Bus operators are likely to set three conditions before the state transport minister in lieu of facilitating the proposal mooted by the Mamata government to shift the city’s busiest bus terminuses from Esplanade and Babughat.
City bus operators will soon brace transport minister Madan Mitra with the three conditions-a hike in bus fares to 55 paise per kilometre, allow buses to extend their halt at Esplanade by a fair few minutes and the provision of alternative bus terminuses somewhere close to Esplanade and Babughat.
“Ask us and we would say we are against the shifting of bus terminuses from Esplanade and Babughat. But the since the government is keen to push ahead with the plan and has a court order to boot, we have little option but to fall in line. Hence, we have decided to put forward certain conditions before the transport minister, so the move doesn’t hurt our business,” Rahul Chattopadhay, a member of the Bus-Minibus Samann way Committee said.
The state government had on May 31 mooted the proposal to shift bus terminuses from the central business district to other strategic locations across the city. The move was primarily aimed at restoring such heritage structures as the Victoria Memorial and Shahid Minar.
“We have already identified the places where we wish to relocate the government buses. We would shift all bus routes to these new terminals in a month. But it would take some more months to shift the private buses to the new routes,” the transport minister had been quoted as saying after a meeting at Writers’. No fewer than 2,500 buses, both and state and private, ply from the Dharmatala and Babughat terminuses every day.
The government has reportedly picked out six depots at Taratala, Joka, Kasba, Belgharia, Thakurpukur and Nilgunge near Belgharia where the government buses from Esplanade are likely to be shifted.
However, the city bus operators have since urged the transport minister to consider setting up the alternate terminuses close to Esplanade and Babughat. They are likely to ask the state transport department to locate a plot next to the Kidderpore bus depot and set up a terminus exclusively for public buses. “Or they can shift the state buses to other depots and turn the Kidderpore terminus exclusively for private buses. Should the government extend the route, we must be allowed to hike the fare from Dharmatala/Babughat to the new terminuses to 55 paise per km,” Chattopadhay said.
Mitra said even after moving to the new terminuses, the buses will be allowed to halt at the Esplanade stop and take passengers. Bus operators have now sought longer stoppages at the Esplanade halt for offloading bulk cargo of traders. “Traders often board our buses to carry goods to and from the city. Hence, we must be allowed longer stoppages at Esplanade to offload the cargo,” said Chattopadhyay.