Which city has the coolest bus service and website?
After checking out the websites of our city transport corporations I realised several things:
1. That several of our cities have fully functioning websites and some are pretty good! Information on bus routes and fares is given in detail on most of them.
2. That Kolkata, Guwahati and Jammu/Srinagar and even beautiful Chandigarh and hi-tech Hyderabad (city bus services) don’t have have their own website, or at least I could not locate them.
3. That some of the sites are awfully misleading.
4. That some of them are plain dull.
I have written a short note on each site and service here but by no means is it comprehensive. Each city has various bus operators and I certainly have not covered all of them. In fact this post does not claim to be a comprehensive review of the various websites, public transport or even of the different bus services. It’s a quick glimpse into some of the different transport services of some major cities and their websites. If anyone wants to add anything on any other city bus service and it’s website, they are welcome to do so.
Take a look, and if you want to check the site itself, click on the screen shot of the site.
The first one is of the BEST Undertaking, which runs the Mumbai Public Bus Services. The site is plain and cluttered. And some pages are slow to load. Though there is information on bus routes, I couldn’t satisfy my curiosity about it’s fleet. From the wiki I did manage to find out that the BEST has “3,400 buses, ferrying 4.5 million passengers over 340 routes, and has a workforce strength of 38,000, which includes 22,000 bus drivers and conductors (this comes to an average of 11.2 employees per bus).
About the service, from my own and my friends’ experiences of the BEST, they do a good job. There are been some cases of rash driving of late, although the BEST is taking preventive measures. One of these measures is calling upon it’s “1,053 men in it’s nearly 10,000-strong team of drivers who haven’t been involved in a single accident in more than 20 years of service…to share their experiences with their colleagues so that they, too, can work towards a spotless stint as BEST drivers.”
Next is the website of the MTC (Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chennai). The Chief Minister is on the front page although for the life of me I cannot figure out why! The site isn’t fancy, but it’s very easy to navigate and that’s a big plus. Interestingly, in addition to info on bus routes and fares, the site has detailed information on ‘performance’ indicators like the number of buses, their average age, the number of kms they cover, the number of passengers per day (38.18 lakhs this year) and even absenteeism! And all this information is given from the year 2001. Impressive.
According to the website it has a fleet of 2914 buses and 2754 scheduled services.
DTC’s (Delhi Transport Corporation) website is plain and although there is info on bus routes and fares, there are no statistics given. However I found them on a Delhi government transport site and it says that the DTC has 31589 employees. Oddly, no information is given on the number of buses. Surprising for the capital city of India. The information wasn’t available on the Wiki either so I wonder if it is available anywhere at all. Blueline Transport Corporation, which runs a private service in Delhi doesn’t have a website.
DTC buses are known to be difficult to use, and as as the wiki describes, the buses “can be overcrowded, requiring agility, grit and determination on part of the traveller to catch and hold on to a side-railing while the bus is in motion.” As for the Blueline buses, they are known as the killers on the road, infamous for their rash drivers.
The website below is that of the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) and is it surprising that this city, famous for IT, would have a really good website? It looks clean, it’s easy to use and it’s attractive as well, with pretty pictures of the bus stations. Plenty of information is available on the site too. Detailed information on buses depot-wise! The workforce is 20473 and out of these 7489 are drivers. They have a fleet of 4812 buses which make 65121 trips, travel 10.38 lakh Service kilometers and carry 37.00 lakh passengers. Information on BMTC’s Volvo buses can be found on the site but you can get some more information on the Volvo services and the fare chart here.
You can read a review of the BMTC here. The bus service is thought to be quite good.
Now we come to a very misleading site. That of the PMT (Pune Municipal Transport). The pictures show fancy buses but in reality you will rarely come across these type of buses in Pune. The site has pretty pictures which do not reflect reality.
Statistics on the site say that PMT has a fleet of about 1000 buses transporting nearly 5.50 lakh passengers in a day, a staff of about six and a half thousand, six depots, eighteen main bus stations and about 200 routes…” For a population of 4,485,000 in 2005, I guess this isn’t enough. A review of the site is given here.
PMT’s service is woefully inadequate and cannot service the population of Pune. It’s a city with no metro or train service for the public either. And that is the reason for the proliferation of two-wheelers. The buses are infrequent and unreliable. This again from personal knowledge.
This website was launched about a year ago and I quite liked the design. It has the helpline button right in your face and one can search for a bus route by the number of the bus, by the name of the stand, or with all the details. However when I clicked on the button ‘Facilities,’ a 5 mb file started to download!
The best of the lot to my mind is the next one, the bus service of Indore, and not surprisingly, it’s not run by the government! I won’t give any statistics here as this site is worth checking out if you are interested in this success story.
Indore has a fleet of 98 modern, low-floor buses with computerised ticket-vending. Electronic signboards at bus stops announce when the next bus is due based on satellite data. Investment in the system has risen to Rs 40 crore, all done privately. The city has made a profit since inception; so have its six private partners who run the buses. Soon, it will have 500 buses. Indore is now quoted (with Bogota) as having the best bus service in the world.
He says Delhi has a lot of learn from Indore’s success. I say the whole of India does.
(All the pictures are screen shots of the website and linked to the sites)