Scorching heat has taken its toll on Punjab roadway's HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) buses, as passengers are shunning them due to faulty air conditioning.
Roadways depot in the district has 23 HVAC buses out of which five have been off the roads for the past two days due to technical snags in their AC systems.
"Though, most of others HVAC buses -- with ineffective and a faulty air-conditioning systems -- continue to run on their regular passenger routes, almost one bus breaks down every day adding to the losses of the department," officials said.
As per the information, against a total capacity of 57 buses are traveling with only 25 to 30 passengers down from 35 to 40 during the summers of last year.
Surprisingly, summers are the peak time for HVAC to earn profits.
"The problems were reported on daily basis and now situation is that buses are failing to cover their journey expenses. Shortage of staff is also hampering the services," said Pardeep Singh, vice president of Punjab wing of All India Trade Union Congress.
Sources said that spare parts of HVAC buses are very costly and this fact adds to the delay in repairs as the state transport department has to send a proposal to higher authorities for approval if the expenses incurred are more than `3,000.
This has affected long route buses - which constitute most of the buses at the depot - that ply from Jalandhar to Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, Jalandhar roadways depot has two HVAC buses, which earlier used to connect the city bus stand to Delhi Airport but their destination were changed Delhi ISBT which has resulted in a dip in the number of passengers.
"Most of the buses may have problems in their air conditioners. All roadways' buses have an operating period of five years and most of our buses have almost served for that long, which is also a reason behind the problems,"said Harjinder Singh Minhas, general manager of roadways depot-1.
"We have asked the higher authorities for new HVAC buses and hopefully we will get them soon," he added.