Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tools of Trade

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses have got swankier, the staff are now seen in uniforms and the conductor no longer trapezes all over the bus distributing the tickets. Despite all these changes there is still one thing that always makes me squirm: The sight of conductors struggling with both hands to pinch out numbers from the tiny paper-tickets!

Why on earth do the conductors make a habit of doing something so utterly inefficient? 

In Mumbai, the BEST bus-conductors solved this problem decades ago by handing out simple paper-punches to all their conductors. Apart from making a distinct clicking sound which tells you where to find the tickets in a crowded bus, the punches leave a neat, star-shaped mark on the paper.

In Kerala, the KSRTC city buses have already abandoned manual ticketing. All the conductors carry around a compact electronic - and very obviously sturdy - machines, and hand out tickets printed on thermal paper.

Today, for the first time, I saw a Delhi conductor who preferred to use a paper-punch. DTC, he said, does not issue this simple contraption, so he purchased one on his own because "It makes my job a lot easier - I can punch out multiple tickets a lot faster!"

It would be interesting to know why DTC, which spends millions on AC buses, salaries and uniforms, chooses not to issue simple paper-punches to its bus conductors...

 Rajeev Kumar, DTC Conductor: Bringing his own tools to work

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