The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has entered the Limca Book of Records for bagging over 100 awards in the last five years. Considering that record, Asianet Newsable lists a few of the initiatives that took the transport service to such a high spot in the public transport sector.


The KSRTC began in 1961, under a 'no profit, no loss' principle. This meant that the service would keep prices low, just enough to ensure there were no losses, but would have to generate large profits for the state government. 


Today the KSRTC has become a pioneer in adopting 'IT solutions' in many of its functional and operational areas. These initiatives have brought efficiency, transparency, uniformity, quality, accuracy, regularity and operational excellence in the administration and service delivery.


The KSRTC's IT initiatives have been replicated in many other state transport undertakings across the country and they have been recognised by several National and International awards. 


Initiatives include electronic ticketing, touch screen ticketing machines, local language interfaces, biometric authentications and alerts to passengers before pick ups or drops. In the administrative sections, solutions include a duty rota and leave management system that is scientifically designed based on functional level requirements. 


"All of these and more have made us number one," said Rajendrakumar Kataria, Managing Director, KSRTC.


And there are plenty more. The KSTRC's free WiFi facility at 24 important bus stations have been availed by 35 lakh passengers. CCTV facilities have been installed at depot/Divisional workshops of the KSRTC and also at 90 bus stations at a cost of Rs 14.95 crore to ensure the safety of passengers (especially women travellers) and the properties of the KSRTC. 


"We have stiff competition from private players. To keep our customers happy, we slash rates now and then during important events and festivals. Private players' tickets may cost over 40 percent more in such times, but the KSRTC will not do that. It is because of these initiatives that we are loved," Kataria added. 


Speaking of tickets, the web-based ticketing application - AWATAR (Any Where Any Time Advance Reservation) - was set up in 2006, which enables commuters to obtain information about bus routes, bus schedules and timings. The booking of tickets through a web portal and a 30-day advance booking facility is another KSRTC initiative replicated in other states.


With the AWATAR software, a vehicle tracking and monitoring system and a Passenger Information System, the KSRTC has tried to ensure complete transparency. 


And despite it all, the KSRTC has not proven shabby on financial side of the business either. In fact, business is booming with a flood of customers. Lauding the efforts of KSRTC employees, Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy stated that for the first time in the history of the KSRTC, a gross profit of Rs 114.95 crores was reported in 2015-2016.


Currently, The KSRTC has earmarked Rs 64 crores from its gross profit for a gratuity fund with a view to utilise the same for the final settlements of its employees during retirement. The KSRTC was able to reduce its loan liabilities of Rs 314.73 crores to Rs 153.51 crores. 


"The driver and conductors behaviour is monitored by effective feedback management. This has ensured a good behaviour among drivers and conductors which in return has earned a confidence among the passengers, added Reddy. 


There are also the little things. KSRTC buses are clean and on time, with drivers and conductors being rewarded if they manage to make their route popular among passengers. Also, the KSRTC has proven to be very agile in picking bus routes, starting up important connections (From the Bengaluru airport to Mysuru, for example) that flowed with the needs of passengers. 


And as the cash flow indicates, Karnataka's passengers are more than happy with their government transport corporation - certainly a rare feat in India.