BMTC plans to trim manpower with conductor-less buses
By Christin Mathew Philip | Express News Service | Published: 13th February 2017 03:48 AM |
BENGALURU: Commuters travelling in BMTC’s Metro feeder buses may soon not find conductors to issue tickets. Faced with a fund crunch, the transport utility is likely to operate conductor-less Metro feeder services in the city.
BMTC officials told Express that conductor-less buses will offer incentives to passengers with smart cards (to be available from April) while a flat rate will be charged for those without smart cards.
“The proposal is in the initial stage but the idea is to reduce the operational cost by cutting down on human resources. We are now spending nearly 54 percent of our revenue on operational costs, mostly salaries and incentives for staff members. We have to come up with innovative steps to reduce our operational loss,” said a senior BMTC official.
This is not the first time BMTC has come up with the idea of operating buses without conductors.
In the late 90s, BMTC introduced Pushpak buses, popularly known as Janapriya Vahini services, which had a single door with/without conductors. The driver would double up as a conductor in case there wasn’t one. BMTC was forced to withdraw the system after commuters complained that it was distracting the driver.
BMTC officials say the driver-cum-conductor system will be more effective this time. Conductor-less buses will have radio-frequency identification (RFID) card readers, video surveillance and monitoring, passenger information system, pneumatic-operated doors and ticket-issuing facility at bus stops.
“The e-transactions will reduce the use of cash and manpower. Video surveillance, monitoring and line checking staff members will reduce ticketless travel,” a BMTC official said.
BMTC employees, however, are opposing the concept as operating buses without conductors is in violation of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. They also fear it is an attempt to reduce the number of employees.
A BMTC official said the conductor-less system is popular in cities like Paris, London and Los Angeles.
In Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) introduced bus services without conductors on certain routes in 2015.