City on a roll with new bus fleet

Boost to Public transport system in Guwahati

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 31.03.15

Guwahati, March 30: Bhaskar Kalita, the driver of bus number 5752 that was decked up with marigold flowers and the first among the fleet of 400 to be flagged off under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Phase-II (JNNURM-II) here today, was all smiles.

Kalita had the privilege of taking chief minister Tarun Gogoi and his team on a ride, one of the shortest (a few metres) but comfortable nevertheless, at the inter-state bus terminus at Betkuchi here this afternoon.

"It felt great," the resident of Dhirenpara said.

Sixty-one such buses, 11 air-conditioned and equipped with the latest technology and safety features and 50 non-AC ones, were flagged off by Gogoi to improve the public transport system in the city and its adjoining areas.

The low-floor 44-seater AC buses will ply from the inter-state bus terminus to Mirza (about 35km to the west of Guwahati) in south Kamrup and Jagiroad (about 55km to the east of Guwahati) in Morigaon district. The 34-seater non-AC buses, specially designed and made compact, keeping in mind the peak-hour traffic in the city, will ply between Jalukbari and Noonmati and Jalukbari-Beltola via Paltan Bazar.

The fleet will have 200 AC and as many non-AC buses in the coming months. As per the direction of the urban development ministry, a special purpose vehicle - Assam State Urban Transport Corporation, a subsidiary of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), was created for operating the buses.

Gogoi said since 2001, his government has been focusing on better transport system in the state as it is such a service, which caters to common people, that determines a state's development.

"In 2001, there were just 70 buses and 50,000 passengers. The ASTC was in a shambles then and people suffered. Today, things have changed. The corporation has over 800 buses and 400 additional buses have been rolled out under JNNURM-II. There are 10 lakh people who avail themselves of road transport as a means of communication," he said.

"In order to put the state into a robust growth trajectory, the transport system needs to be revolutionised. The e-ticketing facilities would be introduced soon," Gogoi added. He reiterated his government's commitment to improve the transport system of the state by stimulating adequate government intervention in road and water transport.Transport minister Ajit Singh underlined the objective of revamping the transport department which, he said, has the potential of bolstering growth in the state.

The transport department, for its part, is also preparing a detailed project report (DPR) to introduce buses for other cities and towns of the state.

"The DPR is being prepared and soon more buses will be rolled out in other cities and towns," chief secretary Jitesh Khosla said.

The managing director of ASTC, Khagen Chetia, said the difference between the buses under JNNURM-I and JNURM-II is that the new fleet is equipped with an intelligent transport system having features such as a control room, vehicle-tracking facility, public information system, internal LED lights, surveillance cameras, emergency exit and seats for physically challenged.