Two things in life teach you patience (according to me). One is pursuing a doctoral degree and another is availing the service of BMTC buses. BMTC stands for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Recently there was a news item that said that BMTC is running in losses. Is there anything surprising about this? BMTC is now planning to introduce “dynamic” pricing. Whether this proposal comes out unscathed after all the approvals is still nebulous.
Let us look at how BMTC interprets the legendary SERVQUAL model.
For the uninitiated, SERVQUAL model stands for a model that describes the dimensions of service quality – Reliability, Responsiveness, Empathy, Assurance & Tangibles.
Ensure that buses are never on time! Customers should develop patience. As they keep waiting in the bus stops, they end up burning more calories and lose weight. Four buses towards Kempe Gowda Bus Station will all leave at the same time so that there are no buses to Kempe Gowda Bus Station for the next 30 minutes. Never mind that of the four buses, three buses are filled to only 20% of the capacity. The intervening period is meant for auto rickshaw drivers to try their luck and make a good fortune.
BMTC staff show no bias when it comes to gender. Customers, irrespective of their gender, are treated shabbily. The slower the response, the better it is - this is BMTC’s motto. The corporation expects to instill the virtue of patience in all passengers who are destined to travel in the tin sheet enclosures. BMTC will do all within its power to ensure that the population in Bangalore develops patience. Abusive responses to customers will ensure that no one dares to seek a response in the future.
People are assets to an organisation. So, BMTC believes in an intelligent and innovative system of fixing bus fares at Rs. 14, Rs 16, Rs 19, Rs 23, Rs 28 etc. Conductors can neatly pocket a tidy sum every day by not returning the change. Even when the fares are revised, expect fares like these so that BMTC staff can make more money in the process. Of course the staff is empathetic towards customers and do not wish to insult them by returning small change. If you tender exact change for Rs. 19, you invite scorn and disdain from the bus conductor! How powerful a driver feels when he delays the bus and he witnesses a sea of passengers waiting to board the bus at the bus stand!
After a BMTC bus caught fire recently, passengers have been forced to become vigilant. Now all of them have to compulsorily take insurance while travelling in the bus. Some buses are nothing welded metal sheets put together so one learns to be cautious to protect oneself from the risks that loom large. Customers are warned to wear only old dresses so that in case they get torn because of the nails and screws that protrude from every seat in the bus, the mental agony will be less. BMTC also does not want passengers to enter the buses in a hurry so there are sharp edges at most places that scratch you in the wrong place. No hurry, no worry please. Windows may come crashing down anytime, so beware of grabbing a window seat. You might be listening to music with your eyes closed and enjoying the cool breeze from outside but suddenly shards of glass will be everywhere and you will be suddenly awakened from your stupor.
Customers get used to travelling in rusty, decrepit, tin sheets that make a fearsome noise on highways that nothing can be worse than this. On a particular day when you are running late the bus will breakdown in between. Drivers were glued to their smart phones earlier. After the ban on smart phones, they have switched to reading newspapers (when the bus is in motion) and endless chats with conductors. Loquacious conductors find new passengers entering the buses a major irritant because they are disturbing the conversation that they have with the drivers.
Rajinikanth was a bus conductor once, so now BMTC drivers style themselves. Who knows – they may attract the attention of some wannabe film director? Some drivers resort to unbuttoning their shirts in Salman Khan style – best way to beat the summer heat!
Hail BMTC for surviving for so many years despite writing new rules of customer service that cannot be surpassed by another organisation! But yes one needs to appreciate BMTC for encouraging entrepreneurship in India. Where would Ola and Uber, the Ridesourcing czars be if BMTC starts delivering excellent customer service?