I’ve spent the last two hours traveling to itpl (whitefield) for a meeting. Thankfully I’m not driving – the volvo service from banashankari is ‘efficient’ enough to avoid that. It doesn’t seem I’ll reach for another ten minutes. Or maybe I will – just got past a monster traffic jam.
The bus is full. Mostly IT types with dogtags around their necks. I imagine that unlike me, most of these people do this ‘trek’ daily. A total of four hours every day spent traveling. I don’t see many laptops out, not even smartphones. So we can assume that most of these people aren’t working.
Think about the number of people who make such treks and you begin to wonder if someone has done some analysis on the total cost of lost time thanks to time lost in travel. It’s been a long time since I stopped doing something like this, but I don’t know what employers are doing to save this time.
A former employer of mine recognized this problem early and encouraged us to work from home – it helped that it was an accepted practice at the parent office in the US also. When I bring this up with friends, they point out that the motivation of the labour force is a problem, and if not supervised they’ll not work at all. An unproductive day is better than that, they say.
IT parks in bangalore are situated in an arc around the eastern edge of the city. Immigrants try to stay close to their workplaces but thanks to job switches and roommate switches, most of them, too end up traveling significantly. As for long-time residents, they prefer to stay in their ‘native’ areas and do a longer commute than shifting to an unfamiliar area and still doing a commute.
Now the question arises – whose responsibility is it to break this deadlock and improve Bangalore’s productivity? Both employees and employers seem resigned to the high commute time and consequent loss of productivity. The government has much to gain from increased productivity, but the causality there is not very apparent.
I’m about to reach my destination so I’ll close the post here with the question still open. However, what do you think needs to be done to enable bangalore to break out of this high commute time deadlock?