Interview

KSRTC: Leveraging technology to offer last mile service to commuters and crew

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Shivayogi C Kalasad

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is taking multiple initiatives in terms of IT/ICT implementation to offer a smart and convenient commuting experience to the passengers, says Shivayogi C Kalasad, Managing Director, KSRTC. In this interview with Elets News Network (ENN), he also talks about the safety and environment-friendly measures taken by the Corporation.

What are the latest initiatives you have undertaken to streamline online services?

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has undertaken various online services to offer better services to our passengers.

Web-based Passenger Reservation System (AWATAR- Anywhere Anytime Advance Reservation) is in practice for advance ticket booking and revenue collection.

KSRTC counters at major Bus Stands/ Terminals through Point of Sale (POS) machines to bring convenience to the passengers in terms of ticket booking. Moreover, franchise counters across Karnataka and the neighbour states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu have been constructed.

To establish better communication with passengers, we have utilised the SMS facility for advance booking, cancellation, journey reminder alerts, and trip sheet alerts to passengers with advance reservation tickets.

Mobile telephone numbers of advance booking passengers are printed on the trip sheets provided to the conductor so as to contact passengers if needed. Apart from that, we have installed several IT and ICT measures within the sector.

Apart from that, we have installed several IT and ICT measures within the sector.

Please tell us about some of the e-services offered by KSRTC.

We have enabled the users to book tickets through ‘Mobile-one application’, the e-governance project of the Government of Karnataka. The booking methods include:

Electric Booking (E-Booking) and Mobile Booking (M-Booking): Booking can be done through Credit Card, Debit Card, Rupay, net banking and UPI enabled mobile wallets. Payments can be made through Credit, Debit Card, Rupay, net banking and UPI enabled mobile wallet or cash cards.

The mobile application is available for Android and iOS platforms. Master franchise booking process is also enabled within the app. For the convenience of the passengers, we have not applied payment gateway charges for the booking. Even unregistered users can utilise the platform for ticket booking by selecting the Guest User platform. We also offer the facility to convert counter or franchisee tickets to e -tickets or m-tickets, wherein passengers can show ID proof and e-ticket or m-ticket for the journey.

How do you rate the current Depot Infrastructure and what are the new measures you are planning to execute?

We are ensuring to provide adequate Infrastructure facilities at depots. Drinking water facility, crew resting rooms with bed and clean toilets have been provided. Separate rest rooms have been provided to women employees.

Facilities like Nitrogen tyre Air filling equipments, tyre mounting, and demounting machines have been provided to depots, for improving the safety and performance of the tyres.

What are the measures taken by KSRTC for better employee management?

To ensure transparency in the allocation of duty to the crew, we have implemented computerised Duty Rota System. We have also introduced computerised leave kiosk for ensuring a systematic procedure in providing leave to the staff in all the Depots. To make the procedure of getting eligible leave simpler, mobile-based App has been introduced, wherein crew can apply and avail leave by himself.

Training for employees is very crucial. Will you please apprise us of the initiatives undertaken to provide regular and updated training to employees?

In KSRTC, on regular basis training programs on various aspects are being conducted at Training centers for its staff and officers are as follows:

  • Refreshing training programmes for staff and officers
  • Induction training for newly recruited staff and officers
  • Special Training Programmes on Personality Development and soft skills for staff and officers
  • KMPL Training for low KMPL drivers and Driver Training Instructors in coordination with PCRA
  • During the year 2017-18, as many as 4,199 drivers have been trained, by which 3.00 lakh litres of HSD worth of Rs 1.68 were saved to the corporation by improved KMPL. And for the year 2018-19, the figures are 5109 drivers, 5.67 lakh litres and Rs 3.30 crores savings respectively
  • Road Safety Training for Driver & Driver -cum- conductor
  • Special high-end Volvo/Scania bus driving training for both newly recruited and regular drivers
  • Technical skill Training for Mechanical staff, like BS4 vehicles, Engine, Gearbox maintenance, in collaboration with M/s Ashoka, Leyland /Eicher/ Volvo / BPCL Pvt. Companies expert trainers
  • Special training programmes for ongoing Retiring staff and officers
  • Special training for female staff on empowerment, safety at workplace and sexual harassments
  • We impart Skill Training to public unemployed youths on heavy vehicle driving, light vehicle driving and other various Mechanical trades under Chief Minister Skill Development Govt. schemes.
  • 6-Axis Motion-based simulator with customised software is being used at Malavalli training Centre capable of simulating behavior with bus on new & degraded roads in a pre-selected scenario to improve the safety and fuel efficiency of the drivers
  • Advanced Driver Assisted System (ADAS) & Collision Avoidance System (CAS) is being introduced for detecting drowsiness of drivers during night driving
  • A First Aid Training Programs to the drivers and conductors. It is a regular routine process in KSRTC.

Is there any specific training programme for drivers to impart safety measures?

KSRTC regularly trains its drivers regarding Road Safety and driving habits in Three Training Centers located at Bengaluru, Hassan, Mysore (Malavalli) and Chikamagalur. The details of the trainings are as under.

  1. Refresher training – A three days training programme for all the Drivers focusing particularly on accident prevention
  2. Special training for accident-prone drivers
  3. Imparting training to create Awareness to Drivers about safe safe driving practices, parking of vehicles during night times and also parking the vehicles in safe places en-route on the road
  4. Observance of a Road Safety Day once a month in all Depots to create awareness among drivers

Tell us more about the safety Awareness Campaigns run by KSRTC across the state?

The following safety measures are followed in all depots of KSRTC:

  • We have improved vehicle maintenance practices. Emphasis is given on preventive maintenance to improve the safety aspects in the operation of buses.
  • We ensure fitting speed governor devices in all vehicles and frequent checking of the devices to ensure proper working condition. KSRTC subjects the vehicles to 10 point checks before sending them on route/operation, emergency doors, first aid boxes, hazard lamp, tail lamps, headlights, brake lights, front and rear indicators, tyre condition, windshield glass and electrical system (Battery, Cable wiring, wipers, rearview mirrors etc.
  • Allot fixed vehicle and driver to the schedule.
  • Provide adequate rest to the crew between two spells of duty.
  • Improve driving comfort with ergonomically designed driver seats by reducing driver-fatigue by providing power steering and synchromesh gearbox in the buses.
  • Identify drivers who consume alcohol by constant monitoring and if necessary such drivers are sent for de-addiction programme.
  • While booking crew for night service and long distance routes, sufficient rest is provided before sending them on duty.
  • We are deploying senior/skilled drivers who have undergone rigorous training and qualified by the concerned bus manufacturers on high-end and modern buses such as Volvo, Benz and Scania.
  • Implement restriction on the speed of buses.
  • Maintain high end and modern buses such as Volvo, Benz and Scania, etc. by the Technical Staff who are trained by the respective companies from time to time. Also, the maintenance of these buses is under the supervision of the engineers of vehicle manufactures.
  • Identify accident-prone spots and displaying of advisory information in the depots for the information of drivers. We educate drivers about the effects of accidents, loss of precious human lives, financial loss by way of vehicle damage and compensation.
  • All night service drivers will be subjected to breathe analyser test before sending them on duty. l Conducting surprise checks on drivers with breathe analysers to identify drunken driving, en-route l We are installing checkpoints between 1 am to 5 am at various locations to ensure that drivers stop their vehicles for 15 to 20 minutes. This enables them to refresh and safe driving.
  • There is a ban on the usage of mobile phones while driving.
  • We are providing adequate Fire Detection & Suppression System (FDSS) in Volvo/Benz/Scania buses to cope up with emergency fire hazards and proper training to the crew regarding their operation.
  • We provide information to the passengers about emergency exit door in the bus and how to open it in local language as well as in English. Proper display of Emergency Exit signage inside the buses is also installed.
  • Display of banners in the major Bus Stations about the ban on carrying explosives in the buses of the Corporation is also exhibited.

What are the measures taken by KSRTC to maintain environmental conservation?

KSRTC organises routine emission checks for the entire fleet at regular intervals of once in six months by the networked Emission Centres at all divisions and Emission certificates have also been displayed in all buses for the same.

Upgraded smoke emission checking machines have been provided at all the depots of the Corporation for regular smoke emission checks every month. Surprise checks at bus stands for once in four months and Division level surprise checkup is also being carried out across all depots and bus stands by Green Squad vehicle called “Prakruthi’’.

During the year 2019, we have planted approximately 8,000 saplings at various locations of KSRTC bus stands, depots, offices, workshops and training centers with drip facilities and varieties of plants are screened by high-level committee.

What are your plans for introducing electric buses or CNG buses?

To provide better and environmentally friendly transport facility, as a pilot project, we have planned to deploy 70 electric buses in KSRTC. It is proposed to run these buses between Bangaluru-Mysuru, Bangaluru-Kolar and Bangaluru-Tumkur.

Further, KSRTC has submitted its expression of interest on July 8, 2019, to the Under Secretary (AEI), Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India for sanction of 70 electric buses under FAME-2 to operate the same on Gross Cost Contract (GCC) /operational cost basis. The sanction from the Department of Heavy Industries is awaited.

There are a couple of states who have started dedicated services for women passengers. Are there any such plans in your states?

BMTC is providing dedicated service for women. At present, there are no dedicated services for women passengers in KSRTC. In future, KSRTC may plan to provide dedicated services for women passenger based on demand and viability.

As many as nine seats in Ordinary and Express services, 14 seats in City service and two seats in premier services are earmarked for women. Apart from these, in premier services, ‘single lady quota’ option available in advance reservation premier service wherein woman travelling alone can book seat separately. The adjacent seat booked under ‘single lady quota’ will be available for booking to ladies only.

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