose, though, of course, it too couldn't look at any disruptive solutions, along the lines suggested by Capt Gopinath. Without that, it'll just remain fire-fighting, even as we are faced with a conflagaration.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

mega spend based mobility approach

up
48 users have liked.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Tranportation Corporation is all set to bring up a modern bus terminal at Kalasipalya, a new depot at Anjanapura and an employees quarters at Gunjur. The BMTC laid the foundation stone to begin the construction and chief minister Siddaramaiah and Ramalinga Reddy, transport minister inaugurated the function held in the city on Thursday.

The modern bus terminal at Kalasipalya will be constructed on an area spreading over 4 acres and will have a number of facilities, said BMTC officials. The terminal will hold platforms for BMTC, KSRTC and inter state buses as well as a score of amenities including a subway connectivity to the metro rail. The project costs Rs 60 Crore.

- - - BMTC further plans to open operations at the newly constructed depots at Mandur and Kodathi. Further, 6 traffic and transit management centers (TTMC) in Hebbal, Jayanagar 4th 'T' Block, Kathriguppe, Electronic City, Yelahanka (Puttenahalli), Chikkabettahalli (M S Palya) is underway, says BMTC.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

The whole approach of the present dispensation in the Transport Ministry seems to be to build something or the other (all mega, of course) in any vacant space in its possession, and thereafter divert the bus routings to fit the new "development", whether that fits into any overall scheme or not. The well conceived Big-10 scheme was intorduced essentially to change the routing approach to "direction-oriented", from the earlier "destination-oriented", considering the very many benefits that came with it, more particularly, the reduction in the numbers of routes (and the confusion that went with it). For all of that, the present dispensation has thrown the approach to the winds, and is set to make things messier for the commuters, all for the benefit of a few 'select' contractors. Given this approach, our traffic problems are only going to get worse, even more so than they presently are.

All of these are carried out in the name of giving primacy to state-owned BMTC/ KSRTC. It is quite like, just some decades ago, when Indian Airlines (as Air-India was then called) had a monopoly over Civil Aviation (including the airports), or BSNL/ MTNL over Telecom, SBI and subsidiaries in Banking, National Insurance and its three other versions in Insurance, etc, etc. Things changed dramatically when all of them were opened up. And, that needs to happen in bus transport services too, with Ola, Uber, ZipGo, CityFlo, VRL, Greenline, Orange, Kesineni, etc etc coming into the picture too to provide a variety of services, and with all the terminuses (and TTMC's) managed by a SPV in a PPP mode (well, yes, under the overall oversight of a UMTA - Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority), if the car users have to switch to patronising them, for their routine commute at least. A monopoly, and a government one at that, cannot do the job.

Excerpts from another ToI report (emphasis added by me) read as below (for the full text, click here):

Chief minister Siddaramaiah has suggested setting up five separate subgroups as part of the Vision Group for Industrial Development of Karnataka to address issues ranging from infrastructure bottlenecks to maintaining the state's position as a leading investment destination.

- - - Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon, said she had suggested the government come up with a comprehensive e-commerce policy and appoint Sachin Bansal as the head of the e-commerce group.“He is a natural fit as he knows the pains and opportunities of the sector which has seen huge investments in the past few years,“ she told STOI. Each sub-group should be chaired by someone who has been associated with the segment and the government needs to adopt a PPP model to implement all the policies, she said.


Well, quite like Sachin Bansal heading the e-commerce vision group on e-commerce, what's required is a Transportation professional heading the "mobility" vision group, which will "disrupt" the hold of the present dispensation (which is essentially perpetuating its vested interests, in the name of state-ownership), and come up with sustainable and comprehensive solutions, if we are to get out of the mess we are in.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

moral of the 'bandh' story

up
29 users have liked.

Though the all-India workers' strike disrupted normal life, there was an upside to it - empty streets. While public transport was off the roads, autorickshaws were operational. So was Metro.

Nationalized banks, and schools and colleges remained shut. Government and private offices, hotels, malls and theatres functioned normally. Online food and other delivery services worked without any glitches. ATMs and petrol bunks, too, were open.

- - - BMTC and KSRTC buses remained grounded till evening. People arriving at the bus and railway stations had to depend on Metro trains or a few cabs and autorickshaws which ventured out to make a fast buck. - - - KSRTC officials at the Majestic bus terminal said, "No services operated during the morning and efforts are being made to accommodate those who missed their trips in other buses in the evening."


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the ToI, click here.

The moral of the bandh story very plainly is not to have public sector monopolies operating our utility services.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

city needs salvation from BMTC

up
64 users have liked.

With a chunk of the working crowd residing along the East-West corridor opting to take the Metro instead of their cars or bikes, companies now have empty spaces in their parking bays.

- - - Sanjay Gupta, Director of Dynpro Services Ltd, based in Halasuru, said “Around 30 per cent of my staff have now switched over to Metro. Colleagues would earlier argue about parking their vehicles in the premises. Ten vehicles would be vying for the available six spaces. We now find at least two spaces empty at any given point of time.”

- - - Raghavendra, who works in Mahadevapura, too has switched to the Metro. He used to travel by car from Magadi Road to his office. “I now take the Metro up to Baiyappanahalli and use public transport from there. I do have parking space at my office, but I don’t need it anymore,” he said.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

Shows very clearly that with efficient and reliable public transport, even the highest level of people will not hesitate to switch to using it for their regular commute. Metro however has limitations over providing the last mile connectivity, which is where good feeder bus services need to come in. And, that's where the city has failed the citizen by entrusting the job to BMTC, the government monopoly, which just cannot meet the demand (being more of a mafia confederation than a utility service provider), this factor alone being majorly responsible for the chaotic mobility scene in the city, and thereby the city's productivity.

Following are excerpts from another report in NIE same day (full text may be accessed here):

At present, BBMP has multi-level parking facilities in three places and street parking facilities on two major roads. The BBMP is also planning to create a multi-level parking space at Freedom Park. Proposals were made to build such facilities at Russel Market and Gandhi Bazaar also, but no progress has been achieved. A BBMP official said, “We can easily identify areas to construct parking lots. Buildings that don’t comply with laws can be demolished.”

Like the BBMP, BMTC too provides multi-level parking facility in nine places. - - - A BMTC official said, “We have constructed TTMCs in major bus terminals. The facilities have added to BMTC’s revenue. The next TTMC will be build under PPP model, so BMTC will not have any capital investment. This is a model which BBMP can emulate since it has more land.”

Another proposal by BBMP was the pay-and-park project on 52 roads in the Central Business District. Tender for the project was announced three times in the last few years, but very few participated in the bidding and none of them qualified. BBMP official added that they will be calling fresh tender bids.

The overall approach should be to disincentivise people from taking their individual vehicles out at least for regular daily commute. As such, the need is not for more parking lots; but, better public transport. But, BMTC being BMTC, it is not interested in that; it is only interested in building more of its grotesque TTMC's, whether required or not, on vacant land under its control, uglifying the city landscape, in addition.

In essence, the city needs salvation from BMTC and those heading it.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

BMTC now seeking salvation from the government

up
17 users have liked.

The BMTC’s records show that the percentage of cancellations of its schedules due to various reasons such as breakdown and staff members going on leave has increased from 2.5 per cent in 2010-11 to 10.7 per cent in 2015-16 (till August). Besides, the mileage of BMTC buses has also reduced from 4.01 kmpl (kilometres per litre) in 2010-11 to 3.76 kmpl now, which is lower than the national average of 3.82 kmpl.

Experts say the drastic decline in operational efficiency of the buses is mainly due to its ageing fleet.

- - - A BMTC official said that unfit buses are responsible for the frequent breakdowns. “The maintenance cost of old buses is high. We have been forced to cancel many bus schedules because of the unfit buses. This has also reduced bus frequency and affected revenue.”


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

In my last post here (of 24th Sept - scroll above to check), I had stated that "the city needs salvation from BMTC and those heading it". From a reading of the above report, it appears even the BMTC itself is seeking salvation from the government. So, why is the government making BMTC struggle this way? Solutions will automatically evolve once the sector is opened out to competition from from reputed private players. So, let that happen; rather, let people start demanding that it happen.

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

Small mercy! The parastatal

up
11 users have liked.

Small mercy!

The parastatal BMTC agrees to run services till 1:00 AM on select routes.

murali772's picture

Steel-Flyover-Beda; BMTC monopoly-nu beda

up
18 users have liked.

A petition against the RajBhavan-Hebbal Steel Flyover (check the debate here) stated inter-alia as follows:

If you really have the conviction and commitment to fix Bengaluru traffic congestion, you must do the following to improve PUBLIC transport instead of VIP transport.

   1) Commuter Rail - namma Railu - get it on fast track
   2) Increase the fleet size of BMTC. Subsidize bus fares. 30 lakh users!
   3) Expedite metro and ensure feeder bus connectivity
   4) Build a network of foot paths and bicycle lanes through out the city


A citizen responded with "Definitely do not support point 2, BMTC is pathetic and urgently needs competition, no point flogging that dead horse".

Can't agree with him more.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

CBS hopefully 1st step towards dismantling BMTC monopoly

up
9 users have liked.

For thousands of corporates and techies in the city, flexible working hours are not such a boon. Their precious time is mostly wasted on roads, manoeuvring their vehicles for hours through choking traffic. To make commuting hassle free, the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) has now come up with the Common Bus System (CBS) that would make shuttle services available for employees at any point throughout the day.

"We are planning to have a common transportation system that will enable employees of all 45 member companies between Sarjapura Junction and Marathahalli to travel from their residence to the company and back. Jones Lang LaSalle, an international real estate service consultant, is our integrator which will tie up with private bus operators to provide shuttle services. They will operate from 7am to 9pm from various points in the city towards companies on ORR," said Captain Poornaprajna, honorary president, ORRCA.

The trial will begin from the first week of January, with 15 buses plying on 15 routes. Each bus will enter IT Parks and pick and drop employees of all companies housed in a particular compound.

- - - HG Kumar, secretary of the State Transport Authority, said: "These buses need to have valid permits and the private bus operator must possess contract carriage permit. We will issue a private service carriage permit to ORRCA for running 15-odd buses hired from private operators."


IT giants in Electronic City, who have been hiring BMTC buses to transport their employees, seem to be not happy with the quality of buses provided.

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the ToI, click here.

This is a most welcome development, and perhaps the first step towards the much needed dismantling of the BMTC monopoly. But, the catch here, by which the babudom still wants to exercise it raaj (license-permit), is the fact that these operations are going to be licensed only as "contract carriages", which they can continue to exploit as it suits them (as to the definitions of various types of bus operations, and how the raaj works, check here).

The question that needs to be raised is "why is it that, even when reputed organisations like ORRCA are involved, the government refuses to give them the freedom to operate a little more freely (of course, duly regulated, ideally by an UMTA), when, over the many years of its monopoly operation, the BMTC has proved incapable of meeting the demand adequately?"

As I have been repeatedly saying from long, BMTC and its monopoly are the prime reason for the poor mobility quotient in the city. High time the Civil Society came together to demand the dismantling.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

unsafe for everyone; not just for school children

up
11 users have liked.

Close on the heels of the miraculous escape of 52 school students from a BMTC bus that caught fire on December 3, the transport department on Wednesday seized 21 BMTC buses for violating Supreme Court safety norms. The seized buses were ferrying students of Vidyaniketan School on Ullal Road near Mallathahalli.

“We found that the buses were operating without first-aid box, side safety grilles and CCTV cameras. Buses were also poorly maintained,” said a senior transport department official.

BMTC operates nearly 300 buses to ferry school children. On Saturday, a BMTC bus ferrying 52 students to Srirangapatna for an excursion caught fire on the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. An electrical short circuit was stated to be the reason.

Sources say most BMTC buses don’t follow the Supreme Court guidelines while transporting school children.

They also lack other basic facilities like fire extinguisher, first-aid-box and speed governor.
Transport department officials told Express there is a mounting pressure on them from the ministry not to take any action against the BMTC buses.

“We have been told not to take action against state-run buses since it will defame the government. But we cannot turn a blind eye to these violations for a long time. Saturday’s incident was a classic example of how BMTC buses are unsafe for school children,” said a senior transport department official.

- - -  Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy was unavailable for comment.  

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

They are unsafe not just for school children; but for regular commuters too, apart from being corruption-ridden. Examples abound on Praja of their unsafe ways (check here, for instance), and, the inevitable political interference (as long as they remain government-owned, as different from government, rather UMTA, regulated), will ensure that it will remain so. And, this is true for most public sector undertakings, as brought out more fully here.

That's precisely why I keep saying that the government's role should be limited to faciltating, regulating and controlling where essential (which is a more critical function, and which they are mandated to perform), rather than operating the services themselves. So, first and foremost, the monopoly needs to end.

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

BMTC's new gem, "It is

up
6 users have liked.

BMTC's new gem, "It is not economical to run CNG buses."

GAIL has come back with a point by point rebuttal of BMTC's claim.

Wonder what the bosses at BMTC think of themselves.

 

murali772's picture

calls for a court contempt petition

up
8 users have liked.

A senior motor vehicle inspector, who cancelled fitness certificates of 21 BMTC buses, has been shifted out of the transport department’s enforcement wing to the border check post in Attibele.  Known as a no-nonsense officer N Kariyappa, who has also taken tough action against several private bus operators, was reportedly targeted for enforcing stringent action against BMTC buses that violated safety norms.

- - - Sources told Express that there was lot of pressure on him from various quarters after he issued notices against BMTC buses ferrying students for non-compliance with Supreme Court safety norms. On Wednesday, Kariyappa cancelled fitness certificates of 21 buses that were ferrying students of a private school as they didn’t follow SC guidelines.

This obviously did not go down well with some politicians and senior government officials, including BMTC officials, who felt the action against their buses may defame the government. And, they decided that Kariyappa had to go from the enforcement squad of the transport department as early as possible.

- - - BMTC operates more than 200 buses for over 40 private schools across the city. Many of the buses don’t have first-aid box, fire extinguisher, side safety grills or CCTV cameras and have damaged seats and broken windshields, all going against the Supreme Court guidelines. However, Ekroop Caur, managing director of BMTC, maintains that all the buses ferrying students follow safety guidelines.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

So, rather than follow the safety norms prescribed by none less than the Supreme Court, the government johnnies (rather the mafia confederation lot, as I'd like to term them) come together to shunt out the inspector who refused to play footsie with them. This only when it comes to BMTC/ KSRTC buses. When it comes to private operators, however, they'll be made to follow the rules to the letter, however absurd they may be - check here, for one such scenario being played out.

Similar is the case of the BMTC Volvo buses displaying ads, that too of liquor (check the NIE report here), in blatant violation a high court ruling and a Road Safety Authority (RSA) decision which prohibits it - check here. Essentially, a matter of what's good for the goose being not so for the gander.

Again reiterates the point that government should get out of providing (dis)services - at least, to begin with, the monopoly needs to go. Perhaps, a court contempt petition citing the above violations needs to be pursued.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the question before every tax payer

up
6 users have liked.

Under the caption "BMTC makes a fresh start", a New Indian Express report (accessible here) states that it hopes to add 2658 buses in 2017; it's ITS project is likely to be launched by April'17, after being delayed for over a year. Further, apparently to reduce air pollution, it's board has given an in-principle approval for buying 150 electric buses, and has sought Rs 147.11 cr for from state for 200 CNG buses. It has also sought Rs 52.52 cr for installing CCTV cameras.

Now, the ITS project (costing a whopping Rs 79 cr) was supposedly launched in May '16, but with the caveat "initially, we are expecting technical glitches" - check here. As such, this talk now of it's being launched by April '17, is rather perplexing! The so-termed technical hitches don't seem to have been sorted out, even half a year after the so-called launch, and one wonders what's going to be the fate of it all after the fresh launch in April this year.

Very clearly, the BMTC doesn't have the capacity (or unable to garner it, for various reasons) to manage all of these, or even its basic function of operating a decent bus service. As such, the question arises as to why the government should be putting more and more of the tax payers' money into it, more particularly so when there are enough and more entrepreneurs ready to provide all of the services that BMTC is currently providing, and a lot more, at far better terms too (even to the aam aadmi).  It's high time every tax payer (which includes the aamest of the aam aadmi, who may be buying even the cheapest of soaps) pondered over this.

Well, BMTC can remain. But, given the fact that they are not in a position to add new buses, even as many old ones are being withdrawn (being un-roadworthy), it would be best their services are confined to say the Big-10 routes, all of the rest being farmed out to the private sector, perhaps along the lines suggested here (or variations thereof, also debated in the same blog). Simultaneously, the BMTC could be down-sized too, and all of the TTMC's brought under an SPV, to be managed professionally. To oversee all of these, ideally it should all start with the setting up of an UMTA

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

time for a mass movement

up
3 users have liked.

@Vasanth - Finally, WRI seems to have woken up to the reality and beginning more or less to echo what I have been saying for ages, and which I had specifically pointed out to them in March '14 at their ConnectKaro event - check here.

What is now required is for all of the Citizens, Civil Society, Think-tanks, and what have you, to come together and demand an end to the BMTC monopoly. Everything else will fall in place thereafter.

To begin with, perhaps everyone could endorse this "LetZipGoRun" petition. If the government doesn't heed, perhaps, I'll revive my PIL too.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

no power on earth shall disrupt the monopoly !!!

up
3 users have liked.

The following (in italics - emphasis added by me) are the excerpts from a report in the ToI (for the full text, click here), on the so-termed "Common Bus System" (debated earlier - check my post of 6th Dec'16, scrolling above) and my response to the same in regular text:

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will relaunch special services on the IT corridor, after the transport department withdrew permission for a private common bus system for 45 companies on Outer Ring Road. - - - Ramalinga Reddy said BMTC will be able to handle the services as it already serves Infosys, Wipro, ITPL, JFW and Manyata Tech Park. "We will buy 1,650 more buses this year, probably by March. We should be able to cater to the IT employees on ORR with about 800-odd buses.

In the first place, as a government monopoly, their first priority should be to serve the needs of the aam aadmi. When that's far from satisfactory, how can they be targeting the needs of the khaas aadmi???  - check here, for more on that.

The quality of the buses will be better. The services can be mapped as the companies' association has planned. This will improve people's confidence in BMTC and increase public transport usage," he said.

BMTC's only satisfactory service, viz the Vaayu Vajra, is also falling apart - check here. As such, how can they be expected to do any better with this service?

- - - Sources said the transport department had admitted that it was a mistake to have issued permission for a common bus system as bus aggregation by private parties is not allowed under the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules.

Rules are meant to facilitate the service to the people. In Karnataka however they are there to perpetuate the vested interests of the Transport Mafia Confederation.

"First BMTC did not show interest. A private real estate consultant agreed to be the aggregator of buses operated and owned by private sector. We also got special permission to operate the common bus system. Later the department withdrew the permission.

As I understand, the proposed "Common Bus System" was based on a model already operating successfully in Pune. Very clearly our Transport Mafia Confederation is the biggest hindrance to any improvement in the livability factor in our blessed city.  

Now BMTC has agreed to deploy its fleet for the service, catering to over four lakh employees of all 45 companies between Silk Board and Mahadevapura junction on ORR. The BMTC app is fantastic and can improve reliability of the service," said Captain Poornapragnya, honorary president of Outer Ring Road Companies' Association.

Their thrice inaugurated ITS is still not quite operational, for all of the Rs 79 cr spent on it - check here. How this "app" shapes up is to be seen. Conning the public is an art they have quite mastered - check here.

All in all, high time people came together to demand opening up of the sector to effective competition from reputed players, overseen by UMTA.

Muralidhar Rao
pathykv's picture

I fully agree. The Rules

up
4 users have liked.

I fully agree. The Rules should be changed to benefit the commuters.

Monopoly should be broken.

K.V.Pathy

murali772's picture

the pointless struggle

up
4 users have liked.

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s cash cows, its Volvo buses, are facing service issues sooner than expected (check here for the full text of the report in the New Indian Express).

Faced with a fund crunch, the transport utility is likely to operate conductor-less Metro feeder services in the city (check here for the full text of that report in the New Indian Express).

In essence, there's nothing that's going right for BMTC. The other way of seeing it is that they just don't have the capacity to manage the show - everything is a struggle for them - yes, largely because of government ownership (resulting in political interference - check here, as to how the Chairman wants to build a multi-speciality hospital, amidst all of these problems), besides the monopoly status. Doesn't the answer then become obvious (those still unaware, please read the opening post of this blog)? What is anybody waiting for?

The Kerala High court had long ago advised the Kerala SRTC to close down and hand over the job to the private sector, when it placed a list of woes before the court, in a similar context (check here). May be Bengaluru citizens will likewise have to get the Karnataka High Court ask BMTC to curtail its operations to the extent it can possibly manage, and leave the rest to the private sector - all of course under the oversight of a properly constituted UMTA.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

a new Limca award for KSRTC?

up
3 users have liked.

The state government on Tuesday transferred KSRTC managing director Rajender Kumar Kataria to the Commerce and Industries Department, where he will now serve as the Secretary.

Sources told Express that the transfer has nothing to do with the bus accident but Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and KSRTC Chairman K Gopal Poojary were allegedly not in good terms with Kataria. The rumour of Kataria’s transfer has been doing the rounds in Vidhana Soudha for a week. Sources said the minister and chairman sent a letter to the Chief Minister asking for his transfer.

“He was not in the good books of politicians as he insisted on transparency in procurement of new buses, tyres and spareparts,” a source in KSRTC said.

- - - Kataria, who took charge as the KSRTC MD in 2014, introduced several initiatives, including MITRA, the country’s first Intelligent Transport System in Mysuru along with a mobile app. Under his tenure, KSRTC entered the Limca Book of Records for receiving the most number of awards (125) by a government-run transport utility.


For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

Well, there's no smoke without fire. Apparently, the Monday night fire accident involving a KSRTC bus (click here for that report in the NIE), came as a convenient opportunity for the politicos to shunt out Mr Kataria, who was apparently not playing ball.

Perhaps Limca record statisticians should now check if KSRTC would be eligible for a recognition for shunting out the maximum number of honest officials. Or perhaps, which of the Karnataka politicos has been responsible for shunting out the maximum number of honest officials.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Bhagya-na idu???

up
5 users have liked.

In a move that could benefit poor people travelling in BMTC buses, the state government is likely to announce ‘Bus Bhagya Scheme’ in the upcoming budget.

Under the scheme, commuters can travel in special BMTC buses with a 50 per cent reduction in fare. BMTC officials said they will operate 100 ‘Bus Bhagya’ special buses in routes like Banashankari, Nagavara, Peenya, where economically weaker sections live and take buses.

“We have sent a proposal to the government after the BMTC Board approved the scheme. We need government subsidy to operate such buses. General public will also be allowed to travel in these special buses which will be launched after the budget,” a senior BMTC official said.

The scheme, similar to the previous BJP government’s Atal Sarige buses, is expected to benefit construction labourers, garment workers and others in the unorganised sector.

BMTC officials said Atal Sarige buses, introduced in 2009, had received an overwhelming response. However, the present Congress-led government didn’t expand the number of buses, named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, over the years. At present, there are only 20 Atal Sarige buses covering 11 routes in the city despite a growing a demand from passengers.  


BMTC has the highest bus fare in the country. Commuters have been asking BMTC to reduce fares. Many people are also dependent on illegal private buses because of BMTC’s high fare.

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

BMTC's losses are largely due to inefficiency and corruption, quite like in most government set-ups too, particularly when they are monopolies. Subsidising the operation through this "bus bhagya" is only going to provide yet another fig leaf to cover up the rampant malfeasance that's already the order of the day there, and in fact engender opportunities for more.

This has been true of every such subsidy scheme, whether PDS (check here), or whatever. That's in fact why there has been the talk of crediting the money equivalent of the subsidy part of food-grain, kerosene, etc (currently sold through PDS) costs, directly into the bank accounts of the identified beneficiaries, more so after the tremendous success of the scheme tried out for domestic gas. So much so, even farmers are now beginning to ask for metered (and reliable) power supply, with subsidy whatever being routed directly into their bank accounts (check here), realising over the years the hollowness of "free power" talk.

BESCOM had all along been clubbing the city loads with rural loads, the case for the same being of one cross-subsidising the other. At the recent KERC hearing on power tariff increases, the regulator conceded as much as that it was working only to cover up the system inefficiencies, and as such it best be discontinued. In the case of BMTC, besides, both the high-end services as well as the low-end ones are making losses, and as such, the question of cross-subsidy doesn't arise even, while very much providing the convenient cover up for system inefficiencies.

Well, if the thinking is that, BMTC being a government agency, it's primary mandate is to provide "affordable" services to the aam aadmi, let it take up just the bhagya services, totally subsidised by the government, across the city, and leave the rest to private players to operate according to business models they may choose, all of them of course overseen by a properly constituted UMTA. Since otherwise, with the additional burden of the bhagya scheme, the regular operations will deteriorate further, and even the people who have been availing the services so far, will start switching to personalised forms of transport, causinbg to clutter the roads even more.

The fact of the matter is that private operations are already existing, quite as the report itself says, but carried on in a clandstine manner, operated largely by the members of the Transport Mafia Confederation, quite as stated by a top official of the private bus operators' federation - check here

The question also arises as to what all bhagya's a government can afford. If it's required for bus services, what about for healthcare, education, power supply, water supply, etc etc, in addition to the many already on offer from the government (check here)? And, where does the money for it all come from? Taxes, of course, right? And, when you say taxes, it includes every paisa that's charged to even the aam aadmi on every second of his phone talk. So, the more the bhagya's, the more the taxes, meaning increased cost of living. So, it's vicious cycle; in effect, nobody benefits. All you'll end up with is poorer and poorer quality of services. Is that what you want to condemn the aam aadmi to suffer? The khaas aadmi will of course find alternatives.

Like I have stated earier too (check here) - bhagya alla swami idu; idu shaapa !!! Bhagya is for the Transport Mafia Confederation members in overall control.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

misdirected campaign

up
5 users have liked.

Public transport is the backbone of any sustainable city and, therefore, it is heartening that the Delhi government is taking a keen interest in promoting its usage. However, while affordability is critical to its usage, reducing fares alone will not draw users to the system. This was clearly highlighted by the Bangalore corporation’s Atal Sarige buses that were introduced at a subsidised rate of 50% of the normal fare for passengers from economically weaker sections. Studies showed that this service could not fully provide mobility to the urban poor in the city because availability and reliability of service was more important to the users than affordability.

The need is to provide better service to commuters, without hitting the revenue mechanism of the transport department.

Gustavo Petro, an economist and former mayor of Bogota, once said that a developed city is not one where the poor use cars, but one where the rich use public transport. Therefore, in order to address the issue of mobility and air quality in the national capital, the Delhi government needs to completely overhaul the public transport system and not just look at reducing fares. This will not be easy but Delhi has no other option.


For the full text of the column by Mr Amit Bhatt, Director-Integrated Transport at the World Resources Institute India, in Scroll, click here.

All of this applies equally to Bengaluru, and most other Indian cities. Very clearly therefore, the answer is not the "bhagya" that's being demanded by the "Citizens for Bengaluru" group. Yes, we need more buses. But, it'd be best if the sector is opened out to reputed private players for that, yes, under the overall oversight of a well-constituted UMTA, as has been argued in the blog all along.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

khaas aadmi has it fine; aam aadmi denied his due

up
3 users have liked.

Uber & Ola seem to have tweeked their models (check here) to achieve better stability of operations over the past few days, going by my experience over the past few days. Their services, overall, are undoubltedly a boon, but for the khaas aadmi (amongst whom I'll include myself)'s mobility across the city. The bigger boon for the "lesser of the khaas aadmi", particularly for his daily commute, would be if the government like-wise facilitates the operations of the likes of ZipGo (check here), which will simultaneously help reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Now, these are all solutions being offered by the organised private sector. The same lot (and more) can come up with solutions for the aam aadmi too, again, if properly facilitated. Expecting the government-owned monopoly, BMTC, to do it all, is where things have gone wrong all along.

The blame is largely on the people too, where they expect the government to do everything for them. The change perhaps has to happen there first.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Wasted resources

up
1 user has liked.

"Their (BMTC's) planning has kept buses as a key part of city building. Through the land monetisation policy, the government has kept a lot for depot space. Delhi has been facing hurdles in acquiring more buses because of depot space, Mumbai also didn't have depot space for years," Pawan Mulukutla, transport expert of World Resources Institute (WRI), said at the ConnectKaro conference on sustainable transport and urban development.

Bengaluru also has traffic and transit management centres (TTMC) where buses can be parked. The spare space can be rented out to offices and the money earned can be ploughed back into the bus service. "They have GPS tracking for buses. There is a control centre so that they can speak to drivers and check breakdowns at the earliest. They also have electronic ticketing
and an app for commuters which I will not call the best but they are improving," he added.

- - - Bengaluru has a segregated bus service system where premium and regular buses cater to all categories of commuters. "They have made big reforms over a period of time. They have also rationalised routes," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) at Centre for Science and Environment.


For the full text (emphasis added by me) of the report in the ToI, click here.

Saying all of the above, WRI went on to bestow an aTCward to BM too.

On land monetisation, the question that needs to be raised is who is the beneficiary. BMTC has gone and built-up its TTMC's on any and every piece of vacant land in its possession, whether they fit into the overall routing plan or not, blowing up a huge lot of JnNURM funds in the process, and uglifying the city landscape too. The only beneficiaries appear to be the ever busy contractors, and their political masters. Rather than housing the buses, they have caused the buses to be parked overnight on the main roads, leading to further cluttering of the already badly cluttered roads. A case in point is the Koramangala TTMC, more on which may be accessed here.

In addition, all of these are near empty, posing an additional burden on BMTC's finances, which are turning deeper red by the day, seriously affecting its main function of operating the services.

As for GPS tracking, etc, or the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) as they like to call it, it has been launched about thrice already, though it's yet to become functional. All of this after spending over Rs 79 crores on it, by the last count, whereas BMTC's counterpart in Mysore did it for something like Rs 15 cr, and an earlier basic service was available for a few lakhs. More on all of that may be accessed here.

And, there's lot more here and elsewhere on Praja too. And, for all of that, they are bestowed an award. What it says about the awardee and awarder, are for the people to judge. Apparently, with KSRTC winning a Limca award for most number of awards won (check here), BMTC is on a catch-up game, and what are friends in WRI for, if not to help out with the effort, right?

Well, WRI had all along been advocating BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system in cities across the country. That has largely been rejected by most as of now. A friend who was on a visit to Bogota recently, tells me that, even there, the talk has begun now of switching over to Metro. On power sector reforms, where too they were supposedly dabbling, their expert didn't seem to have much of a clue of the changes that had taken place in Delhi - check here.

All in all, "resources wasted" is what I'll conclude with.  

Muralidhar Rao

Praja.in comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!



about seo | blog