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Pvt city buses may go off road soon

PRIVATE CITY buses that hit the road after smoke-belching tempos were banned following a high court order over seven years ago may soon go off the city road. There are around 200 private city buses plying on various routes.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 01:25 IST

PRIVATE CITY buses that hit the road after smoke-belching tempos were banned following a high court order over seven years ago may soon go off the city road. There are around 200 private city buses plying on various routes.

As per the transport department’s decision, all public transport vehicles have to switch over to CNG by November 30 beyond which no diesel-petrol public transport vehicle will be allowed to operate in the city. The new permits too will be issued to only CNG vehicles.

The growing number of autos on the busy Charbagh-Chinhat route, the tough competition from the UPSRTC’s newly introduced city buses, besides the high cost involved in conversion to CNG are the reasons that may force private bus operators to call it a day.

Around 1200 diesel/petrol autos and tempos have either been replaced with the CNG ones or have got CNG kits retrofitted. The UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has already inducted four CNG buses into its city bus fleet. However, not a single private bus has so far converted into CNG even as the conversion deadline is fast approaching.

“We don’t think it will be viable for us anymore,” said Lucknow City Bus Owners’ Association president RK Mishra. 

“Most of the autos and tempos are now plying on the prime routes. Besides, the UPSRTC is also operating its buses parallel to those of others. It will be too much to spend Rs 3 lakh on CNG conversion at a time when we are already facing difficult times,” Mishra explained.  

Moreover, he said, CNG was not sufficiently available nor was the bus conversion facility available in the city.

However, he said the association would meet the transport commissioner to request him to extend the conversion deadline.

On the other hand, the Scooters India Ltd has also requested the transport department to extend the conversion deadline for its Euro-2 autos and tempos.

“Besides non availability of sufficient CNG as yet, the Scooters India also is not able to replace over 3,000 autos in the city,” said a senior officer, adding, “it has been manufacturing only around 500 CNG autos per month and these 500 tempos have to be supplied to three cities — Lucknow, Kanpur and Agra.”