Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ex Army men may be appointed as ticket-checkers in state buses

KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government is mulling the appointment of former Army men as ticket checkers of government buses so that passengers don't get away without paying for the tickets.

The chief minister has been preoccupied with the ailing transport PSUs ever since taking over the reins of the government. But not much policy was adopted to rev up the income of the transport corporations.

Now that the government had decided to closely monitor the ailing transport corporations — Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd (CTC), West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC), North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) and South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) - it has become necessary to help them generate more revenue.

There are several unfit employees of these corporations who can be replaced with the ex servicemen. For instance, more than 150 employees of CTC have asked for VRS and many more are waiting to join the league. "Of the total 6,500 employees, 150 have already wished to go for VRS as they are physically unfit. Apart from them, many other employees including elderly drivers need to be replaced due to their poor eyesight and other physical weaknesses," Shantilal Jain, chairman, CTC, said.

To bring in fresh blood, the transport ministry has decided to recruit nearly 1,000 people in five corporations. The former Army men will be among all these new recruits.

"SBSTC will have to recruit 100 people including conductors and drivers immediately to keep the services running. At least a total of 1,000 have to be appointed on contract basis for all the five corporations," transport minister Madan Mitra said.

If the above action is taken by the state, it would be a great step forward.

These ticket checkers should be mandated to check not only the state buses but also the private buses.

I have seen people sitting comfortably but when the conductor asks them to pay their ticket, they become violent saying "dicchi na",(I am giving) and they continue saying till the end of their journey.

In many cases, I have seen the conductors pocketing the money instead of issuing a ticket.

The onus should be on the passenger to buy his ticket instead of the other way round where the conductor has to request the passengers to buy his ticket.

This is done in states like Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil nadu. I don't know about other states as I have not travelled in other states.

In Bengal the passenger buys his ticket as if he is doing a favour to the conductor. This should stop.

I would suggest the following action of the part of the government.

The number of buses should be increased so that they are not jam-packed and the passenger has no excuse for not buying his ticket.I am sure if the government does not have the funds, more private buses should be introduced.

The conductor should just sit near the gate and it would be the duty of the passenger to buy his ticket and go inside.

Passengers should enter from one gate and exit from a second gate.

The Conductor should sit at the entry gate.

Since auto rickshaws jam the roads, they should be allowed to run only on those routes where buses cannot be run. Auto are a hindrance to fast traffic movement and have become a nuisance.

A ticket checker should enter any bus, Government or Private and inspect the tickets of passengers.(This is possible only if it is not jam-packed).

If a passenger is found without a ticket or improper ticket he should spot fined.

If the person does not have the money he should be sent to lock-up unless his fine is paid.

Initially, the checker may have to be accompanied by a policeman.

I am sure, for three months, this can be done daily then the passenger would fall in line and then surprise checks could be carried out to see that the rules are being followed.

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