Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Tramways and motor buses are the remaining forms of transport with which we deal. Tramways have been in existence for a number of years, but are to be found only in a few of the more important cities, such as Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Rangoon, Cawnpore, Delhi and Karachi, In Calcutta and Bombay they give employment to about 6, 000 and 4, 500 workers respectively; in other centres the numbers are considerably smaller. The scope for their expansion is limited as there are comparatively few cities in India with a population exceeding 200, 000 persons, and most Indian towns are merely overgrown hamlets without any of the modem conveniences associated with town life in the West. The tramways thus employ only a small number of workers. The system of recruitment does not differ materially from that obtaining in the larger factories. Both in Calcutta and Bombay a considerable proportion of the workers comes from outside, and the number of men applying for work is well in excess of the number of vacancies. Selection is made by a responsible officer of the company. The selected men are first required to pass a medical test as to their fitness and have then to spend about 6 weeks in a training school. In Calcutta 65% of the workers have only five years' service or less, while in Bombay the percentage is as high as 76. The hours of work are generally fixed on the basis of an 8 hour day, but the actual hours worked by the traffic staff are longer, i.e., 9 or 10 in one case. This is attributed to delays on the road and also, to a large extent, to the extra trips which have to be worked on account of absenteeism. In Bombay the normal working days are six in the week; in Calcutta the men are allowed a rest day with pay if they work for six days, but if they work on the 7th day, as do many of the up-country men, they receive an extra day's pay. Motor buses, unlike tramways, are a recent development and their possibilities are very much greater. Fifteen years ago there was hardly a bus service in India, but to-day the motor bus is to bo found in the cities and also over the entire countryside, wherever there are roads fit for motor traffic. The total length of metalled roads in British India is now over 60, 000 miles and road development may be expected to make rapid strides in the near future. For the most part the bus services in India are the result of individual enterprise rather than the creation of large concerns; many are carried on under a system of unbridled competition by numbers of small owners. The number of drivers and conductors employed in the various bus services throughout India must now be fairly large, but we received no evidence as to their hours of work or other conditions of employment.