Despite the demand from commuters, more buses cannot be released due to lack of drivers said official.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is facing shortage ofbus drivers. The data from BMTC shows there is a shortage of 256 drivers as of November 2022 and due to this the number of buses functioning in the city has also reduced. There is a fleet size of 6798 vehicles out of which 5632 are functional.
A BMTC official said, “There has been demands for buses from the commuters but due to shortage of crew we are not being able to schedule more buses.” She also said that there are plans to recruit more drivers but the exact time is not known.
People who rely on bus as their primary mode of transport are inconvenienced . A commuter waiting for the bus at Shanti Nagar Bus Stop said, “The buses are not at all regular and some buses do not even follow the same route.” He added that there are people who cannot afford cabs and other modes of transport, they depend on the buses to travel. The shortage of buses are causing a lot of trouble to such people.
Another commuter Dhanush said, “The buses are not that frequent every morning, we have to wait for an hour for the bus to come and we miss the first class in college every day.” He also said that If .they miss a bus at eight in the morning, there are no other buses until the next half an hour .
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of BMTC said that the last recruitment of bus drivers happened four years back and after that many drivers have retired and some had an inter-corporation transfer which led to the crew shortage. However, she said, “We are not facing any problem with scheduling of buses and we are managing with the existing drivers, there is no problem in functioning of buses as such.”
The PRO further added, “Whenever the government permits we will recruit more drivers and as of now we are not outsourcing drivers apart from the contract drivers for electric buses.”
M.N Sreehari, a Traffic Traffic expert said, “Some of the drivers in BMTC are contract drivers so they do not turn up for work which often causes irregularities in bus timings and the recruitment of permanent drivers is costly for the BMTC as they not only have to pay salary to them, but also there are other things like Provident Fund(PF) which the corporation has to provide to the drivers.”
He also said thatthe maintenance cost increases with increase in drivers which they cannot afford as a corporation and should run under profit but the problem with BMTC is they are running under loss.