Jorhat, Sept. 28: The Upper Assam regional division of Assam State Transport Corporation is slowly phasing out old long-distance buses and replacing them with AC buses.
In the past six months, the division has acquired 10 buses, of which two ply between Dibrugarh and Guwahati, two between Sivasagar and Guwahati, two between Nazira in Sivasagar district to Guwahati, two between Titabar and Guwahati and two between Jorhat and Guwahati.
The districts that ASTC Upper Assam regional division covers are Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat.
N.N. Acharjee, regional manager, ASTC, said the division had almost broken even last year.
He said the division was doing well and that the new buses would generate more income.
“We charge only Rs 50 more than the ordinary buses and people can travel in comfort as the temperatures have been soaring in these parts for the last couple of years,” he added.
However, Sujaya Sarma, a passenger from Guwahati to Sivasagar on one of these AC buses on September 24, said despite the AC he had a 10-hour horrendous journey, which should have been completed in seven hours.
“The conductor and driver stopped the bus after moving forward for a bit and were picking up people almost from their doorsteps. These passengers, as far as I could make out, were also not being issued tickets,” he alleged.
Acharjee said ASTC was mulling new infrastructure under the division.
These include the construction of staff quarters at ISBT, Jorhat, vehicle maintenance centres with servicing units at Jorhat and Dibrugarh, a regional workshop at Jorhat, the Kamalabari bus stand at Majuli, which is currently in a rented house and reconstruction of Mariani and Kamargaon bus stands in Jorhat district.
Acharjee said ASTC was facing a number of problems here like unauthorised stalls in front of the ISBT, unauthorised operation of City Rides, Wingers and other buses and parking of these in front of the terminus.
“The police had conducted a drive once and the stalls removed but they are back and the unauthorised parking of private buses in front of the ASTC terminus continues. We have sought a police picket for ASTC for which necessary accreditation has been provided but till now this has not materialised,” he complained.