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Hope for low-floor buses

A government agency will soon start the bidding to bring low-floor buses to the city.

Low-floor air-conditioned buses are a common sight in New Delhi and Calcutta. Patna, too, has been trying to get them for a long time.

After arrival of the semi low-floor buses, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo) has set its sight on low-floor buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The corporation, the executing agency of the urban development and housing department, will soon start bidding to procure 65 low-floor air-conditioned buses under the central scheme. It has recently started operating 20 semi low-floor buses in the city.

The bidding process is actually a re-tender, as on earlier attempts, BUIDCo received response for supplying the buses from only one firm.

A senior official said: “Only Volvo had submitted the bid to supply 65 low-floor buses in Patna. The state government norms state that if only a single bid is received for a project, then a re-tender should be done. So, the last tender was cancelled and we are about to float fresh ones.”

The low-floor buses would be besides the 260-strong fleet of semi low-floor Tata Marcopolo buses. Twenty of them are already out on city’s streets.

“Another 20 are at the stop-yard of Tata Motors at Bihta, around 37km west of Patna. We are expecting the delivery of 60 more buses by September 5. Residents can expect 100 such buses on the city streets by the end of September,” the official added.

The green buses are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including closed-circuit television cameras, LED electronic route display, audible announcement system and GPS (global positioning system).

These buses are proposed to be operated on 17 routes in and around Patna. Ten of them are running on the Gandhi Maidan to Saguna Mor via Bailey Road and Gandhi Maidan to Danapur via Digha-Kurji routes. The minimum fare has been kept at Rs 4, while the maximum goes up to Rs 15.

According to the JNNURM norms, the buses are supposed to stop only at the modern queue shelters. Delhi-based Ozone Overseas Pvt. Ltd has started work on the installation of 216 such swanky shelters at 108 locations across Patna.

Apart from Patna, the JNNURM buses are also supposed to ply in 17 more cities in the state. “The Union urban development ministry in March-April approved 808 buses (in addition to the ones sanctioned for Patna and Bodhgaya) to run in areas under 17 urban local bodies. Orders have been placed for 526 mini-buses to VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd,” said the BUIDCo official.


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