Travelling around the state could soon get safer and more comfortable — not only for those owning private vehicles, but also for people looking to travel around the state in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation’s familiar red buses.
The transport department has listed 43 tasks — 26 of them short-term, including upgradation of Regional Transport Offices (RTOs), and getting imported air-conditioned state transport buses — to be completed within one year.
The 17 long-term tasks, to be completed within three years, include getting all vehicles fitted with headlight liners (reflectors with safety implications), upgradation of flying squads and armed police on highways.
These will be tabled in the form of government resolutions (GRs) and will have a bearing on the 22 checkposts and 1.3 crore vehicles in Maharashtra — which includes 86 lakh two wheelers, 30 lakh four-wheelers, 85 lakh trucks and tempos, 65,000 buses, 1.4 lakh taxis and 5.6 lakh autorickshaws.
“The idea is to improve the quality of transportation and related services, especially in terms of safety. For example, safer school buses will soon be in place since we are finalising the policy. We will have more taxis in Mumbai — about 4,000 more taxi permits will be issued, and we will have call centres to make it more customer-friendly for people to call a cab,” state transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told Hindustan Times.
Of the other plans, Vikhe-Patil has already got MSRTC to examine the possibility of floating global tenders for the next fleet of buses. “We’ve spent about Rs 70 lakh for the Volvo buses now in use, we buy them for the imported engines they come with. I’ve asked them to directly approach the foreign company and bring buses from there, for which we can ask the Centre for a subsidy,” he added.