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BMTC, corruption and ticket-less rides

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BusPublic Transport

So I did it, in fact twice now. Entered xxxE, knowing fully well that fare to my destination was Rs 6. Took out two 2 rupee coins - no ticket given, no questions asked. Next, I tried this in a Volvo xxxC. Was a bit nervous doing it, and must tell you that I succeeded only in my third attempt at this. Entered the bus, and when conductor passed by asking for tickets, I ignored him. When getting down at my destination, told him that hey, I forgot to buy the ticket. Promptly, I was asked for an amount which was lower than the fare amount (Rs 35). Somehow, felt uncomfortable cheating the bleeding Volvos, I said no, I want a ticket, and paid the full amount.

Hope you get the point. You can do it, easily in the regular buses, and not so easily in the Volvos. Now, to the analytical part - can we really estimate the volume of "corruption" here? How much money could BMTC be losing per day to such ticket-less rides? If we can estimate the "loss" or the "leak" - say Rs xx crores per month - then we will have numbers to build or justify a business case for BMTC to invest in systems or solutions to plug this leak.

Perhaps like this:

  • Total ticket revenue BMTC reports (from last annual report)
  • Assume average ticket amount, and average bus loads
  • Compare this with "observation" - like, from my observations inside 333E, 328c, 323 etc, I see 4-7 out of 60-70 going ticket-less
  • Compare the two - average load/amount based "gap", and observation estimate based "gap"
  • Then, some final numbers, and may be guess the per person 'corruption' amounts.

This is sort of like my past attempt at estimating the volume of corruption in Traffic Police's fine system. Wrote that post with hopes of getting loads of inputs and criticism, but it was not to be :). No worries.

Lets start

Thanks to the good work of Manjari/Rithesh/Syed/Shekhar and few more members, BMTC's stats are all available right here on Praja. See and

Enough datapoints there to make our guesses. Lets start then.

Key daily stats on BMTC

  • Makes 73240 trips
  • Performs 11.78 Lakhs Service Kilometres
  • Carries more than 38.00 Lakhs Passengers
  • Earns around Rs.258.54 lakhs
  • Everyday, about 1.82 lakhs daily passes are issued

Let us question that passenger volume stat - 38 lakh everyday - is that an estimate on number of actual people carried, or number of tickets sold? I will assume number of tickets sold (aka passenger trips).

So tickets sold per trip would be 38 lakh / 73420 = 52.

11.78 lakh service kilometers divided by 73240 = 16 km,  average length of a trip.

So 52 tickets sold per 16 km long trip.

Assumption time now.

  • assume avg BMTC bus capacity to be 50 (seat + stand).
  • assume that if averaged over a day/week, BMTC buses are 60% full. Reasonable I would say, 120% full during rush hour, and 40% rest of the day :)
  • Assume average commuter trip length of 8 km. Avg ticket cost is 258.58 lakh / 38 lakh = Rs 6.8. That amount will not take you much farther than 8 km.

With above assumptions, you would sell 60 tickets during a 16 km long trip. [60% of 50 x 16/8 = 30 x 2 = 60]

60 vs 52 = thats a leak of 15% on actuals (8/52 * 100).

How does this fit with our 'observations'. I have spied around on a few bus journies. 4 out of 60 once. 7 out of 70 another time. Not that off from the assumption driven calculations. Plus its hard to spy on the condcutor in a crowded bus.

Oh yeah, lot of assupmtions there. But how else can you guess all this?

Now, lets guess the personal gains.

Assume all of 258.58 lakh is daily traffic revenue. 15% of 258 ~ 38 lakhs a day.

That is Rs 11 crores a month.

Refer back to BMTC's statistics on workforce. Dedicated workforce of 20473

  1. Drivers (7489)
  2. conductors (5775)
  3. Driver / Conductors (3610)
  4. Maintenance staff (2107)
  5. administrative staff and others (1492)

Lets assume all this money is going to #1 #2 and #3 above. 7489 + 5775 + 3610 = 16874 people.

Rs 11 crore divided by 16874 = Rs 6500 per person per month.

Rs 6500 per month per person, possible personal share from the spoils from our ticket-less rides on BMTC.

How do you like that number?

PS1: Important Disclaimer - I am not claiming any accuracy on all this stats, I am not speculating any rackets either. I have no first hand information on the full and real scale of this possible corruption inside BMTC. I am just crunching numbers from BMTC, some observations on-ground, and a few assumptions to suggest a possibility.

PS2: A Request - Let us discuss the solutions (smart card, daily traveler credit , rfid tickets etc etc) in a separate thread.


silkboard's picture

10758 caught ticket-less in May 2009

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Here is one stat from BMTC themselves. They caught 10758 ticket-less riders in May 2009. [via Indian Express, June 13]

If we go by above 'leakage' estimate of 15%, we are talking 5.7 lakh ticketless rides everyday.

Even at 5% leakage (one third of the guess we made), we are talking 1.9 lakh offences each day.

Compare that with 11000 caught during the whole month :)

murali772's picture

tip of the iceberg

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Good work, SB. This is exactly how a businessman would make an analysis of his business and try to plug all the leakages. But, I wonder if anyone in BMTC has ever bothered (or will ever bother) to go into such details. It will be the same in BESCOM, BWSSB, etc also, I am sure.

Last week I had taken the BIAL-7A from Koramangala (dep 8.55 AM) to the airport. Over 50% of the passengers were short-ride passengers, most of whom seemed to be regulars, and from the glances exchanged and body languages of the passengers as well as the conductor, I couldn't get over a nagging suspicion that there were 'deals' going on.  

Your estimates cannot be too far off the mark. So, while 1, 2 & 3 make money this way, 6, 7, 8 - - - upto the minister, I guess, make money through the TTMC and such mega contracts. It's a co-operative society.

While working with the company which was providing the "Yelli Iddira?" service, I was privy to a whole lot of data on the VOLVO buses made available by the GPS service provider. Using the same, I had set up a monitoring and reporting system of the wayward ways of the bus drivers (on how they deviated from the routes arbitrarily leaving waiting passengers in the lurch, etc). No action was ever taken. Worse still, the GPS devices started going out of order more frequently, with the service provider telling me that it was happening because of deliberate tampering, obviously in collusion with the managers. Their eventual solution was not to regularise the YI contract, and push me out of the picture. Check this

Is it any surprise then that Prof Ashwin Mahesh is hardly getting any co-operation?

Muralidhar Rao
s_yajaman's picture

Monthly and daily passes and daily revenue

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BMTC also says that it issues about 2 lakh daily and 2.36 lakh monthly passes.   About 10% of the passengers would not need to buy tickets and therefore only about 34 lakh tickets would get sold or about

Latest number is 293 lakhs daily from their website.  or about Rs.35 lakhs more/day than your number or Rs.10 crores a month.  You might want to relook at your numbers in this light.  I don;t know how much a daily pass or monthly pass costs.

Also the routes you have are all red board routes where this problem is probably higher.  Black board routes probably are a bit better. 

Only way to get rid of this problem is to have stored value cards.  When you enter the bus you tap and the machine removes entire remaining journey fare.  Puts the onus of tapping on to the passenger when exiting the bus.  No cash transactions is the only foolproof way.  Then hefty fines for those who still cheat. 


P.S. For some reason the new posts don't seem to appear on the home page.


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

s_yajaman's picture

Ticket number lottery - used to be there long back

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Long back BTS had introduced a daily lottery based on the bus ticket number.  The first prize was quite significant. 

Better than having one big first prize have 100-150 prizes of Rs.500 or so.  That gives some incentive for people to buy tickets.


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

Rithesh's picture

BMTC inside story

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I work in ITPL and use the BMTC shuttle buses (buses contracted to ITPL). Speaking with the drivers in Kannada and enquiring about their problems is all that needs to get friendly with them. Generally most of them are well cultured and talk respectfully, may be it is because of the job pressure that sometimes they are rude when they interact with the commuters. 

This is what i was told by them about the corruption in the system.

Generally the bus routes in the city are categorized as 
1. profitable routes  (where commuter density is high)
2. non-profitable routes 

The depot manager is responsible for allocating the routes to the drivers and conductors. For a driver conductor pair to get a profitable route, he should give a cut to the depot manager (this cut depends on the route - the base price is around Rs100per day). 

On an average, on each route they make anywhere between Rs800 to Rs1000 per day (weekly average). The money is equally split between the driver and conductor after the depot manager's share is taken out.On any average day each bus makes a minimum of Rs.10000 (revenue loss around 8-10%). 

On non-profitable routes the cut to the depot manager is less, but the conductors and drivers are supposed to part some base price - failing which they will be put on punishment routes!! (thats the lingo that they use). The punishment routes are the ones like the ITPL shuttle routes and other IT company shuttle buses - here there are no cash transactions involved because of the pass system.

Even the Volvo routes are considered punishment routes to a certain extent - because on most Volvo routes the no. of commuters are still less and also the scope to make money is limited.

There are few other ways through which they milk the system -
- re-issuing old tickets (this practise has been curbed to a certain extent with the ticket printer machines)
- re-issuing of used day passes. If u didnt know there is day pass buy-back scheme that some conductors offer. The buy back rate depends on what time of the day you are giving back the pass to the conductor - the conductors then sell them back to other commuters at the list price. Many a times i have been asked by conductors casually if i had the day pass that they could buy.

And yes there is one more way - many a times conductors do not give back the change immediately to the commuters, instead they write a note at the back of the ticket and ask the commuter to collect it latter - the commuters often forget to collect back the money or the peak hour rush ensures that at commuters' stop, they cant reach the conductor.

Most of the drivers that i interacted with, were on these routes (ITPL shuttle service routes) as they couldnt pay the depot managers - either they didnt have the guts to do all this or they just wanted to be honest. No wonder all these guys are very friendly when they interact with the ITPL employees. 

Apart from these guys milking the system - there are genuine ticket less travelers (!!!) - 15% revenue loss is a resonable estimate.

psaram42's picture

Great work SB

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  As murali says it is a question of not only plugging the leaks, but also stemming the rot in the entire democratic set up.  A business man whose investment is at stake could only bother about the leakage in his business. His survival depends on how effectively he plugs the leakage. In the case of BMTC the situation is no different. As SB’s calculation may show it should be possible for BMTC to post profit year after year like Lalu did for Railways. If Lalu could do why not BMTC chairman Mr. SYED ZAMEER PASHA IAS? He has two IPS cadre officers with him to help.  [ I hear Murali saying he is not allowed to. ]

BMTC is headed by an IAS officer with two senior IPS cadres officers to boot. There is no reason for them to fail in plugging the leak. I am sure Praja with successful business persons like Murali, and other IT professionals can offer some help / advice. Plugging these loopholes is not a rocket science I hope. 

BTW privatization itself may not be an exciting solution. A Praja open dialog like this one should go a long way for BMTC. Could BMTC care to participate? Probably announcing staff bonuses when BMTC shows a profit could help in curbing the Conductor / public nexus pointed out above? (Profit sharing concept) This is over and above policing as suggested by Rithesh.

  1. Ticket less travel should be punishable by heavy fine.
  2. Squad members to loose there job if not collecting enough fine.
  3. Trafic warden concept introduced by Police
  4. SY's solution about value card is the best. I go for it [ the entry should be allowed only on swiping the value card ]
  5. No conductor. Fully automatic entry and exit.

This leakage is not a new phenomenon at all. It is age old. I am aware of it since 1964 when I first set my foot in Bangalore. There were mobile squads regularly checking tickets issue.  I have stopped getting in to a bus now for almost a decade.

Profit sharing and policing are two possible solutions, which come to my mind. [ Not again just to say it is the political system. ]

idontspam's picture

Systemic rot

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Good work on the stats.

It is a systemic rot. It has become a practice and will continue like the broken window syndrome, it needs to be stopped. I agree with SY who said something to the effect - It is stupid to think we will solve problems by doing the same things the same way. 

privatization itself may not be an exciting solution

I dont know if the jusco model or a variant of it is exciting enough, but it is worth a shot. If this hasnt gone anywhere since 1964 and we still dont want to try something else, the window is just going to get more broken.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

One who removes honey, invariably licks his hands.

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SB, Good sting operation and what you have exposed is only tip of the iceberg.  There is more to it. 

With regard to losses being incurred by BMTC - two examples: Rs.79.50 lakhs spent on off-line vehicle tracking system was unfruitful due to lack of feasibility study of the system  and Incorrect application of rates for On-line GPS vehicle tracking facility had resulted in excess payment of Rs.14.50 lakhs over a period of 13 months.

For more audit findings, visit:

In addition to the above, loss making/corrupt practices exist in -

- Tyres procurement contracts

- Inventory Management

- Disposal / auctioning of old vehicles

- Printing of tickets - outsourcing

- Procurement of Volvos/Merc/Macropolos

- Petrol/Diesel demand/supply management

- Online checking squad performance

- One non-official Chairman and Nine Directors

- Adventurist capital investment propositions without proper study of their efficacies either in Tech based services or in introduction of new variants of hi-end buses are bleeding the company for the third consecutive year.

- Staff Associations/Unions have literally been 'shut up'.

you name it... KSRTC/BMTC have it.  Still they continues to show profit


- Vasanth Mysoremath 

silkboard's picture

soutions etc

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Let us not get into debates on privatization or into solutions here in this thread. Lets talk this ticket-less ride thing alone.


Now that you have written more on the subject, let me share my quota as well. As you said, talking nicely to some BMTC guys is all it takes to know more about the 'system'. As per the 'sources', Rs 200-300 a day is what some of them (those who indulge in this game) make.

I ran into the daily pass thing myself once. It was on a bus on Banerghatta road. I just didn't understand what was on offer there. By the time I did, the lady had moved on to another person.

Interesting that you mention Volvo as the "non-preferred" route. I came to know about the same concept when I was chatting with Volvo staff one day and asked if they are happy working in buses with better conditions (power steering, a/c, automatic gears etc). Answer was "yes, but no all do". And then came the theory about how volvo's are not really the 'profitable' deal for some.

But one thing I don't know for sure is if this is really a "racket". Could money be traveling "up" in well organized fashion? Don't know, and will be too much effort and risk to even try to find out. May be some newspapers journalists can take this forward to do more digging, hopefuly some of them have the time from chasing politicians, cricket, movie stars or "IT-BT" companies.

Going back to the figure of Rs 6500 a month, how does it compare with the salary drivers, conductors and depot managers make?


Will correct the numbers next time I sit down for some maths again. Yes, daily passes, and even monthly passes should be subtracted from the daily ticket count (that 38 lakh). Will have to estimate avg price for passes, and remove that from the daily ticket revenue. I picked up all inclusive numbers for the sake of simplicity. Actually, the key number to perfect there is the assumption on average load factor for buses (the assumptions). Those make or break your "leak" estimate.


SB aka Pranav

kbsyed61's picture

Pvt or public - Corrupt practices can prevail!

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Murali Sir & others,

AS SB noted, this is not a public / private solution issue. The issue discussed here is about leakages or pilferage by Conductors in buses.

My experience is it is common in both public and private transports. In private buses, some employ on-service checking staff. But often they too get involved and the great robbery thrives. Ask some of the private transport owners and they acknowledge that this is common in their business. This is also rampant in Truck/Lorry business.

The possible solution to stop this pilferage is for an effective checks and definite action against culprits. I think this where the root of the problem lies. Unless culprits are punished with deterrent punishment, there is no disincentive to continue the old habits. This is in same league as raids by Lok Ayukta, but no tangible action thereafter. Culprits with money and power seems to be having their ways everywhere.

idontspam's picture

Worried abt pilferage - Why?

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My experience is it is common in both public and private transports

We are worried now because it is the tax payers money. Who is being swindled here? BMTC as an organization is. If there was a deal where you passed on the risks of pilferage to the 3rd party he has every reason to ensure it doesnt happen and even if it does, he will be bearing the brunt of it, not the tax payer. There are many other things you can solve in the contract. Let us understand the culture of the organization, what are the pulls and pressures of the unions. We underrestimate our capacity to swindle our government.

While private participation is not the ONLY solution, let us not thrash this everytime just because we dont know how to reap the benefits.

The possible solution to stop this pilferage is for an effective checks and definite action against culprits

This has been going on for as long as I can remember travelling in BTS buses. I have paid 25ps to save a 75ps ticket in the 70's. PSA has mentioned this too, checking since 1964. In 2009 this still exists. Which other developed country has this? Why not?

Please dont get me wrong. I am willing to see if your punishment solution or any other can stop pilferage without it coming back to haunt us later. I appreciate the solution and its worth a shot and then we can go back to the rest of the issues one by one - redundant routes, bad planning, improper maintenance, inadequate schedule information in bus stops, bad timliness, scamming in tyre deals, drivers not stopping in stops, not following rules, taking diversions....

 PS: Sorry SB had to go back to the larger picture.

kbsyed61's picture

Its all about us!

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We have resigned to the notion that corruption and deceitful way of life is common, nothing wrong about it and accepted it as normal public dealing. If this was not the case why would some body make a career as RTO agent? Little sophisticated, Consultant you would find in corridors of Parliament and legilatures.

That explains why this disease thrives in our country and almost none is in developed countries. We would make progress in making attempts to address this issue only when majority of us consider corrupt practices as equal to as doing a SIN. Because we all are part of this system? If all passengers demand tickets how would a conductor make money by not issuing tickets? How would passengers pay little if all conductors demand full fare? As the saying goes it takes 2 to TANGO.

Interestingly, in Railways the ticketling corrupt practices is in different nature. It is in the form of additional money for berth or a seat for unreserved passengers. There it is born out of demand/supply I believe.

silkboard's picture

Thanks for hijacking :)

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Thanks a lot for hijacking this thread. I tried, solutions etc could have come into another post. But I have by now learned that such things are hard to control on open forums.

From trying to talk numbers, and perhaps specific solutions, we have come into the bigger picture (aka non local aspects) of society and enforcement.

Let me do "if you cant beat them, join them", and join in here.


"If all passengers demand tickets how would a conductor make money by not issuing tickets? .... As the saying goes it takes 2 to TANGO."

Yes, it takes two to Tango, I pay a little less, and you don't give me no ticket is how the tango is likely to happen. Ask students, of today or yesterday in Bangalore. They too did this, 50 paisa instead of One rupee and 25 and no ticket. Educating payer as well as giver is most likely not going to work because their is demand  on both sides. Not saying that it should not work, only saying that it is not likely to work for a lot of reasons (our society, wide range of income, weak moral fibres etc etc etc - lets avoid these for now)

Enforcement angle - what would be the costs, and will results be guaranteed? How many plain-clothesmen per bus would ensure more than fair return on investment?

Technology angle - Smart cards. What are the costs? Can a Singapore like solution be used. Srivathsa mentioned this already - imagine a smart card reader (touch or RFID based) that takes out all your credit as you enter the bus. And then, it returns the amount, with fare subtracted as you leave the bus. this way, onus is on you to touch in as well as touch out.

Key to cutting all these petty instances of corruption, if you are willing to admit that educating (the most important E) people will take long time and effort, is to eliminate direct cash transactions in as many ways s possible.

Smart cards were announced by BMTC, I think about two years ago, during Tripathi's time. I would think that the project has not progressed because there are many inside BMTC who want their Rs 6500 or more per month.

idontspam's picture

Cashless transactions

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 is to eliminate direct cash transactions in as many ways s possible.

I fully agree... this is the way to put a stop to pilferage, everything else is temporary.

blrsri's picture

broken window theory..

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I feel the fundamental problem is with the leadership itself..leadership at all levels!

0.1% comission or 10% comission or bribe or whatever we call it..its a MISTAKE!

Theres no place to entertain even a small percentage of bribe or commission..

In SB's was OK to pass off bribing in a normal bus but not in a Volvo..though this was a test..its more or less a norm that ppl use to get away!

In Hosur TN, they follow a novel way of fine for ticket less travel..if a person is caught ticket less..hes fined with tearing 10 tickets on the spot for him and the cunductor looses a days sallary!

So everyone insists on buying tickets and cunductor more than obliges by sticking a tkt in every ones hands even before they pay!

And the checks happen always in a moving bus infront of other passengers and not at end points..which gives no room for the inspectors to taste the honey!

We can do this too..unless our 'leadership' decides otherwise like they do with LOKAYUKTA!

s_yajaman's picture

Cashless + better pay

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BMTC needs to review its whole salary + incentive structure. 

Based on my travel experiences all over India - more than 90% of people are honest and want to lead honest lives.  All these years of travelling and staying in hotels and I have never had money or bags or anything else stolen. 

Drivers and conductors have an awfully tough job and they need to be paid well.  They add real value (far more than the file pushers) to society and they need to be rewarded for that.   Drivers should be paid at least 150,000 per year and conductors at least 120000 per year.  If BMTCs profit comes down so be it.  This single minded committment to profit is not desirable.

They need to stop being treated as businessmen/salesmen.  If at all an incentive needs to be payed, it shoule be on things like safety, punctuality (attendance) and other operational measures.  At the end of the year everyone can get a bonus based on business performance.




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

idontspam's picture

Ethics & wages

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 more than 90% of people are honest and want to lead honest lives

It may be so but nothing stops greed. Even politicians who are paid more than conductors are not satisfied with the crores, they go for the hundreds of thousands of crores. For all the people who lokayukta traps, Its not about having money, they probably have sites enough for generations. It is the thrill of extracting for personal gains using the official powers. Indian black money is the highest in the world almost as big as our GDP. No other country hordes so much in black. It must be something in the water. 

silkboard's picture

Works to a certain level

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While I agree with IDS, ensuring 'reasonable' pay, cash incentives for performance, better/dignified working conditions, and non-cash incentives for performance can also work, but only to a certain extent.

May be not 90%, but we can assume that more than half of population (I'd say 70%) wants to lead honest and dignified lives. The way they do it today is by "not participating" in what the other 30% are doing. If we could turn that energy into "not letting it happen" (focus on organization, not just self), that could do the trick.

Anyay, turning it back to us  - what can we do to fix this thing?

  • Can I report a conductor today if I see him doing things?
  • Conversely, how do I write in some praise of any BMTC staff (so many of them are so nice and friendly) that I find to be be outstanding? (positive re-enforcement)
  • Can we get Lokayukta or CAG to probe this "leak" from the angle that this "might" be a racket where money is travelig up?
  • Can we get BMTC to at least admit the magnitude of the problem?
s_yajaman's picture

No punishment?

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It boils down, I will be corrupt when I know I can get away with it.   Unions will not let the culprits lose their jobs.  If that were to happen a few times, all this would stop.

If Gandhi was asked today what he thought of Indian morality he would say "It would be a  very good idea"

When the Delhi HC repealed Sec 377 and decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults, there was a hue and cry on what this would do to Indian morals.  What morals?  We must be the most morally corrupt nation on this earth.  We will kill small girl babies, burn brides, divert money meant for children's mid-day meal schemes and still take the moral high ground on all matters and call our 5000 year history to our rescue each time :)  Laughable if it were not so tragic.


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

Ravi_D's picture


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Sorry to deviate from the topic... But I couldn't agree more with SY's writing in the last para above.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

CAG Audit Reports are available on pilferage etc.

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SB, your take 

  • Can we get Lokayukta or CAG to probe this "leak" from the angle that this "might" be a racket where money is travelig up?
  • Can we get BMTC to at least admit the magnitude of the problem?

CAG has pointed out -

- 'leakage on account of pilferage by conductors',

- 'false entries in trip sheets of conductors by Traffic Inspectors'

- 'failure of line checking squads in conducting surprise route checks'

'duplicate tickets under circulation'

- 'absence of effective internal audit systems at various levels'

and a host of other systemic failures a number of times in his Audit Reports through Draft Paragraphs, Review Reports and Efficiency cum Performance Audits (ECPA).

- If these well documented and evidenced Audit Reports are taken seriously by the Legislatures and Parliament (on Central Audit Reports),  many heads should roll ..but

- the Central/State Public Accounts Committees to whom these Audit Reports are remitted for examination and give their recommendations on action to be taken by the Government on people involved does not seem to be serious about their sacred duties.

- In the name of examination of the Audit Reports, the entire team of PAC travels as and when and where they want, have a nice trip to various corners of the country, get TA/DA, talk with the officials for a few hours and get back rejuvenated.

- Even if Lok Ayukta takes these Audit Reports seriously, examines them threadbare and initiates action based on these audit points, enough fear can be inculcated in the minds of the civil servants and employees.

Reg. point on  'travelling up', conductors are small fish but there are sharks at higher levels.  See my earlier post pl.

- Vasanth Mysoremath




asj's picture

Work ethos, social security

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How come this does not happen on Mumbai buses? Never saw it 20 years of daily use.

If we agree that 70% of us are prone to being honest, then we need to think of factors that drive honest people to using invalid means to make a living - for 90% of Indians, its poverty, but more importantly its lack of social security. Hence a decent salary that helps cope with needs is always useful in stopping the genesis of such a culture. BEST staff may not be getting the best salaries in India, but the culture is one of bonding together as a family, to feel ownership of being a pasrt of Mumbai's lifeline, to akcnowledge that this company provides social security which they can't risk losing - there is medical cover and pension with excellent VRS options too.

Once someone is forced to use corrupt methods for reason of survival or in the case of 30% for want of more than their need (ie greed) and the experience is positive rather than aversive, the gain from the act is psychologically reinforcing. The extra grand may go towards buying material things while allowing the person to save more from the salary earned for that rainy day - daughters marraige, kids education, old age in 20 years when bypass surgery may be costing 20 lakhs for all we know).

The reason why people who have more than they need, like the politicians, continue to be greedy is because life experiences have conditioned their way of being (I call it social programming). It becomes habitual. People who smoke know the fag kills, how many manage to stop?

To stop corruption at the small scale level across the masses we need social security, which means coughing up more from our pockets (see thread of taxation), which means telling the industry to forget about tax sops, which means asking farmers to pay at least towards social and health insurance at rate of 10% (and also contribute same to every worker on their farms) even if we agree they should not pay general tax.

Ultimately we are animals, survival instinct prevails, why would a woman (or a man) prostitute otherwise. Social security gives us confidence that if I am homeless, I will be housed. If I am jobless, I will get subsistence money, if I am unwell, I will still get the treatment I need irrespective of my financial status - this liberates people from having to become dis-honest for sake of surviving.

The above scheme of things when applied to masses, removes petty corruption, we are then left with the giants - that is a matter of punishing the greedy - from bankers to well placed BPO staff who may be selling confidential data of customers to other scamsters.


asj's picture

Cashless transactions

320 users have liked.

This is an option. But to role it out, there will be capital costs. Which may mean recovering the money from somewhere, which may mean increasing cost of bus tickets (when we know it costs same or less to use a 2 wheeler), hence we lose people to non-sustainable modes of transport. Then there is a question of why do we need conductors on buses and pay dead salaries, if this burden is not on us, capital costs of such a system will be recovered in no time, in fact tickets can get cheaper. But then what happens with the conductors - lose jobs? I prefer they were re-trained to drive buses, do customer survey, man helplines and so on.

The other problem is we never try and keep it simple - again, look at London, whether you travel half a mile or 10, the cost of ticket is same. One only need understand the maths behind averages to work out a balanced cost of this kind that suits all, including the service provider. This is remarkably helpful as the smart cards and readers and the software costs will be much cheaper - its a single transaction, rather than needing an algorithm that works out different stages of travel for different types of buses........why complicate our lives, I never have understood it.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Scriptures have certain punishments for omission and commission

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If we look at the genesis of corruption whether practised by a Conductor or a CEO, one common factor is 'passion to posses better things in life' - or say 'for keeping up with the Joannesses". 

The modus operandi for acquiring those better things may be varied but they all deliver the needs and requirements of those aspiring for them.   The satisfaction level also varies.  But a conductor's wife may feel happy with a gold plated chain whereas a CEO's wife will not be even with a Diamond Ring.  Such is the level of personal greed.

Since majority of Indians are poor, the question that arises is - Is being born poor a curse? Is aspiring for better things and getting them through channels that are open - ethical or non-ethical, is corruption?

We are living in a highly man made stratified society. It drives one crazy thinking as to why he was not born to parents with silver spoons !  Is this KarmaThe same wretched society recognises even a criminal in Jail and makes him an MP.  What sort of a social justice is this?

All of us are psychophants in some form or the other.  Let us not pretend to be Rishi Munis (some of them also practiced corruption - by way conducting Homas, Havanas, Havas etc. to satiate the unseen gods) for attaining Moksha/Swarga. 

As a first step, is it possible to practice moderation in our ways of corrupt practices, slowly, petering out to a Zero Corruption society?  Or is it possible to declare ourselves a year of 'No Corruption?' so that 'no corruption' will become a habit?

- Let us walk the talk.

- An outlandish thought - Can we incorporate Holy Qurraan's 'chapter on punishments' in our IPC to deter corruption?  This is because, we want fast track social justice.  Present system of dispensing justice/IPC are like ....... less said the better - otherwise, I will have to face contempt proceedings at this age!

- Any takers?

- Vasanth Mysoremath 



idontspam's picture

Nextgen conductor

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 But then what happens with the conductors

He can continue to do his job without a cash bag hanging around his neck. Instead it will be a handheld ticket reader or a spot ticket vending machine which can take credit cards maybe? A slight twist in the implementation is required for indian volumes, instead of burdening the driver with validating the customer tickets which may lead to a drop in the turnaround time at bus stops.

The conductor also can make himself more useful around the bus and the bus stops like assisting passengers, organizing the crowd and traffic at stops etc. I havent used the airport buses, but I believe already the conductor helps out with the luggage, disabled passengers etc. 

asj's picture

No need of on board conductors

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Smart systems allow pre-paid cash of what ever amount to be insterted on the card. There should be no need for on board conductors. Bus drivers only ensure passengers present the card at the card reader on entry (which means passengers get in from front, get off at back). Apart from new roles for conductors above, they can also become time keepers, random ticket checkers with hand held readers as suggested above.

The whole point of going smart should not be just treatment of corruption, its a way forward for making bus services financially viable - 8 people are employed per bus on average in India (if working 3 shifts) - what a waste on salaries.


s_yajaman's picture

Back to the original point of the thread :)

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Saw PS2 only now.  Was wondering why SB was not too happy with the solution bit.

SB - your 50 capacity is way too low.  If you look at the average BMTC bus it has seating alone of 40 (10 rows of 4 abreast) and can easily take 40 standing.  

Approaching it another way. 

Let us assume an average static capacity utilization of 80% and a dynamic CU (considering people getting on and off) of 100%.  One trip should carry 75-80 people at least (I wish you had taken 138 in the 80s and 90s!) during peak hour and 50 people during non peak hour.   Let's say average of 60

Let's say a daily pass user makes average 3 trips a day (else you would not buy one) and a monthly pass user makes 2.5 trips a day.

If they are doing 75000 trips then ticket sales should be equal to

75000*60 - 200,000*3 - 236000*2.5 = 3,300,000.

Daily passes cost Rs.20 and monthly passes about 400. 

Doing all the maths they earn Rs.21 crores a month from pass sales or about 70 lakhs a day.  Total daily revenue is 295 lakhs.  Ticket revenue is Rs.225000 lakhs or about Rs.6.80 / ticket. 

What is the minimum fare on BMTC - tried checking but site says route information is under construction.  I would think that Rs.6.8 won't get you too far.  As you say only 8-10 km.  If the average trip length is 16 km then 35% of each trip is unfunded - 25% points of that is because only 75% CU (used in the assumption) and the balance???

So somwhere between 10-12% of people are not paying BMTC on each trip.  About the same conclusion.


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

kbsyed61's picture

Does not happen on Mumbai buses?

295 users have liked.


I am really interested in knowing how the BEST has worked keep the ticket less malaise away. Could you pls shed some more details on it. It would be a good lesson to learn and replicate elsewhere?



asj's picture

Its many things put together

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As I said, it is work ethos. There are random ticket checkers, and I am sure Bangalore has them, but perhaps their number is inadequate?

It takes 2 to tango - in Mumbai may be the avergae passenger is not keen on taking risk of small saving through ticketless travel or may be the passengers are keen but conductors will not play ball.

Sour grapes exsist, London has them, but they have a goal of 1% passengers being randomly checked every day (1% of 7 million passenger trips).

Others here can do the calculations for 3.8m passenger trips (not passengers as BMTC puts it) - that is 1.4 m people out of 7 in B'lore, less if proportion travel on 2 buses (4 trips per person per day for round trips back home) - to find out how many staff need deploying in B'lore for this goal. This is vital as its a big source of revenue, fines in London are about 15 times cost of ticket. 


murali772's picture

asking for the moon!

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Syedbhai - How does the so-called corruption in private companies affect you and me unless we are share-holders in them? And, if the company cannot contain it, it will start affecting its bottom line, and it will eventually be run over by competition. As compared to that, corruption in a government company/ organisation, particularly a monopoly like BMTC, is a matter of concern to me since it's being met from the various kinds of taxes that the state levies on me. At least when there's competition, the government is forced to act, like in the case of AIR-INDIA now.

It is surprising that such fundamentals have to be spelled out even on PRAJA.  

What amazes me further is the amount of intellectual intercourse going on on PRAJA to straighten out a BMTC, even as we all know how very simply the straightening out happened in the case of telecom, banks, insurance, airline services, postal services, etc - effective competition. Well, it appears Delhi is making some strides along that direction. Banagalore will also have to sooner or later.

Hopefully, the misdeeds placed before the public by CAG, SB, Prajasevaka, etc will help the process. But, expecting the BMTC to reform itself is plainly asking for the moon.

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

The “Meru” example

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  Some time back I saw two beautiful brand new “Meru” Taxis parked in front of my house. Curious I started talking to the driver.

Meru is a Bombay (?) company. It has a sophisticated communication link on board the taxis. Any call to the company results in passing the customer to the nearest Meru taxi. The Driver is to give a fixed amount to the company at the end of the day. The drivers earning is whatever is over and above the amount to be given to the company. The drivers are happy as their earnings are better than what they hoped to earn otherwise.

The merus are not exclusively operating to BIAL alone. They can be hired by one and all for any destination. Where is scope for corruption in this model? Good incentive to the driver and an assured return on investment..

Why are we researching on poor BMTC conductors tango with gullible public? What is the Praja ideating about?

murali772's picture

systemic rot

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There has admittedly to be something to the Mumbai and BEST work ethos. In Bangalore, on the other hand, the inspectors/ checkers being from the very same system, which has got rotten right from top to bottom, this function is also looked at as an opportunity for making money, under the table.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

What is harm in learning the BEST model?

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Sorry to bring somemore ideological submissions, but this time with some facts.  Be it BMTC, or any other Private run corporation, Solution lies in slew of measures including enforcement, technology, change in work culture etc that makes corporations profitable and run on sound economics bereft of any unethical practices at all levels.

Very interesting to  note that an American author Steve Hamm writes in his book 'Bangalore Tiger' about Azim Premji setting a high moral principle that his company WIPRO would not pay any bribes. This is the stated policy with all the major companies in US. Every year I have to undergo a Ethics training which specifically talks about bribes in dealing with companies in US and elsewhere.

Murali SIr,

The systemic rot is also about our attitude towards nation's assets. What is hram in learning the BEST model that doesn't promote ticketless travel? It is the same human kind that lives in Mumbai also. They are as good as we Bangaloreans are? Also they are as bad as we are. Corruption in Public or private sector should be matter of great concern. We need to come out of this attitude that, if I am not affected I don't need to bother? If that is the case why is Satyam's financial bungling occupied news headlines? Why should even govt step in and save the company. Bottom line, even private enterprise are nation's assets and it must be run on fair and sound economics.

Just bringing in some private players to replace BMTC would not solve all problems. Private participation should be brought in to a plan. You have quoted telecom's private sector  being the example. But we must also know the whole truth about that assertion. Telecom sector's success didn't came just because of opening up to private players. Without mentioning Sam Pitroda and C-DOT, telecom's success story is incomplete.

silkboard's picture

Terribly disappointed

328 users have liked.

... to see that every other thread has to end up in such ideological talk. Even worse, the set of people that I look forward to for personal learnings, fact-based and analysis oriented talk do it.

Trust me, it won't take much time to just create a new post "forking off the talk from this post, .... Lalu ... Gandhi ... US Govt ... Air India ...".

It started with talk of Gandhi Lalu etc in Anantharam sir's comment. Then on to privatization, then finally on to US government's bail out packages. And I thought we will end up hearing more analysis or personal experiences on malpractices inside BMTC.

Not saying that all this is not worth discussion (what few comments above say is the root for many things/symptoms that we discuss), but clearly, some thoughts that we have in our heads about keeping this site geeky, fact oriented, analytical and with separate relevant threads are rooted in impractical expectations.

Anyway and nevertheless, I will take some learnings from here, and sign off.


s_yajaman's picture

Wrong expectations

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a. Expecting this to go the way of corporate meetings (agenda, stick to the core issue) is unrealistic.  You are setting yourself up for disappointment.  It takes all sorts to make up the world :)

b. How many of us use buses regularly enough to post fact based observations? 

My two cents.


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

idontspam's picture

The Best Ticket Examiner

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Feroz says his record performance is because of his sincerity. Most of the time, ticket examiners don’t scan their lists properly, or let ticketless passengers off after collecting some money by the side

Meet Feroz Pasha

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Let us talk about what is relevant, if not....

309 users have liked.

SB, u r right.  what we need is solution to a problem;

if somebody has a solution that can remotely solve or in a micro way touch the core issue, then flaunt it.

Otherwise, going through the philosophy, history, geography, algebra, trigonometry, space explorations by ETs will be a problem and control+alt+del.

Get back to original post:  Yes there is pilferage by the conductor because benchmarks for such pilferages have been set by all those in authority, then how to bell the cat? 

Instead of going on stating the obvious and proving that we are the part of the problem, let us try to be the part of the solution. 

Next time, SB, even for sting op, do not tip the conductor and get away without being caught.  If you were caught and if you explained to them that you are trying to expose the corrupt ways, they will not garland but will levy the necy fine and put you to gallows.

This is the best way -  let it begin from each one of us.  If we do not insist on a receipt for having bought 100 gms of mustard seed also amounts to encouraging corruption by the shop keeper. So, let us demand and get a receipt.  It all begins at home.

- Vasanth Mysoremath


silkboard's picture

Okay, noted

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Thats what I said - rooted in unrealistic expectations. I don't expect all to stick to topics, but only some. but, yeah, that too is unrealistic ask.

VKM sir,

Yes VKM sir, took your point. I always ask for receipts etc. Even when the guy at the pharma or electronics shop offers x% discount for not giving a receipt. But I know that if x% is significant for the customer in question, the receipt is not likely to be issued and exchanged.

Between problems and solutions, there is something called analysis and understanding. I don't think we understand things well enough, and those who think that "talk or analysis" is not worth it have concluded that their ideas on solutions and understandings are perfect and thus not to be shared with all.

At least I know that I don't know it all. It all starts with that admission.

Ticket-cheating in BMTC may be like stating the obvious, but I wonder why newspapers etc are not asking for it to be curbed. (IDS - we inspired TOI to carry a story, if nothing else).


I saw some of this with BEST during my IIT days around Powai. 392 between Ghatkopar and Andheri is one I remember, and there were others too. Since I usually did short distances - Powai to max Vikhroli on this side, and just beyond L&T on the other side.

But on the longer routes that I did once in a while - Ghatkopar to Belapur (New Bombay), - I did see long haul passengers tempting the TT, esp those boarding from the poorer areas beyond Easten Express highway.

I didn't keep counts etc back then (was too young and afraid, only observed) but yes, it definitely was less prevalant than what I see in Bangalore today. No idea about Mumbai of today.

Alright. more later.

asj's picture


324 users have liked.

SB, Thanks for bring the focus back on the crux of the matter. To me this thread is about how to better the system ...

... BEST or London or where ever, there are bound to be sour grapes. Considering the amount of corruption the average BEST passenger mat be exposed or participating in, the BEST manages fairly high standards on this one. BEST already is expanding its useage of smart cards, they now have one which can be used on central railway as well and soon WR will become compliant with this.

Yet, to minimise loss, random ticket checking is required (BEST also uses plain clothes checkers). If we try and hypothetically agree that like London, Indian cities target 1% of all bus users, how many TCs do we need. If one checks 2-4 tickets a miinute but needs to spend 30 minutes on average getting the culprits to pay fine and do paperwork relating to it - how many passengers will one TC manage to screen per day per shift, how many are needed in BMTC to get there?


[Note: comment moderated]

silkboard's picture

Shall we call Lokayukta?

331 users have liked.

Assuming that this ticket-less ride thing could be an organized racket, will someone join me and filing an official complaint with the Lokayukta?

The complaint would be against BMTC, not any person in particular. Goal is to try and put an end to this. 1-2% of of such things is fine, but if what you hear from a few conductors on the "non-profitable' routes is true, then this might be a case of organized corruption.

We are not talking huge amounts here, and the point is not to chase down conductors etc. But I suspect that such things stand in the way of any meaningful reforms inside BMTC.

kbsyed61's picture

SB, you should!

314 users have liked.
SB, The logical end to all the discussion we had on Praja should be what you are suggesting. Count my support for such a noble cause. Syed
sanchitg's picture

Can we change commuter's psychology

310 users have liked.

Things you can do:

  • Take your ticket! Do not hesitate to ask your ticket from conductor if he is not willing to give it you.
  • If you see others not taking ticket, ask them to do so. You will have to voice your opinion and shout out to prevent others from abusing public buses. They are our property.
  • Register your complaint to BMTC office via email (Chief Traffic Manager (O), BMTC - ctmobmtc @ gmail . com) and follow up to know what action they have taken. Be patient and hopeful that some day they will take an action :)
Vasanth's picture

Small distance travel near last stops are more vulnerable

314 users have liked.

 What I have seen is, whenever buses are in the outskirts of the city, for smaller distances, fares are on the higher side. Conductors utilize this to cash in.

Minimum fare stages should be increased, minimum fares should be kept low and a chart should also be published in the buses.

Even in Vayu Vajras, we can find such cases. Very rare in the case of Vajras, may be conductor has got more share by selling more tickets than taking money directly from passengers. If so, similar procedure needs to be adopted in ordinary buses. 

Passes are the best way to prevent this. 



silkboard's picture

Time to redo the leakage estimate

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The 15% figure - estimate for BMTC revenue leakage - was based on a calculation that involved a lot of assumptions (see main post above). If true, this is a very high number.

Question is, what more stats would we need to better estimate this % leakage due to ticket and pass corruption?

silkboard's picture

Has this reduced, or increased?

308 users have liked.

What are you guys seeing? Should analyze latest revenue numbers from BMTC to "guesstimate" these.

Seems to have reduced from my observation. Have shoed 5 rupee coin to TTs when expected ticket amount is Rs 6. 5 out of 5 times this month they asked for the extra rupee and handed over a ticket.

dvsquare's picture

INCREASED ... I have 8 out of 10 instances of no ticket

312 users have liked.

In last few weeks, I travelled lot of time by bus, start point Ejipura signal, and end point is DELL office, no stop in between.

Out of 10 last rides, 8 instances were the ones where I was not given ticket. I was asked to pay Rs. 5 and no ticket (actual fare is Rs. 7). Out of those 8 instance, 3-4 times, I had re-insist to get the ticket and once I couldn't get the ticket even after insisting many times and conductor succeed in escaping ticket by crowd excuse.

It means, for distances between 2 stops, this seems to be general practice followed by conductors and commuters. Can BMTC check this and make sure tha this revenue leak is checked and make use of this money in running less profitable routes (as claimed by BMTC) like metro feeders etc.?

Secondly, single conductor cum driver is very dangerous for every one, for driver, for commuters and other people on the road. His mind is totally involved in taking fare, returning change and tickets, how will he be able to handle all that in time and also drive to the destiation. I really pity those drivers, it has to put under check as well, as soon as possible. BMTC cannot just put everyone's life in danger for sake of money.


murali772's picture

more brazen loot now

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Not just that, Gurpreet Singh, who boarded the Volvo bus from Brookefields, refused to get off without a ticket. The result: He got into a verbal altercaation with the conductor, but had to pay double the fare.

- - - "When I asked him (conductor) why is he cheating us and isn't the salary given by BMTC enough, he lost his cool and challenged me to complain against him to the BMTC. When I tried to take a picture of him, he posed for it with a salute as if he has won a medal in corruption," he added.

- - - In response to the complaint, BMTC said necessary direction has been issued to the department concerned to conduct surprise checks and act against the erring staff.

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

This blog was started in July, 09. In the over 7 years since then, the difference is that the conductors have become as bold, in going about their loot, as to openly challenge passengers to take their pictures and lodge complaints.

Like I had stated in my post of 11th July (same year, scroll above to check), the only answer is effective competition - more on the subject can be read here. Strangely, in the mean-time, some people are beginning to think that it's blasphemous to demand that, though, fortunately, the Centre appears to be doing every thing in its capacity to facilitate that, all of which can be seen in the post dated 5th March, 16, and the ones before it, in the above linked blog.

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