Training Drivers in Jaipur
By Umang Jain & Prashanth Bachu November 11, 2013 | New Delhi
On November 7 & 8, 2013 Prashanth Bachu and Umang Jain of EMBARQ India helped conduct a driver training workshop for Jaipur City Transport Services Limited in Jaipur. EMBARQ India partnered with Mohammad Haneef, a renowned driving instructor who has trained over 26,000 drivers in Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) for over 12 years, to train the drivers of Jaipur City Transport Services (JCTSL). The training session was attended by a World Bank representative.
Jaipur Bus operations is a unique example of a successful public partnership wherein the operator, the Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, is a public entity, and JCTSL, is in charge of supervising, controlling and monitoring of operations. The service operates 320 semi low-floor buses-221 of those on 10 routes, each of these routes are designated by different color, out of the 10- routes, 8 routes are radial, while 2 are circular routes. The buses are color coded with each route being designated by a different color. The bus system runs direction-based services i.e. by making 1 transfer one can traverse the entire city The routing plan has been devised by JCTSL in a manner so that majority of the people complete their journey with 1 transfer. JCTSL also operates 39 buses on 5 suburban routes, 60 AC buses and 20 minibuses carrying approximately 160,000 passengers daily.
As is the case with all public transport agencies fuel constitutes almost 50% of the total operating cost and thus is a major cost component. JCTSL predominantly operates semi low floor, rear engine, manual transmission Ashok Leyland make buses. The fuel efficiency of the buses at the time of procurement was approximately 3.1 km/litre which began deteriorating over time and currently ranges from 2.6-2.9km/litre.
Based on preliminary analysis, 14 drivers were identified for training for improving fuel efficiency and safety through one day of classroom training and one day of practical training along regular bus routes. Classroom training commenced with a round of introduction of drivers followed by an in depth lecture which emphasized on the importance of the position of the foot on the accelerator pedal which is the prime factor which dictates fuel efficiency. Apart from the technical training, there was an impetus to motivate the drivers by emphasizing with the challenges of driving in peak traffic conditions.
Among the techniques discussed was having a foot rest near the accelerator pedal so that the weight of the foot is transferred to the floor and the accelerator pedal be operated only by the toes and not the entire foot. Some of the salient aspects of the lecture are as follows: • The rear engine buses in idling condition operates at about 700 rev/min which implies that one doesn’t have to press the accelerator when changing the gear from ‘neutral’ to ‘drive’. • If the stop time at signal or in a traffic jam is less than 90 seconds the foot should be on the brake pedal else if it is more than 90 seconds, the gear should be in neutral and the foot should be off the brake pedal. • If the accelerator pedal is pressed to the fullest extent the power delivered from the engine reduces form 235 HP to approximately 150 HP and result in loss in efficiency
On the second day hands on training was conducted, wherein each of the drivers drove the bus under supervision of the instructor, who constantly gave tips on the manner and degree to which the accelerator pedal be pressed under different road conditions, speeds, gears etc. In order to measure the fuel efficiency the fuel tank of the bus was filled to capacity and the bus was made to ply on one of the city bus routes, fuel was filled again to capacity to know the quantity of diesel fuel consumed during the journey and the fuel efficiency calculated. Below, are the results of the training program:
Field Training Date: 08-Nov-13
Number of Drivers Trained: 14
Fuel Efficiency Before Training: 2.90 km/kg
Distance Covered During Training: 83 km Fuel Consumed: 18litre
Fuel Efficiency Observed During Training: 4.61 km/l
The field training results pleasantly surprised the drivers themselves who were estimating an improvement of about 10 – 20% over their existing performance. Both the drivers and the staff of JCTSL agreed that even after adjusting for increased passenger load during actual field conditions, an average of 3.6 km/l is achievable. The results brought to light the skill of the instructor, the importance of proper training on appropriate use of technology and the fact that driving habits are one of the most important criteria governing fuel efficiency.
While the training program and the field test run results have resulted in enthusiasm sustaining the fuel efficiency attained during training over time is a challenge. This would require various mechanisms to motivate the drivers to continue to perform better. Following strategies were broadly defined to internalise the process of achieving excellence: a) Fixing a benchmark fuel efficiency for each of the routes b) Consistently assigning the trained drivers in pairs on the 2 shifts of the day c) Daily monitoring of data and gentle and motivational counselling of the drivers d) Prominently advertising the most fuel-efficient driver for each month e) Announcing of an incentive program with 35% of the savings from fuel charges to be awarded to the driver as bonus
Fixing the drivers to the same routes and to the same buses also has been found to impact fuel-efficiency due to the familiarity with the driving environment. Doing so it the responsibility of the administrative staff. It is also recommended to make the administrative staff part of the incentive scheme so that there is a complete buy-in from all the departments to achieve this goal. While all this is done, it is also understood that training programs have to be undertaken continuously to allow for understanding the challenges faced by the drivers in achieving targets.