News : MSRTC Helpline Goes Unanswered
Nashik, India, Sept 5, 2016 -- Claiming to serve commuters in the state with a round-the-clock helpline number, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation does not even have a functioning call centre.
"In June, while I was travelling by the MSRTC bus from Pune to Nashik, my bus broke down at Narayangao. I wanted to register an online complaint and called the helpline at 9.15pm. No one answered my call for one-and-half-hours. I gave up because by then another bus was made available by the corporation. My concern is why was there no help for us when we were left stranded and needed them the most," said Ankit Rathi, a resident of Nashik travelling by the semi-luxury bus.
While the helpline number is usually engaged during the day, after 6pm calls are unanswered.
Rathi is not the only commuter who was left in the lurch. Kiran Salve, who wanted help in booking her ticket through the online process did not recieve any from the call centre. She tried to book tickets for Kolhapur through online process and twice her account was charged for the funds but failed to result in any bookings.
"The first booking was made around 3.00pm on August 26 for my travel on September 6. The MSRTC charged me Rs 1800 for three tickets but I did not recieve any booking confirmation. I dialed the helpline number and they asked me to said try booking after half an hour, but the incident repeated again. When I called up the helpline again, nobosy answered my calls," the Kiran said.
Another commuter, Shreyansh Rahane, was also appalled by MSRTC's laxity in setting up a full-fledged 24x7 helpline service. "When MSRTC is running services round-the-clock, how can they choose to answer helpline calls only between office timings in the current age of cut-throat competition. The call centres or helpline numbers of state transport of neighbouring cities are available even on Sundays. They have Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) to guide and take cognizance of your statement," he added.
"The helpline number of MSRTC 1800221250 may be toll-free but is not a dedicated helpline at all. The number has been linked to their office phone 022-23085581. The officials are only fooling us," Shreyansh said.
Another traveller said that the huge number queries likely to land at MSRTC's doorstep in case they begin a helpline may be the reason for them to hold back. "MSRTC is reluctant to provide any solution on the issue. Opening a helpline and making it public will see a huge number of queries from public. It can be on the lines of Railways with security and other issues being linked to the respective district headquarters where the bus is at that particular point," said Vivek Kolgaonkar.
Claiming to be in service of commuters in the State round-the-clock, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation however does not have call centre functioning accordingly. Call up the helpline number during day timings most of the time the number is engaged and if you call up after 6.00 pm the helpline is never answered.
"When travelling by MSRTC bus from Pune to Nashik, the bus broke down at Narayangao. I wanted to register online complaint and hence called the helpline at 9.15 pm. None answered the call for 1.15 hours. We left our efforts as another bus was made available by the corporation. Question is why there was no help for us when it mattered most," Ankit Rathi, resident of Nashik travelling by semi-luxury bus said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, is the state run bus service of Maharashtra, India with 16,000 buses which ferry 7 million passengers daily on 17,000 routes.
Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2016