My Tryst With APSRTC

More than 5 million people reside in Hyderabad today and the population is increasing at an alarming rate, creating problems of all sorts. I realized this when I started commuting by buses recently. Such is the state of these buses that if you manage to get in, there are minimal chances that you will be able to get down at your stop (if you happen to be an unseasoned traveler). Only experienced bus goers know the strategy to get down at their respective stops. As for the condition inside the bus, I would say, if you get a bus to board you are lucky, if you get space to stand then lady luck is definitely happy with you and if you get a place to sit then you are surely bestowed with innumerable blessings for the day. A bus with a capacity of 60 can efficiently stuff in 100 or more passengers at a time.

Oh please do not jump to the conclusion that I am talking about any other good for nothing transport organization. I am talking about APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation), one of the largest corporations in the field of transport services in the country. It happens to be a monolithic organization with a fleet of 17500 buses, employs nearly 133000 people, has 211 bus depots, 6 zonal workshops, one bus body building workshop and a printing press and operates in 23 regions and 6 zones.

The obvious conclusion that many would draw is that the government is not managing the organization well and it should be privatized. But it’s easily said than done. The government did try to restructure the organization. IIMs were employed for the purpose. But there was serious opposition by the employees and the restructuring project was shelved.

I guess a major problem here is that the company has failed to do a structured traffic analysis of the city. More than half the problem can be solved only if the organization goes through the process of a thorough understanding of traffic trends in the city. The city is in dire need for enhancement of existing transport system.

There is also a need for greater coordination between the government agencies. The municipal corporation should work over a planned usage of road space. Non traffic facilities should be avoided from getting located within the ROW (Right Of Way). This would help in a smooth traffic flow. The MMTS (Multi Modal Transport System) can also be improved so that the passenger crowd is well distributed across all modes of transport.

As for APSTRC, their first task should be to identify major activity nodes in the city. For instance, urban activities have a tendency to converge into the city center, so that can be one node. The other can be somewhere in the hi-tech city area as the maximum working population of the city comes down to this locale daily. Based on this data, they can plan the development of routes in and around these major activity zones. This will also help them in mapping improvements of major links in the city road network.

The other task would be to identify the passenger strength at these nodes and also at various stops that APSRTC serves. They can go on to introduce HCBS (High Capacity Bus System) on routes which have maximum crowd and can have a regulation to bar other vehicles on these routes to ensure safe and fast service to customers.

So what I would say is that APSRTC can improve its services phenomenally only if they do a bit of effort and try and understand the city. Before wasting their resource on huge restructuring plans, they should spend some on improvement of services. That would definitely have an effect on their balance sheets.

But whatever be the condition of APSRTC, they do teach you priceless lessons. They tell you how to
fight for your rights (rights of getting in the bus and getting out of it), how to manage people around you (so that they give enough space for you to stand) and how to strategically place yourself in the bus (so that you can easily get down at your stop). So if you are a management guy/gal, plan a travel by APSRTC for practical learning.

HAPPY STUFFY JOURNEY!! !



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