Volvo might take first slice of local bus pie
Hoping to strike a deal with a leading bus manufacturer, Volvo, to provide an operator for a city bus service after repeated failures in the last three years, Noida authority is working on two models to start the service soon.
Talks have begun to provide the service in Noida and Greater Noida. Noida authority plans to have air-conditioned buses that run on CNG under gross cost model (GCM).
The GCM provides for the cost of the buses to be borne by the manufacturer and it to operate the fleet against payment of running cost per kilometre and assured running of 200 km per-day-per-bus.
Sources said that other leading bus manufacturers -- Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and JBM have not shown interest in the GCM but Volvo is finding it a fruitful proposition. “Representatives of Volvo gave a presentation before the authority officials on Monday,” said a Noida official.
Noida authority traffic cell in-charge, Sandeep Chandra, confirmed that the GCM proposal was on the anvil. “We are hopeful that the outcome will be positive,” he said.
According to the latest plan, the authority aims to arrange 372 buses under the project. However, 100 buses are proposed in the first phase.
Chandra said while the manufacturer will have to provide the buses and operate them under GCM, Noida authority will have its own conductors and inspection staff to ensure that fare is collected honestly. This is going to be a win-win situation for the operators as well as the authority, he added.
Sources said even if there was no party ready for this kind of an arrangement, Noida authority was open to the idea of sharing the capital expenditure of the agency to some extent and bringing down the overhead expenses.
“If Noida authority shares a percentage of the cost of buses, its burden under the overhead expenses comprising fuel and maintenance cost for running the buses will reduce. Our chairman is very keen to start this service,” said an official.
Initiative for Transportation and Development Programme director, Nalin Sinha, suggested that Noida authority should go for mini buses. “Big buses are no solution for Noida. They take more time to fill up and if the passengers are made to wait, they would prefer to board an autorickshaw that is easily available to them,” he said.
“The regular buses proposed by us will be quite successful as the roads in Noida are wide and more space on the city roads will be available if the bus service becomes popular,” Chandra said.