October 10, 2007

Bluelines should emulate Setwin

Hyderabad had its own version of Blueline buses till a couple of years ago. Only that they were not private, but run by an organisation called SETWIN (Society for Employment Promotion & Training in Twin Cities). They run these buses under the self employement scheme.

Till a couple of years ago, their buses were the perfect definition of the word 'khatara'. And an extended definition of the word 'danger'. They were colored white and blue, but most people wanted them painted red. They were the cause of innumerable road accidents in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. But one fine day, their luck ran out. A Setwin bus rammed into a few two wheelers and an auto-rickshaw at a busy junction which was also the site of a flyover collapse a few weeks back.

There were public protests, people blocked these buses, the court asked the Govt about it and ultimately these buses had to go off the potholed streets of Hyderabad.

But what is deemed as a very heartening turnaround, Setwin re-introduced itself onto Hyderabadi roads in late 2006, this time armed with a batallion of brand new Swaraj Mazdas and Tempo Travellers. No more khataras on the roads. Their drivers were given lessons on better road manners, and today we see people happy with Setwin. In fact, the state transport buses are notorious for skipping stops in peak hours, halting a few furlongs away from the bus stop, but to Setwin's credit, their drivers have shown much better mannerisms.

The recent banter about Blueline buses in Delhi made me think if the Setwin model could be implemented in Delhi too. Well, if it can be done here, it can be done there too.

So what are you waiting for M/s Blueline, go the Setwin way !

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