Hyderabad: The cash-starved Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), which had plans to replace 165 buses in the Greater Hyderabad Zone with brand new buses, has kept the decision on hold, courtesy the severe shortage of funds that the corporation has run into..
The proposal for inducting 165 new buses into the TSRTC’s city fleet was taken three years ago, with an eye on replacing existing 15-year-old buses. The new ones were to replace buses operating as Ordinary and Metro Expresses now. However, though the overall idea was to improve passenger-centric services and provide a hassle-free travelling experience in the city, the plan had to be put on hold. According to RTC officials, the corporation was reeling under acute shortage of funds, which was why the purchase plan had to be postponed. Officials said a new bus would cost nearly Rs 25 lakh each and buying 165 buses at one go would be a costly affair. “Already the RTC is running in losses. In the last financial year alone, we recorded losses of over Rs 900 crore in the State. If we want to procure new buses, we need Rs 41 crore, which will be quite a heavy burden,” a senior official said. At present, there are around 3,800 RTC buses on the city roads, of which around 180 buses have completed 15 years of service. In the past, old buses from the city would be used for operations in rural areas once new ones replaced them in the city. Rules say that vehicles that are 15 years or more are prohibited from plying on the roads to curb pollution. Apart from pollution, maintenance of old buses is also high as spare parts need replacement at regular intervals which escalates the overall costs. The decision has not gone down too well with regular passengers, who say they are fed up with the condition of many buses in the existing fleet. “Most of the buses in our route are old and rickety. They are rusting, full of dust and with torn seats. If we want more people to patronise public transport, we should ensure good condition of the vehicles as well,” says Avinash Kumar, a passenger. Another regular RTC commuter, N Sravan, points out that several city buses let out heavy plumes of thick black smoke, putting other commuters to inconvenience and also polluting the atmosphere. BUMPY RIDE • RTC wanted to induct 165 new buses for city services • Lack of funds and heavy loss have become hurdles • RTC recorded a loss of over Rs 900 crore last year • Purchasing new buses to cost Rs 41 crore • Each new bus to be around Rs 25 lakh • New fleet of buses supposed to replace 15-year-old buses • New buses were to be used as Ordinary and Metro Expresses • Number of buses currently plying in city: Nearly 3,800 • Daily passengers: 33 lakh • Number of daily trips: 44,000 • Kilometres logged per day: 10 lakh.