Monday, October 08, 2007

Why do Blueline buses continue to kill?

In July the Times of India reported that Delhi State's Transport Minister, Haroon Yusuf, would pray at Ajmer for respite from deaths caused by Blueline buses.

Either the visit didn't happen or the Spirit at the Dargah wasn't mollified because deaths from Blueline buses have continued.

Seven people, including five women, were killed in Badarpur area on Sunday morning when an overspeeding Blueline bus rammed into people crossing a road, triggering protests by angry onlookers who indulged in stone pelting and tried to set the bus afire.

Blueline bus kills seven in Delhi-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India

Not only the prayers, nothing else seems to work either:

  1. Speed governors. (Easily tampered with. Or, maybe with some difficulty.)
  2. A crackdown on the buses. (Whatever that means.)
  3. Action against errant drivers. (Not much it seems, because it hasn't made a difference to their behaviour.)

"Technology is the only way out of this mess," according to Mr Yusuf. And some technology solutions are being thought up.

But my question is: Who or what created the mess in the first place? It should be obvious that the answer is incorrectly aligned incentives!

It pays to speed. And the returns aren't offset by penalties, whether you are caught speeding or arrested after the accident.

What would fix the problem then? Adjusting the incentives, of course. But that seems to be difficult to do for some reason.


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