The state transport is going to introduce a fleet of mini buses soon, which will be running on short-distance routes within the districts in the state.
All the general managers of Punjab Roadways from their respective depots have been asked to submit lists regarding their requirements for the routes. The introduction of mini bus service is primarily aimed at reducing the congestion on some of the busy routes and also at resuming bus service on some routes which were stalled years ago, said an official of state transport department.
According to sources, mini buses will be introduced under Punjab Roadways and PRTC banners and permitted to ply within a short distance of 25 kms in their respective depots. State transport department will be launching mini buses in different phases after seeing the response of first phase where 60 buses have been proposed. The sources say that in the first lot of buses, as many as 10 buses each for Punjab Roadways and PRTC (Pepsu Road Transport Corporation) have been earmarked for the Ludhiana depot alone.
Malvinder Singh Jaggi, Director State Transport, said, "We are at the initial stage of the programme and in the process of launching as many as 60 buses in the first phase. The move by the department is aimed at meeting the increasing demand on several routes while resuming several profitable routes which were stalled earlier. We are currently in the process of identifying potential routes for the mini bus service after which we will be applying for their respective permits before floating tenders for production and in two months, some of the buses will start hitting the roads."
While hailing the decision of the state transport department, Malkiat Singh, president, All India Trade Union Congress, said, "Ludhiana being one of busiest depots of the state require better and uninterrupted bus service and there were several routes where services were halted despite being lucrative so the introduction of mini buses in the Punjab Roadways fleet is a laudable move by the transport department.
There was an acute shortage of buses on some of the heavy passenger base routes, so the move will not only add to the quality of transport service but also make some valuable contribution in the state coffers.