Bus operators from Mumbai, Thane and Raigad have asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) to issue a single permit to ply private buses in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
A senior regional transport officer said the demand of the bus owners is under consideration, but the decision has been kept pending as it could result in revenue loss for the department.
“In 2008, the state government formed a separate transport authority for the MMR, which issues pan-MMRTA permits to autos, taxis, radio cabs and stage carriage buses of various municipal transport bodies in the region. A similar permit should be issued to private bus operators,” said Malik Patel of the Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana.
According to bus operators, if the MMRTA gives its nod, it will benefit passengers too. Passengers are currently charged an additional Rs1,500 to Rs1,800 from for the permit, apart from the bus fare. But if the MMRTA agrees to their demand, they won’t have to pay this extra amount, said bus operators.
Currently, bus operators are issued a regional or zonal permit to ply their buses in areas that fall under a particular regional transport office’s jurisdiction. If they want to ply their buses in areas not permitted by the issued regional permit, they need to apply for a special permit. The process to obtain a special permit is time consuming, said bus operators. “It takes three days to get a special permit ever since the transport department implemented the online payment system,” said Ramesh Maniyan, treasurer of Mumbai Contract and School Bus Owners Association.