A city bus plies in Sakchi on Monday. (Animesh Sengupta)
Santa Claus will take two more weeks to arrive. But, Jamshedpur commuters seem to have received their Christmas presents already.
Five more city buses under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) will hit the steel city streets by the end of this month.
The additions will take the total number of buses in the fleet to 35.
Officials of Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC), which runs the service in the steel city, said efforts were being made to chalk out the routes in which the buses would be introduced.
“We have decided to introduce at least five more buses in the next couple of weeks. Currently, we are in the process of completing insurance formalities of the vehicles, which are parked at the Baridih bus depot. Once the paperwork is finished, the buses will hit the streets,” said S.K. Jha, local manager of JTDC.
Jha visited Ranchi on Monday to discuss the matter with senior officials.
He added that the buses had already undergone necessary repairs and fitness checks.
“These buses are meant for public welfare. Under JNNURM, Jamshedpur was allotted 50 buses. We are trying to ensure that not a single vehicle among them gathers dust at the depot,” he said.
The JTDC manager further pointed out that employees associated with the bus service had no complaints as their salaries had been cleared till October.
He went on to say that the issue of designated stops for city buses was pending with the district administration.
“We are hopeful that the matter would be sorted out soon,” he said, adding that JTDC would gradually undertake repairs of all the buses lying idle at the Baridih depot.
Members of City Bus Karmachari Sangh lauded JTDC’s effort to streamline the public transport system.
“We appreciate the move of increasing the number of buses on city roads. We have assured the corporation of arranging drivers and other auxiliary staff required to run the service,” said Ajit Singh, a member of the sangh.
City commuters, expectedly, are delighted with the news.
Bank employee Umesh Kumar, who has a hard time commuting from his residence in Mango to Bistupur daily in the absence of adequate number of buses, said: “City buses are economical modes of transport. But, due to lack of sufficient vehicles in my route, I am often compelled to get on auto-rickshaws to reach office. I hope the new buses will solve this problem.”
Notably, the steel city had received a fleet of 50 buses under the JNNURM-sponsored scheme in 2010.
But, poor maintenance and delayed repairs impeded the smooth execution of the much-touted service. Currently, nearly 30 city buses ply on three-four designated routes in the city and ferry nearly 10,000 passengers daily.