The municipal corporation has failed to find any taker for its city bus service project during the past six months. The civic body had floated tenders thrice in the past three months to outsource the project to a private transporter, but no company showed interest in the project.
The project is at standstill as the corporation has stopped providing the service due to the absence of drivers. The civic body had invited applications for operation of government-owned buses on the operate, maintain and transfer basis for the Bathinda Urban Transportation Services Limited, but no company applied for it.
Earlier, the project was being run by the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), which cancelled its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bathinda MC in April, as it was facing losses worth `1.5 to 2 lakh a month due to poor revenue generation. The civic body also formed a committee to design modalities to run the project, but the committee held its last and the only meeting on June 4. “Sensing no profit in business, the private transporters lost interest in the project,” said one of the senior officials.
As per BMC conditions, the successful bidder will run the buses for nine years and maintain the buses in the best operable condition maintaining highest standards of workmanship, safety and best industry practices.
The city bus project was kicked off in 2012 under the then Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Ten 52-seater low floor buses were introduced and the project was handed over to the PRTC for its operation and maintenance.
Earlier, the project drew flak as the buses purchased by the corporation had faulty design, due to which it had become difficult to run them in the interior areas of the city.
The size of the buses often led to jams in the market area near the railway station.
Mayor Balwant Rai Nath said tenders for the project would be floated again.
“The service will be kicked off again as the officials have been asked to come up with new solutions at the earliest,” Nath said.