Dave and Jenny then provide an economic analysis:
The Blueline’s grim numbers stem entirely from two perverse economic incentives: the driver’s salary is wholly dependant on how many fares he picks up, and each bus is in direct competition with every other bus on the route.
The Blueline buses are privately-owned, not city-run. While a city-run service would prioritize getting its citizens from A to B, a private driver is less focused on customer service than on overtaking the next bus down the road. After all, the faster he drives, the more competitors he passes, the more passengers he picks up, and the more money he makes.
The safer he drives, the more buses will pass him, and the less money he earns.
I am afraid that this is too simplistic an explanation. Indian traffic and road behaviour do not lend themselves so easily to economic analysis or reasoning.
When I watch, on National Geographic Channel, the story of the wildebeests of the Masai Mara region crossing the river to get to the Tanzanian side of the grasslands, I get a clue on our road instinct. These wildebeests, in their thousands, jump into the river, regardless of the fact that there are hungry crocodiles waiting for them. While quite a few succumb to the crocs, the victims still form a small percentage of the total herd. So, the species moves on to the greener side. If a few individual wildebeests had to die, so be it.
That’s the instinct that guides our behaviour on the roads. As an individual, of course, I may not want to die, but as a species as a whole, we are programmed differently. It is inevitable that some (or many) people will die in accidents. But that should not frighten us into introducing traffic rules and needlessly complicating our lives. 115 people fed to the Blueline crocodiles is no big deal, in a city of 10 million people. The species must move on.