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KSRTC out to kill even existing competition

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The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has informed the Karnataka High Court that it is in a position to replace private operators in case the High Court sets aside the modifications of nationalised schemes to regularise the grant of illegal permits.

In the affidavit before the court on Friday, Director (Operations) K.A. Rajkumar said that if the court sets aside the modification of Kolar, Mysore, Bangalore, BTS, Kankapura and Bellary schemes, the corporation would be capable of introducing additional buses on these routes. Based on information furnished by regional transport offices, the KSRTC said that as many as 1,798 permits were regularised by the modifications. If the modifications are nullified, KSRTC will be required to run only 626 additional services.

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So, leave alone facilitating open competition as hinted at he TransInnova summit by Mr Jawaid Akhtar, Mr Bhaskar Rao, and Gaurav Gupta, the government, by its tacit support to KSRTC, is in effect trying to kill even the existing competition.

An elderly gentleman who was amongst my ready supporters in the BMTC's Commuter Comfort Task Force, called me specifically to bring this article to my notice, and to ask if any of the organisations I am associated with can implead itself against the KSRTC's plea. A pity I couldn't offer help readily.

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

the drive intensifies

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Officials from the KSRTC security and vigilance department arrested eight private bus agents at Kempegowda bus station on Friday even as they were luring passengers to avail of their service. Around 84 private agents were caught over the past month and handed over to the Upparpet police station.

The above report has appeared in today's Sunday TOI, under the caption 'Bus agents arrested'.

Now, it is very well known that the KSRTC and BMTC do not have the capacity to meet the ever increasing travel needs of the growing population. Even if they say they can gear themselves to do that, a monoply position is never desirable, even if the player is a government entity (in my individual opinion - particularly because of that). The private players have been supplementing the services of KSRTC/ BMTC from long, even under the most unfriendly licensing regime. Instead of making it friendly to allow for healthy competition in order that the public is benefited, this new drive by the government is retrograde, to say the least.

It is time the public started demanding proper reforms in the sector.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao

Police private buses

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Private bus operators lobby are very strong and dictate policy. This lobby was strong enough to completely stop the Bangalore-Mangalore train. As such, these private players need strong opposers - i find the KSRTC doing that. Private buses crowd the Majestic area and one of the operators - M/S Vijayanand Roadlines, promoted by Mr Vijay Sankeshwar uses Ananda Rao circle as his private bus stand. I'd be happy if they better regulate private buses. Perhaps our problem of over crowding the city centre's Majestic Bus Stand will be over once satellite town bus stops and TTMCs are integrated to them.
silkboard's picture

Its long due, time to act now

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Catching illegal operators - well, thats probably all KSRTC should do. In fact, they would be making our lives a lot better if they withdrew to being mere regulators and enforcers of transportation infrastructure in the state.

Though this post is about KSRTC, I want to ask if anyone else is interested in helping with some work to challenge the monopoly of BMTC and simultaneously demand creation of a state wide regulator to control the monitor the private operators. A powerful regulatory authority would in fact be a pre-requisite for opening up the urban local transport sector.

There could be a few various models for doing this

  • KSRTC cut into three,
    • Regulatory authority,
    • The bus operator. The new regulatory authority (above) will lay down guidelines for allowing more bus operators.
    • An entity to own non rolling stock assets - basically the bus stands.
  • The regulatory authority can call for more bus operators (minimum 2 per circle), and more bus stand/terminal operators.

The regulatory authority mentioned above may or may not be an extension of BMLTA to  increase its coverage to rest of the state.

I am sure learned people can figure out a good arrangement. We just need to start building up pressure for reforms in transportation sector.

kbsyed61's picture

Not the bollywood style........

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Murali sir,

Lets not thrust the idea of private bus operation as the panacea for all the public transport ills and woes. Restricting KSRTC/BMTC monoply could be just one of the solutions, but can not be the only solution. Lets not waste the opportunity in setting the basics right. I am worried that with cries for introducing private players along with KSRTC/BMTC the whole basic transportation needs are being overlooked.

Private players, privatization etc are being pushed as the ultimate solution for our needs. To me it has same analogy as that of "HAL Open" campaign as the mother of all solutions for all the BIAL needs, requirements and objectives.

Before we tread on solutions lets understand the needs of Karnataka people:

  1. Connectivity philosophy - How do we want to connect each village with cities and towns of importance like Taluq and District headqaurter, State head Quarters etc.
  2. The operations should meet the travel needs of people, financial viability, supports low cost short distance goods transports, low cost courier services etc.
  3. As SB noted, an active regulator to monitor service, pricing and coverage.
  4. Going for low hanging fruits, deploy all the existing KSRTC/BMTC infrastructure in re-haul setup. Introduce private players in areas where there is shortfall and meeting futuristic needs.

Lets work for a transport model which is affordable, convenient and citizen responsive which doesn't forces people to migrate to towns and cities due to lack of connectivity and convenience.

KSRTC/BMTC are too large to be written off from the transport operations. Lets deploy them wisely and also get the help from private sector wherever necessary.


murali772's picture

the only workable strategy

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I have more or less already addressed the issues brought up by you at . Yes, we can have many more task forces. I'll offer all the help I can. But, I shall simultaneously pursue my strategy, which in my opinion, is the only one that can produce results if I want to see them in my lifetime.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Private doesn't mean this one?

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We all are striving for public transport system free of monopolies with privatization being the mantra. For that, I sincerely hope these scenes don't become the order of the day:

murali772's picture

result of 'license-permit raaj'

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Syedbhai - That's the result of the 'license-permit raaj', about which I have written enough and more. Also, BMTC buses may not have air-horns, but, when it comes to rash and negligent driving, they will give any private bus a run for its money.

What we need is Corporate sector players like TVS in the picture, and their entry has to be facilitated by proper policy initiatives by the government. Like I have repeatedly stated before, public bus transport services sector is too vital a sector not to have the expertise of the likes of TVS.

These articles have been planted in the media by BMTC/ KSRTC's extra-active PR department. That's the only thing they are experts at.

Muralidhar Rao

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