“Hello! Welcome to MSRTC; my name is…and you will be going on a journey from Pune to Mumbai.”
Don’t be surprised to be welcomed thus by your driver on boarding a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) bus next year. As part of a novel venture of the administration, several improvements and infrastructural changes are expected in the organisation’s services in 2014.
“We are currently doing our homework for this project, which focuses on various aspects to attract more and more passengers towards MSRTC. New schemes are coming up and we will also reintroduce facilities, which had been discontinued. Our goal is to reach the maximum possible number of commuters, and we will definitely achieve it. Key focus is on upholding punctuality and maintenance of buses,” said MSRTC chairman Jeevanrao Gore.
Under this project, special training will be given to all drivers and conductors for greeting passengers during the travel. “Our driver will first reveal his name, welcome the travellers, and then give information about the journey. It will be just like airline services. Also, the driver will issue safety tips during his introduction to the passengers,” Gore said, adding, “At the end of the journey, he will seek suggestions and complaints. Women, children and senior citizens will be specially taken care of, and our staff will help them have a safer journey.”
For this entire facelift, MSRTC has received Rs 750 crore from the state government – the main aim being to increase the number of passengers and generate more revenue. Other salient features of this project include instatement of audio-video screens at all ST stands in the state, giving information about MSRTC and its services. Digital boards, displaying bus schedules, will be installed as well.
“Another important feature we are working on is making the entire MSRTC administration’s work paperless. For this, computerisation process is on at all the offices and depots across the state. We have plans to get GPRS system in place in the future, through which we can monitor our bus service via a control room.” said Gore.
To encourage drivers and conductors, every week, photos of those who provide the best service and do the most business will be displayed in the divisional offices. Rankings will be accorded to them, and also people not doing their job properly will have this reflected in their service records.
For rural passengers, a special drive, ‘Gram Abhiyan’, will be undertaken by MSRTC. Officials will go to a village and have meetings with the Sarpanch, Talathi, Gram Sevak and other important representatives. They will also listen to suggestions and complaints of passengers, and submit reports to the administration. Accordingly, improvement and changes will be carried out by MSRTC.
Offering his view on the initiative, civic activist Vivek Velankar said, “It is really a good thing that MSRTC management wants to improve its service, but it is necessary to look at how they implement this initiative. According to me the fundamental things that passengers look for are punctuality and frequency of service. They administration should also address the issue of cleanliness of buses and stands, and then the rest of the things will be appreciated by the passengers.”