After a long wait of seven years and many trial runs later on, the city bus service is ready to hit the roads as the buses as part of the project finally arrived in Amritsar on Friday.
These buses were supposed to reach the city by New Year eve, but missed the date for which MC officials had cited "various formalities" as reason.
The buses that arrived are 41 in number and would ply on the city roads as part of the first phase of the project. They comprise low-floor, semi-low floor and midi car categories as per the needs of the people of different age groups.
The routes for these buses would be finalised on Saturday. Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal would flag off the bus service on January 11. The MC has entrusted the job of running the service to a Karnataka-based company, which will be responsible for managing, hiring and paying the salaries of the staff besides bearing the cost of maintenance.
The buses have cost approximately Rs 10 lakh a piece. Sources said the MC would earn about Rs 1,250 per bus every month, which comes to Rs 41 per bus a day.
"The service would run on net credit cost (NCC) mode and a Karnataka-based Company would manage it," said city mayor Bakshi Ram Ram Arora. About the meagre earnings it would bring for the MC, he said in cities like Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh, the service was running in losses.
"There is a bright side to it- the MC will not have to spend even a single paisa on the service. Everything right from the recruitment of staff and their salaries would be managed by the operator," said Arora.
He said the MC would earn Rs 2,000 per month per bus in the ensuing year, while the earnings would be increased by 7 per cent in the years to come.
Announced in 2007 on the lines of the facility running in Indore to rid the city roads of traffic congestion, the city bus service has had several trial runs. The delay in the realisation of the project had led to the escalation of costs as well.