Paan-stained walls, paper & plastic litter, smelly corners and dirty over-bridges are a common sight in high traffic areas, especially at the bus terminus which experiences heavy footfall. Stench from toilets which have no doors, no buckets, no flush and with defunct washbasins adds to the agony of waiting commuters. This, despite the toilets being pay-to-use. Users care little about leaving the toilets clean for the next person.
While bus service providers agree that things are running out of hand where cleanliness is concerned, some of them have gone ahead to outsource cleaning of bus terminuses. KSRTC has outsourced the cleaning and maintenance of eight terminals to Mangalore-based Durga Facility Management Services Pvt Ltd.
Today, the Mangalore bus terminus is clean & litter-free, the waiting room & the offices are spic-and-span and the parking lot is free of stagnant water, leaky pipes, litter & grime. Even the urinals and washroom areas are clean, odourless and maintained at regular hours.
“Maintaining public places like the bus stand is a challenging job,” says BS Shetty, Managing Director, Durga Facility.“Firstly there is high traffic all the time and the footfall goes up during public holidays and festival days. Unlike other places/sectors, it is difficult to follow a fixed schedule for cleaning the bus stands. The janitors have to work round-the-clock to maintain the premises. If the terminus is not clean, we are answerable not only to the government officials and press but also to the public.”
Durga Facility has deployed trained manpower of 53 housekeeping staff, seven supervisors and one facility manager for maintaining a total area of 416,930sqft. This includes eight small and big bus terminuses in the Mangalore division. In addition to the respective bus stand in-charge of KSRTC, the operations manager of Durga Facility also monitors the day-to-day activities. “In some bus stands, where traffic/vehicular movement is high (100-200 buses park in the stand), we deploy more staff to work in three shifts. In small terminus, our janitors work in two shifts. “As these janitors have to clean between buses, we have to also ensure their safety. Hence, we provide specialised training to our janitors. We have an in-house trainer who gives demo to our staff on site. We have also provided them with special uniforms during working hours.”
The three prime areas that need regular cleaning at the terminus are parking area, waiting room and the bus terminus. The bus-terminus area is regularly swept with a broom. The front and parking areas are swept and cleaned with the help of high pressure washer. The office and the waiting rooms are deep cleaned with the help of scrubber. Usually, a dry mop is used here to clear the dust off the floors and in case of spillage wet mops are used. The toilet floor is cleaned with a scrubber whereas the urinal bowls are cleaned with a single disc scrubber followed by a jet pressure wash. “We carry out deep cleaning twice a day subject to the traffic. The floors are maintained with auto scrubbers. The floors are mopped using a double bucket system followed by regular dry mopping. Cobwebs and other dust are removed using a wet & dry vacuum. Besides this, a walk-behind sweeper runs through the entire terminus to remove dirt, sand and dust.”
In keeping with the cleaning standards, separate colour coded dusters and mops are used in different areas. “The dusters and mops used to clean the toilets are not used for common areas like parking and waiting rooms. We have also provided gloves and masks to the housekeepers working on the toilets. Before KSRTC handed us the contract, the toilets were in a pathetic condition. We have managed to break the popular belief that public toilets are always unclean. We provide the passengers with contact details of the concerned departments in case any help is needed.”
In all, Durga Facility deploys single disc machines, auto scrubber driers, walk-behind sweepers, pressure jets and vacuum cleaners to keep the area clean. The supervisor maintains a ‘machine history card’ of individual cleaning equipment. This card records details like the time the equipment was taken in use, the number of hours, name of the person handling the equipment, the number of hours the machine was in use and other details. “Through these updates, we come to know about the technical snags in any of the machines being used. Any remark about the equipment mentioned in the card is cross-checked by the supervisor before being brought to our notice. Suitable action is taken.” Right from the time the machine/equipment is taken from the stocks or from the office, it is entered into a register where records of the equipment usage and performance are noted.
“Finally, it is important to keep the surroundings clean. We have been successful in convincing people to help us maintain the bus terminus through signage placed at strategic places, as cleanliness is a joint effort,” says Shetty.