In the absence of another mass transport system,the city is largely dependent on Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses. The BMTC has over the years emerged as one of the most effective city bus service providers in the country,with its operating model attracting interest from many states. The corporation has of late been preparing to complement the under-construction Bangalore Metro and also compete with it. Harsha Raj Gatty speaks to its managing director,IAS officer Anjum Parvez. <\i>
How has transport in the city changed?
The city has spread and requires passengers to change buses frequently,so the traditional destination-based transport system is not suited for it. To woo private motorists to use public transport and reduce traffic congestion,we have introduced route-based buses with a frequency of one every three minutes. The pilot project between Kempegowda Bus Station and Electronics City has been successful. After trial and error studies on this route,similar services will be introduced along Hosur,Bannerghatta,Kanakapura,Mysore,Magadi,Tumkur,Bellary,Tannery,Hennur,Old Madras and Old Airport roads.
BMTC has become quite aggressive in implementation of information technology services,any further developments on this front?
In our ongoing attempt to understand commuter preferences,we realised passengers opt for private vehicles because they are available on demand. So apart from increasing frequency and convenience,we will offer a real-time GPS tracker on every bus that will also show estimated time of arrival of a bus at a stop. This will enable passengers to use their time in a better way than wait at a bus stop. The trackers will be accessible via http://www.mybmtc.com/ and mobile-enabled android and blackberry apps that would be launched soon.
Passenger safety,especially that of women,has been a worry,there have been cases of high-handedness by BMTC staff. What action has been taken on this front?
We have provided intensive vocational training to our staff. We have told them uncivilized activity will not be endorsed by the corporation and that they face suspension and criminal proceedings if charges against them are found true. We are also transforming surveillance from recording devices used in crime investigation to real-time monitoring of the fleet by the traffic and transit management centre in Shantinagar. Apart from this,the BMTC vigilance squad will conduct surprise checks. Squad members in plainclothes will travel on buses if there is repeated nuisance on a particular route. The vigilance staff is authorized to take suo motu action in cases such as ticketless travel,non-issuance of tickets and passenger misbehaviour.
Is the increase in frequency of line-checking by your vigilance staff in pursuance of a passenger complaint?
Not at all,it is routine checking. Though our personnel have been instructed to act immediately on passenger complaints,the line-checking last month and later was to reassure passengers.
What are the manpower challenges before the BMTC?
Earlier,there used to be a beeline for driver and conductor jobs. But the scenario has changed. Now,there is stiff competition from the private sector that promises a better work-life balance. To retain performing staff,we offer incentives. We have also introduced soft-skill development and personality training for employees,so that work is not monotonous. We have an open-door continued…