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Who is it - city government or us?

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How interesting to see different media houses use varying headlines to describe one same PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) survey on Bangalore city and governance.

- "We're to blame for city's woes" says Times of India Bangalore

- "Bangaloreans rue city governance" goes NDTV

- "B'lore citizens seek better urban governance" went the source at PTI

Here are some interesting notings from this PWC survey:

- Nearly 70% of citizens felt system to ensure accountability were inadequate.

How exactly would any system of accountability work if citizens themselves opt to keep out of it?

- Nearly 61% felt that ward level information on projects, including finances, were not accessible.

- 65% endorsed the need for citizen participation in preparation of ward-level plan

So 39% of folks felt that such information was accessible at ward-level! And 35% people dont feel the need for "participation". Those are big numbers, unless the sample size was too small.

- Half the respondents were satisfied with the quality of infrastructure projects executed

Sounds reasonable. Once the projects get completed, I can see some folks agree that those flyovers and ring roads are of acceptable quality.

- 56% were willing to pay higher usage charges for higher levels of services

More Volvo buses anyone? Higher tariffs for uninterrupted electricity? And more things like that?

And last:

- More people from lower income groups intend to vote in the next municipal elections compared to higher income groups

That isn't news, we knew that, didn't we!?


tsubba's picture

to their credit,

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to their credit, bangaloreans already pay more than others for public transit, that is what makes BMTC think of innovations. For as long as I remember, Chennai had the best system in SI, if not India, then suddenly, even as they watched, BMTC stole the thunder from right under their nose. (i forget the name of the neta who did this, but somewhere in late 90s, one guy had the brainwave to make it a stand alone system, due credits to him.) the thing about volvo is the attitude. even though i would prefer they call the service something else, it was very perceptive to id a class of service and facilitate it, rather than going about it dogmatically to fit a social theory. at the very least it shows that they are upto the cutting edge in bus tech & service. as far as the survey itself goes, i would say, tell us something new. for as long as we can remember, we have cribbed about how pedestrian the egov in india's silicon valley has been. I mean how many at praja were solicited? they would have given them an earful!! (modesty, whats that?) :) oh! btw, do check this, when is BLR going to go so idealistic?
City.Zen's picture

Bangalore's City Transport - privatize

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Tarle G: No doubt, BMTC is the best among govt. run city bus services in the country. It is only because the top people in the BMTC are honest, efficient, and innovative. God knows when the other kind will come in to make a killing. In spite of BMTC being the best, still, there is lot of scope for improvement. Problems are less frequency and more crowds in the non-volvo segment, lack of queues at KGS bus stand, higher ticket rates, high pilferage by conductors, etc. I have always been in favor of privatization. Just look at the services on the west coast Mangalore - same name as Bangalore except the initial letter. Even in Bangalore itself, private city buses running on the Chandapur road are better. Why should the government be in business at all, when private operators can offer cheaper and better service? City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture


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oh! sorry i intended to write best operated, simply wrote best instead. In BLR some QoS is going to suffer because of congestion. And I am not convinced that you can solve congestion by adding to it. But there is definitely a case for replacing what exists with a better services. Check Vasanth's ideas of these. SB, had mentioned about paying more for buses. And all I wanted to say was BLR already pays more. Why dont you write more about pivatization?
silkboard's picture

public or private

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Actually, on the subject of BMTC - I think the jury is still out on whether privatizing municipal transportation is better than having public monopolies. Look at Delhi. Privatizing city bus services hasn't help the city leapfrog its public transportation system. However, a public monopoly (Metro) is helping a bit. Looking deeper, even Metro alone can't solve Delhi's woes. We will hear more on this subject in due time, let the shine of glitzy stations die down a bit. An integrated transportation system is what we need. And private players can't have end to end role in any large integrated setup - thats too risky. A private monopoly, or even duopoly is worst than a public monopoly. Look at DTH for a fresh example. If you privatize Bangalore's bus services, private players will want to run higher margin services - Volvo types and pay less attention to lower margin mass transport systems. Regulation may help solve that - like it has in telecom sector where they force operators to spend in rural areas, directly or indirectly. Taking BMTC public (aka corporatizing it) may not the best answer as well. Should BMTC exist to make profits, or to provide services? Now just because I have confused the hell out of my own arguments here, don't expect me to provide a good answer here. The best I can think is an integrated transportation setup, with a govt body like BMTC to monitor it, and smaller pieces of this integrated setup thrown open to private players. So you would have - Metro competing with Indian railways or bus operators for long haul city routes - Separate set of companies competing on short-haul bus routes - Yet another set of companies competing on very-short local routes: provide autos, Revas or whatever to take me home from my bus stop or train station - Last, make sure no single player can provide service in all three categories. After all this, what does a BMTC like regulatory body do? They make sure that these separate pieces of transportation system mesh together really well in terms of schedules, fares and services like sanitation, information, and help for elderly/handicapped folks etc. Okay, I got to stop now.
City.Zen's picture

public or private

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Thanks S.B., for an excellent analysis! -- City Zen
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