Evidence against the efficiency of private transport system is mounting. Latest is a study of the transport system in Goa that punctures the perception that private operators provide better services than public undertakings. The Gujarat-based Institute of Rural Management Anand (irma) compared the services of the state undertaking Kadamba Transport Corporation (ktc) and private bus operators in Goa and found that ktc outscored on almost every count. "Based on our findings, we challenge the view that state transport undertakings need to be privatized," says Anand Venkatesh, professor and member of the research team.
ktc had the largest fleet of 432 buses in Goa in 2004-05. This is only 10-15 per cent of the total vehicles in the state, and private operators run the rest-- 3,000-4,000 buses.According to the recently released 2005 irma study, these operators resort to unfair practices. They provide poor service to passengers in terms of staff behaviour, crowding, cleanliness and punctuality (see table High on satisfaction). But given the lack of alternatives on certain routes, passengers are compelled to travel by private buses, says the study titled 'Public or private passenger perception of bus transportation in Goa'.
The researchers observed the behaviour of passengers and bus staff and also interviewed drivers, conductors and passengers of ktc and private buses. They, however, found it difficult to obtain private operators' cooperation. Though the ktc service was found to be more satisfactory than that of private operators, the study concluded that the the corporation needed improvement. It also concluded that the government should initiate an effective regulatory mechanism for private bus operators.
|High on satisfaction|
|Public transport system outscores private|
|KTC (Goa undertaking)||Private operators|
|Average stoppage 30-40 seconds||Variable|
|Fixed price||Informal discounts offered to regular passengers|
|Printed tickets issued||Tickets usually not issued|
|Buses better maintained||Poor maintenance of buses|
|Less crowded||Buses crowded and crammed at bus stops, leading to mishaps|
|Time to destination less||Longer time to destination|
|Well-behaved staff||A large number of complaints of rude behaviour|
|Seats reserved for women and the disabled||No seat reservation|
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