TSRTC initiatives to ensure fool-proof online bus pass facility for students
Only after the particular institution where the student is enrolled approves the application, the student can go to the bus pass counters and get the bus pass by paying cash or through their debit or credit cards.
Telangana State Road Transport Corporation’s (TSRTC) decision to go online with student bus passes, an initiative which was started last academic year, is being repeated this year with some minor changes to the process.
Though the new process aids Digital India initiative, aims to minimize inconvenience for students, hopes to make educational institutions responsible and accountable for maintaining students’ data and discourages students from becoming irregular to colleges, the process is not without limitations- which could be easily addressed at the software application level with some policy changes.
Earlier, students used to get bonafide certificate, admission number and other required documents from the schools and colleges and used to apply for bus passes by paying money at the bus pass counters near bus stands. Students had to go back and forth between their institution and these counters if some document was missing.
Now, by making the application process online, students are required to fill their bus pass application form online at www.online.tsrtc pass.in for which they would get a confirmation on their phone immediately with a bus pass ID.
Only after the particular institution where the student is enrolled approves the application, the student can go to the bus pass counters and get the bus pass by paying cash or through their debit or credit cards. For this, educational institutions have to register themselves with RTC by getting a code with a user ID and password.
Institutions (private and public) have different administrative charges payable to RTC to get this code and to renew the code every year, based on the level of education they provide. “This is a good move which prevents a single student getting multiple bus passes. But here the problem comes while renewing the pass every month (in case of college students).
For example there are students who want to appear for supplementary exams which are conducted in September. These students who come from rural areas take a month-off for preparation by staying home. When they miss the online due date to apply for renewal, then they have to go through the re-application process all-over-again.
Bus pass counters which have been contracted-out to private franchises are taking 30-40 days to re-issue bus passes. Students should be allowed to renew their passes in times of emergency,” commented Anil Kumar, District Convenor, ABVP.
To address this issue, RTC officials say that students need not appear in person at the counters to renew their pass every month and that they can send their old pass along with any of their family member instead before the due date.
While private educational institutions are now being given additional responsibility to maintain, approve and monitor student bus pass applications online, they still feel that more can be done to make the process complete.
“If bus pass print-outs could be taken in the education institutions after the applications are filled, uploaded and approved, then it will save a lot of time for students as they don’t have to visit and form queues at the bus pass counters at all. Shouldn’t that be the goal of digitalization?” asked Ravinder, Principal of Siddarth Junior College in Medak.
According to RTC officials, in the past several private educational institutions (schools and colleges) which were unrecognized have misused the system by giving bus passes to students who were not even enrolled. Under the new system, only educational institutions which are recognized by the government are being given the codes.
“Educational institutions can now keep a check on students who don’t attend classes regularly, audit would become easy, educational institutions are being made responsible and above all misuse of concession fare by non-beneficiaries would be prevented,” said P Srinivas, Depot Manager, Medak, speaking to The Hans India. Though the new online system has many advantages, from a student’s perspective renewal of bus passes is still a big cause for concern.
“Exceptions could be created to the business rules with some conditions in the software application by the programmers to make it easy for renewing bus passes even after the due date in special cases. Printing of bus passes can also be allowed to happen at any printer. But this requires a policy decision at the TSRTC head office level,” suggested Brahmi, a Software Engineer from US.
RTC officials concede that the present system may not be perfect, but issues which arise can be rectified. “A day will come when a student would be able to print a bus pass at the click of a mouse sitting at home. This effort of RTC is a starting point for that goal,” said P Srinivas.
By Vivek Bhoomi