The ailing city bus service in Dhanbad is set to get a fresh lease of life with the district administration announcing plans to make public transport more effective in the coal capital.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the district level transport committee, which was chaired by Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar at the collectorate on Monday.
The meeting was also attended by subdivisional officer Lal Mohan Mahto, district transport officer Ravi Raj Sharma, DSP (traffic) P.C. Jha and finance manager of JTDC Tej Narayan Singh.
The first decision was to operate 45 buses on 13 new routes — Dhanbad station to Sindri via Jharia, station to Katras via Kenduadih, Steel Gate to Baliapur, Steel Gate to Sindri via Baliapur, Bartand to Tundi via Govindpur, Bartand to Topchanchi via Rajganj, Bartand to Chirkunda via Nirsa, Bartand to Maithon via Nirsa, Bartand to Mahuda via Kendua, Katras to Baghmara, Katras to Jharia, Hotel Ratan Vihar to Baghmara and station to Chatabad.
A proposal by JTDC, which is at present operating the city bus service with the help of outsourced agencies, to run five buses each between Dhanbad and Jharia and Dhanbad and Govindpur, thereby increasing the total number of buses to 55, was also approved.
At present, only 18 buses out of a fleet of 65 are plying on six routes — Dhanbad railway station to Topchanchi, Dhanbad station to Katras, Dhanbad station to Nirsa, Jharia taxi stand to Katras, Dhanbad station to Baghmara, and Dhanbad station to Chirkunda.
The proposal for new routes was first passed at a district-level meeting of the monitoring committee for city buses chaired by Mahto, which was also attended by JTDC city bus in-charge of Dhanbad Surendra Manjhi on January 4.
The district-level committee headed by Mahto was constituted on December 13 to monitor the service on a weekly basis. It was decided that the list of stoppages and routes would be forwarded to each of the officers in-charge of different police stations so that effective steps can be taken to provide security to the bus staff who have long complained of bad behaviour from private vehicle operators. Buses will halt for a maximum of two minutes at each stop.
“Buses that are not plying on any designated routes will be hired out to schools to ferry children so that polluting old buses can be phased out,” the SDO revealed.
Mahto added that random checks will be carried out to prevent ticketless travel, which resulted in loss of revenue. There have been complaints of drivers and conductors taking money from passengers without issuing tickets.
The meeting also decided to seek more drivers and conductors from outsourced agency Rider Security Service so that the new decisions could be implemented effectively.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) mandated city bus service began in Dhanbad on September 9, 2010. However, it has been plagued by problems ever since like frequent strikes by drivers and conductors over pending salary, grounding of more than half the fleet due to technical snags and lack of proper stoppages on different routes.