Goodbye Autorickshaw| Bangalore

Bangalore traditionally has been the Mecca for autorickshaw drivers. Unlike other cities there was no hail-a-taxi, or human-powered vehicles to offer any competition. The public transport a centralized hub and spook design (all busses converging to Majestic) which is good for a small Tier-2 city that does not have enough people for a bus load full of Point-to-point solution. As a result the city center is jammed and dying, while the outskirts are booming. The metro service is a joke with no parking space the commuters near the station, feeder service for multi-modal transport for convenient long distance office commute.
The frequent evening showers, strict policing around bars/pubs, huge female/immigrant/temporary/young population who are averse to investing into assets make it an ideal place for auto drivers. The streets are crowded and parking space is so difficult to have that most residents prefer not drive. The rentals of Rs 13/-per km are highest in the country and the strict licensing policy means that there is a perpetual demand of travellers and high occupancy.
There are 1,40,000 registered autorichshaw plying in the streets everyday generating close to INR 10cr ($2mn)of revenue. Considering that the operating cost is the lowest amongst all mode of travels, most auto-richshaw drivers enjoy handsome profits.

However there is a very thin line between benefiting from a situation and over-exploiting it. Rude behavior, extorting excess fare and tampering the meter is rampant. It is impossible to hire a taxi at less than twice the normal fare during rainy season or peak office hours. My wife lives 2km from her office and there is an auto stand next to the apartment & her office. Yet it was so cumbersome to haggle with the drivers that she chose to buy a car instead (even though there was no space to park the second car)
Recently the radio taxi service is giving them tough competition. TaxiForSure offers 4km ride for as low as 49/- and 14/- per km later obliterating the economic advantage  of the underpowered, noisy, vibrating contraptions named auto. Not only the taxi service is more polite, reliable but they have real doors and windows to protect the riders from the street pollution and vagaries of environment.
However it is not a simple question of economics or newer technology replacing the old. It is a question of better customer service prevailing. There are countless examples where monopolies benefit from favorable market situations. However those who take undue advantage of the situation are dethroned with a quick and merciless death. Good PR and courteous operations is the key for long term survival of business.


Vadodara & Modi

I did my schooling from Vadodara and I must say that the importance of Baroda/Vadodara has only diminished over the time. 15 years ago Vadodara was a much better city than even Bangalore. It has quality Infrastructure and was a hub of industries. Amul (Anand Milk Udyug Limited) was only a few miles away, ONGC & petrochemical industries had huge presence, L&T factory were some of the common household brands. Narmada dam & powerplants around ensured that there was uninterrupted power & water supply throughout the city. Army had a huge presence (EME) which improved the purchasing power and created a demand for quality education, luxury items & good infrastructure. The road infrastructure was top notch, basically it had all the ingredients needed to unleash an industrial revolution.
In comparison Bangalore was a similar sized city and was comparable in every respect. But 15 years later Vadodara is still is a promising industrial town (not city) and Bangalore is the next metro. Why?
Vadodara and Gujarat had uninterrupted rule of BJP while Bangalore although BJP dominated changed its political allegiance more frequently. Politicians like diapers are good when new, but stink when not changed often enough.


Electricity Bill Payment| Bangalore

When I first moved to electronic city, I was shocked to know that there was no online payment gateway for paying electricity bills. Electronic city (in spite of its fancy name) was part of the Rural areas of Bangalore and hence did not have digital records. Being a busy professional. I had no time to pay these bills physically and had to pay 35-50/- for brokers who would do that on my behalf.
Luckily hearing to pleads of citizens like me, Bescom has started a payment gateway for people living in ourskirts (not serviced by BangaloreOne or other initiatives)
Step 1: Log on to 
Step 2: Locate ur area code:
5210402 – Aimangla AC Section
5220213 – Amruthur AC Section
5110401 – Anekal
5210103 – Angodu
5110403 – Attibele
5220108 – Badavanahalli AC Section
5120101 – Bagepalli
5120401 – Bangarapet USD
5210109 – Basavapatna AC Section
5120303 – Battlahalli AC Section
5120402 – Bethamangala AC Section
5210303 – Bharamasagara AC Section
5110306 – Bidadi
5210105 – Bilchodu AC Section
5220306 – Biligere AC Section
5220114 – Byalya AC Section
5220210 – C S Pura AC Section
5110402 – Chandapur (Electronic city falls under this jurisdiction)
5210106 – Channagiri
5110301 – Channapatna (R )
5220202 – Chelur AC Section
5120102 – Cheluru AC Section
5120103 – Chickballapura RSD
5120108 – Chickballapura Urban
5220301 – Chickknayakanahalli
5210306 – Chikkajajur AC Section
5120301 – Chintamani RSD
5120304 – Chintamani USD
5210301 – Chitradurga RSD
5210302 – Chitradurga USD
5220310 – Dandinashivara AC Section
5210101 – Davangere RSD
5110204 – Devenahalli
5110101 – Doddaballapur
5220209 – Gubbi
5120104 – Gudibanda
5220206 – Gulur AC Section
5220212 – H Durga AC Section
5220304 – Handanakere AC Section
5210201 – Harihara
5210401 – Hariyabbe
5220207 – Hebbur AC Section
5210304 – Hireguntanur AC Section
5210406 – Hiriyur
5210305 – Holalkere
5220106 – Holavanahalli AC Section
5210203 – Honnali
5220308 – Honnavalli AC Section
5210308 – Hosadurga
5220204 – Hosakere AC Section
5110201 – Hosakote
5220302 – Huliyar
5210104 – Jagalur
5120306 – Jangamkote AC Section
5220203 – Kadaba AC Section
5120302 – Kaiwar AC Section
5220104 – Kallambella AC Section
5110303 – Kanakapura (R )
5110302 – Kanakapura (U)
5220113 – Kodigenahalli
5120201 – Kolar RSD
5120203 – Kolar Urban
5220105 – Koratagere
5110103 – Kudur
5210102 – Kukkawada AC Section
5220211 – Kunigal
5220107 – Madhugiri
5110102 – Magadi
5210202 – Malebennur
5210307 – Malladihalli AC Section
5120403 – Malur
5220111 – Mangalawada AC Section
5220311 – Mayasandra AC Section
5220109 – Medigeshi AC Section
5210403 – Molakalmuru
5210107 – Nallur AC Section
5110202 – Nandagudi
5110105 – Nelamangala
5220201 – Nittur
5220307 – Nonavinakere AC Section
5210204 – Nyamathi AC Section
5220102 – Pattanayakanahalli AC Section
5220110 – Pavagada
5110305 – Ramanagara (R )
5210405 – Rampura AC Section
5210108 – Santhebennur
5110404 – Sarjapur AC Section
5110304 – Sathanur
5120305 – Sidlaghatta RSD
5220103 – Sira RSD
5220101 – Sira USD
5120202 – Srinivasapura
5210309 – Srirampura AC Section
5110203 – Sulibele Section
5110104 – Tavarekere
5210404 – Thalak AC Section
5220303 – Thimmanahalli AC Section
5110106 – Thyamgondlu Section
5210110 – Thyvanagi AC Section
5220305 – Tiptur
5220205 – Tumkur RSD1
5220208 – Tumkur RSD2
5220309 – Turuvekere
5120105 – Vatadahosahalli AC Section
5110205 – Vijayapura Section
5220112 – YN Hoskote AC Section
Step 3: Fill in the RRNO number and customer ID (from your latest electricity bill)
Step 4: When you select Pay: your name (as per BESCOM records) and your amount outstanding will pop up. Please verify this before progressing
Step 5: Payment gateway (please note that Bescom charges 5/- for online transactions, 1% to 0.75% for credit card transactions.)
Step 6: Take a print-out. Like the Obamacare, this website is also flimsy. Hence don’t be surprised if the record is lost or the website hangs.
Step 7: Wait for the email confirmation from Bangalore Electricity State Board
PS: this is only for those lazy couch potatoes who cannot travel to the BESCOM office.