professionalised bus services - the only answer
I am amazed. All of us are agreed that better public bus transport services is the answer. But, rather than demanding effective competition from professional players, which in my opinion is the only factor that can make BMTC accountable, we continue to suffer its incapacity meekly. Various attempts have been made by various people and teams, and at various stages, to make BMTC's functioning more user friendly (Their operations are supposed to be profitable - so, there's no problem there). But, they have all had just marginal impact, if at all.
There are more attempts being made even now. I can only wish them all good luck. As far as I am concerned, I have given up. I am talking from my experiences while working with BMTC for over two years in the capacity of the co-Chairman of its Commuter Comfort Task Force (CCTF), and later while implementing the "Yelli Iddira?" service.
Leave alone "Yelli Iddira?", leave alone route rationalisation. Also, they can continue to display the route names only in Kannada as per the dictates of organisations like the KRV (Kannada Rakshana Vedike), though in the process they will be losing out on the custom of the huge non-Kannada speaking floating population. All I am asking is that they display just the route numbers in internationally recognisable Arabic numerals (as they are called) on say atleast 90% of the buses prominently (Just check out for yourself, when you step out, whether what I am saying is true or not). Can anyone manage that, to begin with? I would like to see.
I would again like to reiterate that BMTC is amongst the best of the public bus transport services in the country, and has also been steadily improving its services over the years. There's absolutely no denying that. Also, most present users are content with its present level of operation. And, if BMTC was to cater to the needs of just this section of the population, it could have carried on in the present fashion - no problem. But, with the trips made by this lot contributing to just 45% odd (in my opinion, it should be much lower) trips made by the citizens on the whole, and the city population growing at an exponential pace, the remaining 55% trips made using personalised forms of transport are going to get our roads progressively more cluttered than they presently are. 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 the service 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.
So, what I am suggesting today is that we direct all our efforts at engaging the minister concerned into effecting policy changes to bring in effective competition, which is the only way we can solve the problem as well as make BMTC more accountable.
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