| A ladies special bus at Phulwarisharif. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna, Nov. 12: The deadlock over the operation of ladies’ special buses could be over soon. The transport department has agreed to think over the suggestion of Eden Transport to increase the number of seats reserved for women in all buses rather than running a few buses only for women.
Eden Transport, on the other hand, has also agreed to roll out special buses for women if the transport department issues such a directive. A final decision in this matter is likely to be taken within a week.
“The ladies special buses in Patna would not be withdrawn permanently. Having said that, I also acknowledge that despite initial appreciation to ladies’ special buses, the operator has lately expressed difficulties in continuing with the services because of a low number of women passengers. However, as the primary objective of running these buses is welfare of the citizens, we are also considering the option of increasing the number of reserved seats for women in each bus on all routes,” state transport minister Brishen Patel told The Telegraph.
“Quite often it so happens that women, who travel with male members, are forced to board general buses because men are not allowed in ladies’ buses,” he said.
The minister, however, pointed out that if ladies’ special buses are brought back, the transport department would find out ways to make up for the losses incurred by the operators.
“A survey might also be conducted to find out whether they would prefer special buses for ladies or more seats reserved for them in general buses. The matter would be resolved soon and I have asked senior officials of transport department and the managing director of Eden Transport to discuss all aspects and arrive at a logical solution at the earliest,” Patel added.
Sources said a meeting between officials of BSRTC and Eden Transport was held yesterday and more such meetings are scheduled in the next few days.
Officials of Eden Transport have confirmed that there has been a temporary disruption in the operation of its ring route buses in Patna because of the ongoing maintenance work. The company is also planning to come up with a new system for revenue collection.
The officials said only 22 of 78 buses were running on Friday and today. It would run 40 buses on Sunday and the operations of its total 70 non-AC buses would be resumed Monday onwards.
On normal days, Eden Transport runs total 70 to 78 non-AC and 8AC buses. Sources said it is likely that the eight AC buses, which were running as normal ones for the past few days, would also be rolled back from Monday. Eden Transport runs 80 buses in Patna under ring route bus service in public private partnership with Bihar State Road Transport Corporation, an undertaking of state transport department.