Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Makes perfect bus-iness sense

Makes perfect bus-iness sense
The ticket checking squad of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) levies over Rs 8 lakh monthly as fines from ticketless travellers. Bangalore Mirror reporters took a Test Drive with the squad and caught the action on the tech corridor leading to Information Technology Park

It is quite a tough job, but an exciting one. The BMTC’s ticket checking squad members hop from one BMTC bus to another trying to net passengers who travel without tickets. And every month, they catch anywhere between 8,500 to 10,000 ticketless travelers and collect over Rs 8 lakh as penalty.
A majority of those caught tend to blame the conductor while a few claim they don’t have money. We joined BMTC’s line checking inspectors Mohammed Akmal Pasha, K H Hanumaiah and Veeranna to check out what happens on the tech-corridor leading to Information Technology Park-Bangalore (ITPB).
Before we got cracking, we had a small discussion with the inspectors at the BMTC headquarters. Our first stop was Domlur bus stop. We alighted from our cars and waited like regular passengers for the next swanky Volvo bus to stop.
Boarding point:Domlur bus stop, Time: 2:45 pm
Bus route number: 335E (A Volvo from Kempe Gowda Bus Stand to Kadugodi)
Registration Number: KA 01 FA 430.
There were 33 people in the bus. One of us accompanied the inspector checking passengers in the front, while the other joined the inspectors checking passengers at the rear of the bus. As soon as the squad entered the bus, they announced that they were BMTC’s line checking inspectors and requested passengers to display their tickets.
They first checked the conductor’s electronic ticketing machine (ETM) for the route table that gives them details of the bus stops coming up and the corresponding fares.The inspectors then went on to check the tickets issued to passengers.All of them had purchased tickets.“If anyone is found travelling without a ticket, we impose a penalty that is ten times more than the ticket. This apart, we will also issue a warning memo to the conductor,” an inspector said. We got down at the Manipal Hospital bus stop and went to Marathahalli, the largest consumer discount market.
BUS 2 Boarding point: Marathahalli, Time: 3:13 pm Bus & route: BIG 10 (Brigade Road to Kadugodi) Registration Number: KA 01 FA 2169.
We decided to opt for a Big 10 bus as it has become very popular with professionals.There was a rush in the bus with 50-plus passengers. Here too the inspectors repeated the drill. Since the conductor did not have an ETM, they checked his way bill. Soon they started checking the passengers, including ones who were carrying day and monthly passes.We again drew a blank and got down at Kundalahalli Cross.
BUS 3 Boarding point: Kundalahalli Time: 3:36 Bus & route: 500W (ISRO Layout to ITPB) Registration number: KA 01 FA2366.
In this bus there were only about 10 passengers, but there was action, finally! As the inspectors proceeded to the back of the bus, a man dressed in a black shirt and white pants rushed to the exit. But before he could get out, they caught him. Predictably, he didn’t have a ticket. Here is an excerpt of the conversation that took place: Inspector: Sir, please show your ticket. Passenger: I was about to purchase one. I called the conductor but he didn’t come to me. Inspector: If you were about to buy the ticket,why did you try to get down after seeing us? Passenger: Sir, please trust me. I swear on God, I was about to buy the ticket. Inspector: There is no need to talk about temples and Gods. Sir, this is a bus not a dharamsala. Just pay the fine or you will have to come with us to the police station and then go to the court. Passenger: Sir, I don’t have money to pay up. (The passenger, now sweating in the airconditioned bus, takes out his wallet to show that he has no money) The inspectors then take the passenger to the car. The passenger, sensing their serious intent, miraculously came with a Rs 50 note to pay the fine. He was from Orissa and had come to Bangalore about a year and a half ago to work in a tech company. For a Rs 5 ticket, he ended up paying Rs 50. Not his day, certainly. BUS 4 Boarding point: Brookefields (near Cosmos Mall), Time: 4:52 pm. Route: 335 E (From ITPL to Majestic) Registration number: KA 01 F 4533
There was more action on the bus as the inspectors caught hold of a lady dressed in a blue salwar who was going to Majestic. She claimed that she had boarded the bus from Cosmos Mall and was about to buy the ticket.When the inspectors checked the conductor’s way bill, he had marked all tickets as issued, but had not issued a ticket to the woman.
The inspectors realised that the woman was not at fault and issued a memo to the conductor for negligence.We got down at HAL bus stop, and decided to call it a day.
Funny excuses

• I was tired and sleeping

• I am new to the place and was thinking about the route

• I am ready to pay the money now, please give the ticket

• Many start crying, especially women passengers

• To avoid embarrassment, some go near the inspector and whisper in his ear,“Sir, please take the penalty”
If you violate the law
Fine is ten times the actual bus fare and to a maximum of Rs 500 Police will book you for cheating For complaints contact 9480840171
Bus-wise Demand tickets

• Do not expect the conductor to come to you

• Keep your ticket till the end of journey

• Daily pass holders should put their signature on the pass

• Monthly pass holders must put their signature, name and address

• Do not buy daily pass from people for half rate

• Do not resell passes after your travel

• Do not travel on somebody else’s pass

• Do not carry forged passes

• Pay the prescribed amount and demand ticket for the same value


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