Massive planned investment in public transport, incentives to civic bodies to purchase buses under JNNURM-II and public-private partnership model for city transport, as proposed in the draft 12th Five Year Plan document, are likely to bring cheer to bus makers who have been going through a lull for the past two years.
The second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) envisages R200,000 crore investment to improve amenities in 65 cities. A significant portion of this will go into public transport.
In the first phase of JNNURM, civic bodies had purchased 15,260 low floor and semi-low floor buses.
This time the purchase order could be significantly higher. Sources say close to Rs. 50,000 crore may be used to create rapid bus transit systems in several cities.
The 12th Plan draft also emphasises public transport. “Urban transport projects and related activities including provision of buses, which improves public transport are admissible components under JNNURM-II,” it says.
“If it comes it will be a big positive. We would welcome it,” said Rajiv Saharia, executive director, Ashok Leyland. “We still don’t have enough buses given our huge population.”
Major players such as Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Volvo and Mercedes Benz have built up capacities and products. The new ‘bus body code’ has given them opportunity to come out with fully-built buses. The push comes at a time when the bus segment saw a second straight year of slow growth. Buses weighing more than 8 tonnes clocked 30,756 units this fiscal so far, up 6% from 2011.