Daily bus commuters in Kolkata and its suburbs can soon hope to enjoy hasslefree, smooth rides as a fleet of a record number of around 900 Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) buses, all in spic and span condition would soon be pressed into service.
These buses, including 63 super-deluxe ‘Volvos’ and 234 air-conditioned ones apart from a few hundred more being operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company and private owners, would ensure that all consumers get their money’s worth.
However, since the CSTC has a near monopoly over public transport services, immaculate conditions of all its buses would be guaranteed by at least half a dozen of its depots that are now being fully remodelled, upgraded and modernised as per global standards at a cost of Rs. 25 crore.
The funds would be shared on 65:35 percentage basis by the state and central governments. These depots located at Kasba, Taratola, Belgharia, Thakurpukur, Garia and Nilganj would be provided latest equipment that would make sure that each functional bus strictly complies with ‘BS-IV’ stage pollution emission norms.
All buses would also be fitted with unique ‘passenger information system’ for a constant flow of relevant service operation information and prompt necessary remedial measures, claimed Bhismadeb Dasgupta, managing director, CSTC.
A more systematic and rigorous process of checking basic parameters of all operational buses than practiced hitherto at the refurbished depots, asserted Dasgupta, would prove much rewarding by extending the service-life of most vehicles to 7 years instead of the usual 3 to 4 years.
Desperate to break the jinx of mounting losses due to an inefficient fleet comprising mostly of ramshackled buses, often breaking down during jour neys, the CSTC is now pinning high hopes on its brand new 632 buses purchased with ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission’ (JNNURM) funds. Of the remaining total of 900, nearly 250 have been made roadworthy by way of a complete overhaul, a fresh coat of paints and addition of several other vital accessories.