The Telegraph
Thursday , January 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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City bus service to spread wings

Patna, Jan. 11: Residents of eight towns in the state would soon get to travel in swanky buses that carry their peers in the capital.

Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC) has initiated steps for running 10 buses each under city bus service in Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Begusarai, Samastipur, Katihar, Bhagalpur, Nalanda and Motihari. The decision to start the services in these towns comes following the popularity of the city service buses in the state capital, Gaya and Darbhanga. The services can start by the end of March.

BSRTC — the undertaking of the state transport department — has already issued tenders for running these buses in the eight towns in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.

“The corporation has invited applications from operators who would run these bus services in the eight tier-2 cities in the state under its subsidy scheme. Under the proposed services, 10 buses each will be provided in all the eight cities. While we have set January 16 as the deadline for submission of applications (by the bus operators), the services are expected to be launched by the end of March,” a senior BSRTC official told The Telegraph. The official said the route chart of the eight cities would be finalised only after the submission of applications by the operators.

“The routes would be decided in consultation with the operators and the fares would be slightly lower than that of local autorickshaws or private buses running in these towns,” the official added.

Sources said the 10 buses would have 32 seats each and be of the latest model. These buses would be equipped with latest facilities similar to those in ring route buses plying in Patna. These buses would operate from the corporation bus depots and parking space would be provided by BSRTC, the sources added.

Residents of Nalanda were happy at the proposal of new bus services in the district. “Tourists from across the globe come here, as Nalanda is an international historical tourist destination. In the absence of city bus service in the entire district, tourists are forced to hire vehicles. If the city bus service connects important sites such as Pawapuri, Silao, erstwhile Nalanda University ruins and Rajgir, it would be highly beneficial for tourists — both domestic and foreigners,” said K.N. Jha, the general manager of Indo Hokke Hotel, Rajgir, adding that since the roads in the districts are in good condition, running these buses would not be difficult at all.

But Motihari residents seemed sceptical about the smooth operations of these buses. “Streets, especially in market areas, are mostly encroached. Despite an encroachment drive last month, the squatters have returned to the streets. This, along with other traffic problems, will impede the smooth running of these buses,” said R.P. Sharma, the retired principal of LND College, Motihari.

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