Once touted as a jewel in the city's public transport system, the almost two-year-old Indore Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system's iBus service that offers a safe, convenient and comfortable mode of travel is fast losing its sheen.
The custom-built air-conditioned buses, which run on a dedicated BRT corridor with automated bus stations are now struggling to match up to the promise with which it started operating, said commuters.
Malfunctioning of the automated doors both on the buses and at the median stations have become a drawback for city commuters. Absence of public announcement system inside the buses has added to their woes.
"The doors of some of the buses don't close properly. They are automatic but don't get sealed in the fashion as they ideally should," said Aakriti Sharma, a commuter. "At times, the conductor has to push to keep them closed."
The automatic doors at several of the bus stands do not open with the sensor of the bus. Most of the time, the conductor has to push the gates to kick start the sensor, commuters said.
"The system requires a lot of maintenance," an employee of Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL), which operates the BRT, said on the conditions of anonymity.
"At present a number of buses, especially the new ones are facing this problem. Also for the gates (at the median stations) this problem occurs."
However, CEO AICTSL Sandeep denied having received any complaints of malfunctioning doors, saying that BRT system was "flawless" and serviced by a pro-active technical team.
"I have never heard any complaints on this matter. It is impossible to keep the buses moving without the doors completely closed," he said.
"…if announcements are not happening, they are because of a technical problem, which can be rectified," the CEO said, adding that he would look into the matter. The CEO further said that the facility was expecting to break-even by the third year of its operations.
"We had expected to be in loss for three years. But we will be very much in shape before the completion of three years…at present we have been able to get 48,000 passengers for the buses. Our target is of 70,000 which we will be able to achieve before the completion of the third year."