Two new midi buses will replace old rickety buses on Neral-Matheran route from Wednesday.
The state-owned public undertaking, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), also decided to increase the number of buses on the route for the convenience of local students.
“We have received two new midi buses from Mumbai,” said DS Deshmukh, depot manager of Karjat, adding that with new and the old buses they will operate 16 services daily.
Located about 100 km from Mumbai, Matheran sees hundreds of tourists every day. Neral-Matheran toy train has been suspended since last May after two derailments.
It was a long-pending demand of local resident for replacement of old buses, which used to break down frequently while negotiating steep ghat section of the colonial era hill station. The residents had also staged a hunger strike for improvement of bus service in February last year.
After meeting a delegation of local residents, MSRTC chairman Diwakar Raote Raote directed MSRTC to replace the buses on the route.
According to locals, after suspension of Neral-Matheran toy train service, the buses were only mode of public transport for locals. Hence, if a bus service gets cancelled, they either forced to pay higher fare to private cabbies on the route or walk down. Especially, school and college going students were facing lot of troubles.
Meanwhile, through a tweet, Thackeray has thanked Roate for resolving issue immediately. “Thank you minister @DRaote ji for giving 2 new buses to restart Karjat-Matheran route as affordable public transport for students.”