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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Conductors’ strike halts Noida city bus service

The Noida Metro Rail Corporation officials said that they will not accept the demands made by the conductors.

noida Updated: Jun 14, 2017 10:51 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times
Conductors are hired through a private agency.
Conductors are hired through a private agency.(HT File)

The Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) could not provide the city bus service in Noida and Greater Noida on Tuesday because 149 bus conductors went on an indefinite strike. Bus conductors refused to work after the NMRC took action against 40 ‘corrupt’ conductors, who allegedly ferried passengers without issuing tickets to them and pocketed the money collected in fare.

“We will resume our services only after the NMRC assures us that it will allow us to pocket the fare of at least four passengers, to whom we will not issue tickets. The government should also provide us free travel in Uttar Pradesh state roadways buses. We have to travel to our home from Noida to Bulandhshar, Ghaziabad or Hapur after work. We have to work for Rs235 per day and the top officials misbehave with us,” said Rahul Kumar, a conductor.

The Noida Metro Rail Corporation officials said that they will not accept the demands made by the conductors.

“How can we accept the demands that they will not issue tickets to four passengers and pocket the ticket fare?” said Saumya Srivastava, executive director of NMRC.

The NMRC had on December 14, 2016, started its city bus service with 18 air-conditioned, CNG-run, differently abled-friendly buses for Noida and Greater Noida under Phase-1 of this mega project, which is proposed to have a total of 372 buses. The service was started to benefit at least 50,000 people as there is a lack of reliable public transport options on the routes selected.

Later, the NMRC added 32 buses to the fleet and has 50 buses plying between Noida and Greater Noida on seven routes, covering key areas in the two cities, at present.

The NMRC has roped in a private agency, JMD, that provides bus drivers and conductors for the city buses.

“We are paying Rs400 per eight-hour shift to conductors. We need 50 conductors at a go to maintain our services. The issue related to salary or their other demands will be looked into by the private agency that has hired them,” an NMRC official said.

The Noida authority, which is funding the NMRC’s city bus service, revealed that it is bearing a loss of Rs4 crore per month. “We exercise zero tolerance against corruption. If a bus conductor is allowing ticketless travel, we will impose Rs500 to Rs5,000 penalty and the ‘guilty’ conductor will not be allowed to operate again,” an authority official said.