A city bus plies in Dhanbad on Friday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad Municipal Corporation is all set to carry out a feasibility study to find out ways to improve the city bus service that has been having a rough ride since its launch more than two years ago.
The survey, which will kick off in April, will decide new routes of the buses and their stops besides analysing the present condition of bus stands and reasons behind losses incurred.
As a preparatory measure, the corporation, which had procured the buses under JNNURM, recently carried out physical verification of the existing fleet. It was found that out of 70 buses, only 30 are fit to ply, five were sent to Deoghar in 2011 to cope with the rush of devotees during Shravani Mela, while the remaining 35 remain grounded for various reasons like malfunctioning batteries, snags in engines and broken gear boxes.
“We will start the feasibility survey from the first week of April. Several new routes will be fixed while the existing ones scanned during the survey. As Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) has been complaining about lack of adequate number of stops for the buses, we will also look into this matter and designate new halts in different routes,” said chief executive officer of Dhanbad Municipal Corporation Awdhesh Kumar Pandey.
Though Pandey did not say anything about adding to the fleet, sources in the civic body suggested that the corporation would procure at least 30 more buses as a decision to this effect had already been taken at a meeting of state urban development department on March 17.
Moreover, the new buses, unlike the existing ones, will not be of Swaraz Mazda as the company has no workshop in Jharkhand and operators currently have to face a lot of difficulties while fixing any technical snag.
The urban development department has also decided to revamp the Bartand bus stand so that all 100 vehicles could be parked there.
The city bus service, which was launched in Dhanbad with 24 vehicles on August 9, 2010, never had a smooth run. Bhutrpurv Sainik Kalyan Sangathan, an NGO that was given the responsibility to run the buses by JTDC, opted out due to several factors like recurrent losses, repeated strikes by drivers and conductors.
Thereafter, Rider Security Service was roped in as the outsourcing agency but the strikes, mostly over payments, continued, affecting smooth functioning of the buses. The last time the bus staff struck work in demand for pending salaries of three months was in October 2012.
What do you think can really improve the city bus service?