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Interview with Mr. N. Manjunatha Prasad, Managing Director, KSRTC

KSRTC is an STU having 16 directors on the board with 1 invitee director. All directors are appointed by the State Govt. and its current MD is Mr. N. Manjunatha Prasad, IAS. Read on for the excerpts from an interesting and exclusive interaction with him.

Can you brief us the important factors and USPs for the successful performance of KSRTC and its popularity amidst the commuters?

Innovation, commitment, technology facilitated superior transportation infrastructure, and best practices in work place are some of the main factors that have propelled KSRTC to the current position. We are the 4th largest State Transport Undertaking (STU), a profit making organisation with an accumulated profit of Rs. 64 crores and chalking out ambitious growth plans to take the transportation standards to a higher plane.

KSRTC has always been acknowledged the trendsetter- can you brief us how you have leveraged technology and innovation in achieving the leadership status?

Fleet modernisation, strengthening of infrastructure, revenue mobilisation measures, extensive use of IT in improving systems and procedures have helped the organisation to turn around and become a trendsetter. Today we have about 8300 buses covering various regions and have the largest fleet of premium buses amongst all STUs and cater to the customer requirements at all levels and to their expectations.

KSRTC is the first and leading State Transport Undertaking in the country to adopt Information Technology in its administrative and operational processes. KSRTC is the First STU in India to implement web-based Passenger Seat Reservation System, IT-based Recruitment System, deploy Electronic Ticketing Machines on all of its routes, to have totally computerized Driving tracks for testing the candidates, etc., KSRTC has recently implemented ITS at Mysore City covering entire fleet of city buses. This demonstrative project comprises of Passenger Information System, Vehicle Tracking System, Enterprise Management System and MIS reports. The response of the public is overwhelming since this solution encourages use of public transport and reduces the use of personal vehicles. This significantly contributes to saving the environment from heavy vehicle pollution and reducing congestion on city roads. Based on the response of the public, KSRTC is now implementing Vehicle tracking and monitoring system covering 4000 buses and has plans to scale the project to cover its entire fleet.

What are the measures taken to induct, train and retain the drivers in your fleet? With the driver shortage looming large, how do you plan to address this issue?

Driver selection is thro’ automated electronic driving test system that is transparent, objective and quick; eliminates discrimination and external influencing factors. This ensures that good drivers get inducted and furthermore they are given periodic training and put thro’ refresher courses for updating their knowledge and skill and for the same developed training centres at B’lore, Mysore and Hassan. We have congenial working conditions, welfare programs and miscellaneous incentives to retain the talent. Yes, we are aware of the likely driver shortage scenario and as part of CSR started construction of a driver training school at Malavalli and one more is coming up in Kolar. The school is open to all the candidates who meet the basic admission criteria. However to enter into KSRTC, they would have to go thro’ the test procedure along with others.

Brief us about the transport management expansion plans and the impact of projects like JNNURM in scaling up various facilities.

Bus fleet addition over the entire range, Electronic ticketing machine (ETM), anywhere anytime advance reservation system (AWATAR), introduction of extensive IT in vehicle traffic control and e-procurement are some of the projects implemented – and more are coming in these directions. Under JNNURM, at many locations world-class transport infrastructure to provide all facilities under one roof have been created; 7 Inter Modal Transit Centre (IMTC) projects in Mysore have been taken up at a cost of Rs. 108 crores. Bus stations have been built in Mysore, Shimoga, Hassan under the scheme apart from a regional training academy in Hassan; and low-floor buses introduced for Mysore City. Also Intelligent transport system project Mysore City under GEF-SUTP & JNNURM (first of its type in India) is under implementation for providing real time information about bus arrival and departure.

Highlight about the role of KSRTC in environmental protection and contribution towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

ISO 14000/9001 certification for the bus station, depot and workshop, occupational health and safety assessment series (OHSAS) 18001 for corporate office, water harvesting and water recycling made mandatory at depot level, massive afforestation program and alternative fuels like bio-diesel and ethanol blended diesel future projects are some under the environmental initiatives. Under CSR, concessional fares are given to girls, senior citizens, freedom fighters, differently abled persons and other special categories ; free travel to blind persons and girls studying up to 7th standard; and buses are run in smaller cities like Tumkur at affordable rates. About 30% of the conductors in premium segment are women from lower strata of society. Also we employ women in maintenance operations apart from admin functions.

Can you share your viewpoints about the future transportation in India considering the factors like rapid urbanisation, lack of road space and composite traffic?

Bus transportation offers the economical solution for a developing country like India and BRTS is a step in the right direction as both cost and completion period are lower when compared to Metro Rail solution. If the connectivity and quality of the roads improve, buses can offer better services and connect various regions for a faster and inclusive economic growth of the nation.

Impressed by the KSRTC’s good performance the centre has allotted lion’s share of buses to Karnataka under the second phase of the national urban renewal mission. With this Karnataka will have the largest and most updated fleet of public buses in the country.

Source: Motor India Online

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