Even though Saugata Roy, Trinamool Congress MP and chairman of the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) at Kolkata airport, is planning to introduce Volvo buses from the airport round the clock, operators feel that it is not feasible since the buses aren’t getting adequate passengers.
According to sources at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport, this is happening primarily because of two reasons.
Firstly, passengers do not have any idea from where they would get the Volvo buses to various destinations in the city from as there are no signboards to guide them, and secondly, the buses are not allowed to park near the arrival gates of the new terminal building.
As a result, people are clueless about where to get the buses.
“There are no proper boards, which would lead passengers to the place from where they would be able to avail the Volvo service. We have requested the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to improve the signage,” captain Sarvesh Gupta, chairman of Airport Operators Committee (AOC), said. On the other hand, Dhananjay Singh, managing director of Royal Cruiser, one of the operators, blamed the AAI and state government for the problem.
“Our buses are not being able to come near the arrival gates of the airport. People can’t spot the buses, and as a result, we are not getting enough passengers. Therefore, we are incurring losses,” Singh said.
“We have not been able to recover the cost of operating the buses last month,” Singh said. “In addition, passengers do not get tickets from the counters located at the arrival area since the counters are closed. The state government is supposed to operate the ticket counters. Since the counters are closed, people get an impression that the buses are not operating. In the old terminal building, the buses were parked near the arrival gate and passengers could see and board them,” he added.
But BP Sharma, director of NSCBI airport, said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has nothing to do with the problem. “We have allotted two counters to the Volvo bus management three months ago and have asked them to start using them,” Sharma said.
Speaking about Volvo buses not being available in front of the arrival side, the airport director said that a specific area has been earmarked for the buses just beside the terminal.
“The design has been made in such a way that passengers, after coming out of the terminal building, could walk to the designated bus stand and board them. We are also constructing a covered corridor for passengers,” Sharma said.On the other hand, transport department sources said no counter has been allotted to the West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC).
The Volvo buses at present are available in front of the old domestic terminal building.