Ticket Trouble...

The above image is only representational

Now that my job is still in the training phase, we do not get the bus facility offered by the company. Company has staff buses which leave the company 15 minutes after the end of every shift in various directions. The company operates about 8 buses for the staff members. Yesterday (Wednesday, October 17, 2007), I had to travel to my office by bus (town bus). I usually drive down to office, but it was different yesterday since my family required the car.

My journey to office was in two legs: Home to Vashi, and Vashi to office. The first part was undertaken on an NMMT bus, and so was the second part. I took a bus from the bus stop nearest to my home at around 0915, and reached Vashi a bit after 0935. The fare was Rs. 7, and the bus was moderately crowded. I had to stand for quite some distance.

The second part is all this post is about! I took a bus working a schedule on NMMT Route Number 100 (Vashi Railway Station to Mulund East). The bus reached the bus stop (Vashi Plaza, just the third stop after its origin!) at around 0955~1000. The bus was crowded, and was already carrying much more than its "official" carrying capacity, a board to the same effect proclaims 51 seats and 21 standees. So that is 72 passengers excluding two operational staff. The bus was carrying not less than 85 passengers when I boarded.

The next stop was Vashi Bus station, where another 10 passengers joined the bus. I was standing closer to the rear exit of the bus (for those who aren't much familiar with the layout of buses here, please look at this image). The conductor was still around the front exit of the bus issuing ticket to different passengers. He was too irritated about passengers giving him currency bills for higher values than required, and for not giving him change! The fare for my journey was Rs. 6. As the bus proceeded, some passengers got down, and some passengers (not less than the number getting down) joined the bus.

I got a seat to sit about 3 kilometres before my destination. Interestingly, about 75% of the passengers were to get down at the same stop as me! The bus was approaching its destination, and the conductor was still around the middle of the bus. One part in me was rejoicing over saving that money, while the other part was acting as a honest citizen worrying about the corporation losing money. But the attitude of the conductor was surely not justifiable.

The bus almost reached my destination, when the conductor approached, and he issued me a ticket for Rs. 4! The corporation lost Rs. 2! I am pretty sure than there would be atleast 10% of the passengers traveling without paying anything to the corporation. The corporation, which was once among the best performing corporations in the region with its accounts in the black, is now moving towards the red. The corporation starting bleeding ever since train services began on the Vashi-Thane route. Bus services to Thane was the main stay of the corporation, and the company was sending buses on as many as 13 routes to Thane! The total number of routes operated by the corporation, then, was only around 22!

The corporation opened its eyes only when the train services began hitting the corporation badly! Now, the company operates around 40-odd routes with around 250 buses. And, most routes now work as feeder routes helping passengers to reach railway stations. Now, getting back to my issue, the bus now entered the bus station. A battalion of ticket checkers approached the bus, and I luckily had a ticket! I handed it over and walked away as around 6 ticketless guys were caught by them!

NMMT needs to make its conductors more efficient. Some processes like the conductor issuing tickets before the bus begins its journey from the Origin would help in better management, and it would ensure that atleast 95-99% of the passengers have paid for their journey! The corporation earns most of its revenue from passengers traveling shorter distances, and they surely need to be pampered with more buses. I saw one such bus today in the morning dedicated to serve many BPO professionals like me working for big names at the Millenium Business Park situated at Mahape!

So, thats it for the day. What was this post all about???


Anonymous said…

I just moved to Belapur and came across your blog while searching for train timetables.. what in heaven's name is Railfanning? I have never come across this term and am really curious. Please could you explain?