More trauma from MTC checking staff

This blog has been arguing for quite sometime that the archaic fare collection methods of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation need to be changed in line with the National Urban Transport Policy objectives.

In the absence of such modernisation, a boorish, ill-tempered, rude and unprofessional employee culture at the MTC continues to act against the cause of public transport.

The latest instance of this was witnessed at P.Orr and Sons bus stop on Anna Salai (Mount Road) on Feb 27. An out-of-town couple was “caught” travelling without tickets and asked to cough up Rs.200 as fine by the overzealous checking inspectors. Never mind that all the buses passing through at that time of evening were overloaded way over the transport permits.

The MTC does not acknowledge that buying tickets on board is inefficient. It performed an eye-wash some years ago by deploying stand conductors, but quietly gave in to the pressure of its on-the-bus crew, who get a cash incentive on the bag collections each day. I understand that in the case of services with higher fares, the incentive percentage gets reduced.

Back to the problem of the couple, it was really distressing as they tried to preserve whatever dignity they could, when the checking crew made them look like pocket-pickers caught in the act, and many onlookers were gazing. Without demur, they handed over the money that was demanded. Some members of the public were visibly angry with the MTC staff, who are not known for either their sense of fair-play or for genuine concern for rules that govern MTC operations.

It is a shame that the city of Chennai has such crude and unreasonable public transport systems, where buses are overcrowded, and ticket checkers deliberately wait at a bus stop that is a stage, knowing fully well that there would be a few passengers who are unable to purchase a ticket.

The MTC and the mandarins running public transport from Fort St. George owe it to the tax-payers to reform themselves, and provide a genuinely people-friendly bus system. The political rulers should also realise that there is no point waving for pictures, when they preside over such a decrepit system.

Here are the pictures of the couple, part of an album, that hopefully will catch the eye of the rulers whom people such as these have elected.


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