| The racy three-wheelers that put buses out of business. File picture |
June 10: Fuel is secondary, buses in Dibrugarh run on public opinion.
Just months after re-introducing two buses in the town following pressing “demands” from the people, the administration has decided to wind up the services.
The same “public”, which had been vocal about the need to bring back the buses to elbow out the pollution-causing three-wheelers, now seem to have lost interest in the “slow-paced old-fashioned” vehicles.
“There is very little the government can do if the people do not come forward to avail the facilities. We cannot run the buses with such heavy losses,” an official at the Dibrugarh district transport office said.
The government has been incurring a loss of around Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 everyday and the fare collection is too small to be even considered.
Over the past 10 years, racing three-wheelers had taken over Dibrugarh roads, making the large buses look redundant.
But the three-wheelers had their share of problems.
They polluted the air much more than the buses, added to traffic snarls and charged exorbitant fares.
“Their habit of extracting excessive fares from commuters led to road rage at times. Therefore the idea of reintroducing the city buses was mooted,” Dibrugarh district transport officer Dharani Dowerah said.
“It is really unfortunate that the city buses did not receive the response which was expected from the public, who had once raised such a hue and cry for its reintroduction. People it seems have become more time conscious and for that they do not hesitate to spend a few more bucks,” Pradip Kalita, a retired college employee, said.
The district transport office said they were still ready to continue the city bus services, provided the people respond to it.
“It is totally meaningless to keep on running empty buses. People will have to come forward and if they have any suggestions, we will definitely look into it,” Dowerah said.