Shiju was propelled into the limelight when a Facebook post by a regular bus commuter VR Rahul went viral in the first week of February.
The post said: “He has been amidst us with a smile and a pleasant face not usually seen in all bus conductors. He is always busy playing good songs…regulating the air condition…all while ticketing. However what makes him dear to us is that he is an ideal conductor, one whom Kerala SRTC can be proud of.”
Talk to BS Shiju and you realise that he is genuinely passionate about his job. “Every job –whatever it be- should be done passionately,” says Shiju matter-of-factly. So for him, this translates into not just ticketing his passengers, but also ensuring that none of the regular commuters miss the bus.
Shiju is a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus conductor of a Volvo bus plying from Neyyattinkara to Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram. “Earlier, I used to send individual text messages to the passengers to keep them abreast of the bus-timings as well as the current location of the bus.”
It was only six months ago that Shiju created the WhatsApp group “Volvo Techies” for the exclusive use of the regular commuters who depend on his bus to make it on time to their various offices dotting the IT campus. The group presently comprises 60 members.
Right from the time the bus begins its daily journey at around 7.30 in the morning, Shiju begins alerting the members as to the exact progress made. This includes tidbits about the various traffic snarls too.
And in the event of a few passengers being late by a few minutes, the Volvo actually waits for them at their respective stops. Imagine a state-transport bus actually waiting for its passengers to get on!
For anyone actually acquainted with the sight of an over-crowded Kerala state transport bus vrooming past in a dangerously lopsided manner on gaping pot-holed roads, not caring in the least whether commuters climb aboard or alight, or maybe even fall along the way-side, this would indeed come a whiff of fresh air!
Though Shiju is currently the only administrator of the group, passengers have now begun actively chipping in with updating the current status of the bus for the advantage of their fellow-commuters.
“Earlier I used to manage the whole thing, but as ticketing begins to gather pace, it becomes difficult. Our passengers now have taken it upon themselves to keep the rest updated. All I have to do is just alert them about the start-time,” grins Shiju.
It was a year ago that Shiju was asked to ride on this particular bus-route. The good rapport that he now shares with all his passengers has led them to celebrate birthdays as well as share both family and workspace experiences with each other enroute to their destination.
A resident of Thachottukavu near Malayinkeezhu in the capital city, Shiju has been with the Kerala SRTC for the last 14 years. His wife Sheeja is a nurse at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.