Monthly Archives: January 2014

Auto puja at the Ganesh temple

By | Autos | No Comments
Brand new auto getting divine blessings

Brand new auto getting divine blessings

 

We frequent the Ganesh temple in Koramangala every once in a while. The ambience is serene, the outside area is spacious, and peaceful vibes all around.

The temple is a favourite venue for car pujas — from the high and mighty with their BMW’s and Lamborghinis (I kid you not!) to regular Joes wheeling in their Honda Activas.

During our last visit, we saw a brand new auto rickshaw at the designated puja place. I whipped out my camera and after getting an indulgent nod from the driver (man in checked shirt), clicked this picture.

I resisted the urge to hand the man an mGaadi flyer. There’ll be time enough for that.

The difference between a car puja and an auto puja? I don’t claim to know the mantras uttered by the priest but I reckon that invoking the divine for safe transportation is common to both. In the latter, the priest must also be invoking Goddess Lakshmi to bless the driver with many years of prosperity behind the wheel of his livelihood vehicle. Amen.

Why do auto drivers keep going on strike?

By | Autos, Commuting | No Comments
Pic courtesy Karnataka Photo News

Pic courtesy Karnataka Photo News

Every time there’s a price increase in the government mandated auto rickshaw meter, the middle class daggers invariably come out. When the auto unions exhort the drivers to go on a strike (most recently when the LPG prices were raised by Rs. 11/liter), the daggers get sharper.

Someone posted the following on Facebook

There is some fundamental issue with autos in Bangalore. The fares are higher than Bombay Delhi Pune. My sense is that the standard taxi fare in Bombay is lower than the auto fare in Bangalore. Yet the attitude sucks n they are going on strike ? What’s up?

After a friend tagged me on the discussion, I responded with the following..

On Sun we were at a favorite lunch spot, the manager alerted us that they’ll be raising prices soon due to the upcoming hike in LPG prices. This brings us to point #1.

  1. A commercial establishment can raise prices in response to rising costs; auto rickshaw rates are set by the govt/RTA so all they can do is protest/lobby.
  2. The recent fare hike (Rs. 25 minimum and 13/km) tips Bangalore past Chennai (at 12/km).
  3. Most people paint the entire auto rick community with a broad brush but we believe that at least 25-30% of the 1.5+ lakh auto drivers go on meter, are polite decent folk (and we are working to onboard them into the mGaadi network).
  4. Most of the time when an auto driver refuses a trip, it’s because he has his own heuristics (which areas he knows, which trip will get him an easy follow-on trip without incurring ‘dead miles’, etc.). In short, heuristics for daily income determinism.
  5. When a drivers asks, say Rs. 30, extra during rush hour in a traffic snarl, he’s trying to compensate for the reduced income/hour. Contrast this with Olacabs’ rush hour surcharge or Uber’s hybrid pricing of “Rs 2 per min” on top of the basic “Rs 18/km”. As commercial operators, Ola and Uber can legitimately adopt this kind of pricing whereas the RTA-mandated auto drivers cannot.

 

Reforming Bangalore’s Public Transport

By | Buses, Commuting | No Comments

Karthik (Resident Quant at Takshashila Institution and Bangalore denizen) does a structured rant on what’s wrong with Bangalore’s bus infrastructure and how it could be fixed. He then storied his tweets and shared on Facebook where it was picked up by a mutual friend and showed up in my newsfeed and.. of course I HAD to share it on the mGaadi blog. You know.. just your garden variety sharing and amplification at work. Some interesting ideas in here so do browse all the way to the end.