Skip to main content

Truck speed and food 'batta' - interesting relationship in India!

This is one of the best insights I have heard for a very long time, and it came through a very unexpected conversation. I was travelling from Delhi to Chennai last month, and my flight was late by more than an hour. And on top of that, there was huge traffic jam just outside the airport. The journey took me nearly an hour to cover a distance of 6 kilometer.

But it provided me an opportunity to start a conversation with the taxi driver (I forgot his name now). When asked why he choose to drive car in city traffic instead of a truck. He said the lorry schedule is very demanding and he wants to stay close to the city. Its another thing that taxi drivers are made to work for very  long hours (it's for another time).

I started asking questions on where he used to drive the truck, what he used to carry, and how the roads are etc., (the answer for the curious ones- to Pune, auto components from Tamil Nadu, and roads have improved tremendously). Then just to reinforce my understanding of why good roads don't necessarily speed up travel time, I asked him whether he used to wait for a long time to pay toll and that there were too many toll booths.

He says its true that they waste time at the toll booths, but the phenomena is mostly restricted to toll booths near the cities. Elsewhere, the problem is not that much. His reply made me more curious because we were taught through various presentations by all interested parties as to how toll booths and entry tax posts slow down the movement.

Then I asked if roads are good and toll booths don't take that much time, then why do trucks take long time to reach a destination? His reply was, "If we drive slow, we get better mileage. And we can use the saved money for food"

To be frank, I never expected this reply. He says they would save at least 10-15% on fuel if they drive at 40-50 kmph, and whatever savings would pay for their food bill. This means they could save more from their earnings. I think truck owners approximately know that it takes so much of fuel for a distance between two places, and they are fine so long as it does not exceed the pre-determined amount.

I am not sure how time critical the components are for the customers (both who supply and buy) and the turn around time for truck owners, but if they look at incentives for truck drivers, they could be looking at huge productivity gains!

Of course, my sample is one. The taxi driver could be lying, or that he might be an outlier. Not all are like him! 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How can you support a publication you like

When I shifted to my half completed (more on this some other time) flat in Gurgaon in 2016, I couldn't locate newspaper distributors for four or five months. Suddenly, from consuming four or five newspapers, I was completely dependent on digital media. I was going less directly to the news source (say, thehindu.com or livemint.com) but was getting my news from Facebook and Twitter, and from apps like Flipboard.

It became an experiment, as I was consuming interesting stuff but I was not necessarily getting informed. People whom I have met once or twice, or have never met are influencing what I was consuming via Facebook. If you're wondering why you often see posts by your most popular friends, that's the way Facebook algorithms work, unless you specify who's feed should come first. If Facebook promotes post of your not-so-popular friends, why would you read!

I searched hard to find a newspaper distributor and found one finally, after four or five months. So now I subsc…

What if government schools and hospitals attract people with money

I had this random thought (and I get this often only when I have 1000 important things to finish!)- what if people who can afford private schools and hospitals find state-run schools and hospitals good enough for them. All of my friends in UK and US don't send their children to private schools (its another matter that location matters on quality of state-run schools there) and those in UK, don't spend money on healthcare.

Just imagine if this can happen in India. People will be left with more surplus that they can save more or spend on something else. School fees in major Indian cities can be as high as Rs 2 lakh per child per year. The sheer confidence that we don't have to spend on medical expenses and the state will take care will give confidence to spend more money.

The multiplier effect of this extra money in the hands of the people will hugely benefit the economy, and can spring creative enterprises.

This level of expenditure (even Rs50,000 per child per year) is si…

Being hopeless....

Three months back when my mom was visiting me, she experience heart palpitations for two consecutive nights. Worried I called my cardiologist friend who asked us to visit him in the government hospital on that day as it was a non-OPD (out patients day) duty for him. Apparently non-OPD days are less crowded. As we sat waiting, we saw many worried parents bringing their just born babies to treat serious heart problems. What struck me were the faces of these parents - a feeling of hopelessness. This was their last hope to treat their infants in a state-run hospital as they don't  have money to take them elsewhere.

Fortunately, the staff at this government hospital were treating patients sympathetically. I hoped the patients would have got the best of treatment available. In comparison, patients were treated as cattle herds at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India's premier hospital. To get an cardio OPD appointment, you will have stand in the line from 5 PM …