The transport department has decided to ply short-distance buses in the city as an alternative to the autorickshaw. Officials said the move seeks to eliminate the illegal plying of three-wheelers and provide commuters with an alternative.
“A large number of autos ply in the city without a valid licence or permit, and we have started taking steps to book these illegal three-wheelers. I have asked the public vehicles department (PVD) and the traffic police to deal with the matter strictly. At the same time, we are planning to ply short-distance buses so that commuters are not inconvenienced by a shortage of three-wheelers,’’ said transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.
According to PVD officials, nearly 20,000 autos ply in the city, of which over 7,000 are illegal.
Apart from a check on illegal autos, transport department officials said the number of three-wheelers plying on different routes would be fixed. “Though the autos, in most cases, are the root of the traffic chaos at busy intersections, it is true that they ferry a large number of passengers. So, if a sizeable number of autos are withdrawn from the road, the commuter will suffer. The short-distance buses will benefit them,’’ officials said.
The transport minister held a meeting with his department’s officers to draw up a specific programme to restrict autos and eliminate the illegal ones. The state transport authority has been entrusted with the task of finalising the programme, in consultation with the traffic police and local councillors. The number of three-wheelers plying on a particular route will be fixed by the length of the route.
As no private bus is plied on any link road, minister Chakraborty asked CSTC officials to initiate the move for short-distance buses. The CSTC has okayed the proposal. “We should arrange an alternative first and then take autos off the road,’’ he argued.
CSTC managing director G.P. Konar said the short-distance buses will ply mainly on major link roads and connectors and travel a distance of three to five km. They will be run on routes plied by autos.
The buses will act as a connecting vehicle between two major roads or arterial roads, like BT Road and Jessore Road, CR Avenue and CIT Road, SP Mukherjee Road and Gariahat Road, Jessore Road and VIP Road, apart from all roads connecting with the EM Bypass. Konar could not specify the date the service is to start.